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Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has described as an unequivocal patriot with exceptional courage the late governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Obasanja extolled the virtues of the late economist through his special assistant on media, Kehinde Akinyemi, in a release on Wednesday.
He claims that Nigeria has lost a great thinker, a profound humanist, and an intellectual giant.
Obasanjo noted that the commendable contributions of the late Dr. Ezeife to public life, starting from the public service before venturing into politics, would long be remembered by the present and future generations.
The former president recalled that, having worked closely with Dr. Ezeife during his administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in his capacity as his Special Adviser on Political Matters, he could attest to his good traits.
He said, ‘I can attest to his patriotism, selflessness, integrity, humility, and sense of purpose – qualities which define the essence of his leadership. Though I respect all shades of opinions on issues no matter how far removed from my own perspectives, we cannot rule out the fact that we both sometimes disagreed to agree in the best interest of Nigeria;
‘… and all Nigerians through regenerating and repositioning our country to meet the hopes and aspirations of our people and charting the course to our nation’s glorious future. In these various assignments that he undertook, he served with commitment, dedication, and loyalty, making significant contributions to the growth of our country.
‘He served this great country and attained the zenith of his career before retiring as a Federal Permanent Secretary. He was industrious, amiable, and most unassuming. His zeal and attitude to work while serving the nation left its mark on the sands of time.’
Obasanjo added, ‘History will also record that when providence placed him in a position of influence and power, he positively touched many lives. His tenure, though very brief, as the first Executive Governor of Anambra State witnessed several significant developments in the State which endeared him to millions of his compatriots.
‘Dr. Ezeife was by all standards a distinguished Nigerian and a good ambassador of his people of Igbo extraction. He served his community faithfully and with distinction. He was part of the moving history of Anambra State, the people, their culture, and their lives, and would ever be remembered for his favourable political disposition towards his kinsmen.
‘Indeed, the entire Igbo people, for whom he left a rich legacy and good reputation and honour, need not be prompted to be grateful to a man whose unique politics was about the protection of his people. His example remains a laudable model for the present and coming generation of the Igbos in particular and Nigerians in general.
‘In grateful recognition of his landmark achievements, the nation rewarded him with one of the most prestigious honours, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON. Without a doubt, the nation has lost one of the brightest stars in its firmament. His place will be difficult to fill.
‘I urge you all to bear the heavy burden of his passing consoled by the appreciation that he has left you a proud legacy and that we all share your loss of one of the distinguished elder statesmen of our time.’