Eulogy to Ekwueme
Ide, you were a legend among men, the reason I once likened you to Heracles, Nestor, and Odysseus in one being, given your bravery, wits, intellect and strength. Although innately gentle, you never hesitated to adorn the toga of a hot-headed ‘rebel’ in pursuit of common good. No wonder the Ikoro (giant wooden gong) has been sounding in a frenzy of unending and unbridled adulations since you passed on, for the Ikoro hails a man in proportion to his heroics.
History will be kind to you for your bravery in rallying the G-34 to challenge the military hegemony over Nigeria and join forces with other pro-democracy activists to enthrone the democracy we enjoy today.
Ide, you exhibited uncommon political selflessness, equanimity, and sportsmanship at a critical point in the nation’s quest for democratic rule. Truth be told, not many would lose the presidential ticket of a political party they laboured so hard to build and keep their cool. But, whereas many expected you to bring down the roof over your loss of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket, you instead congratulated Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, worked for his success at the polls and remained a loyal party man till death. You thus established yourself as a lesson in politics without bitterness.
You were a highly detribalised Nigerian. You mastered the art of love for nation and your people. You mastered the art of politics with local flavour. You stood by your people during their most challenging and difficult times, the civil war, offering your undiluted professional service in the design and development of access to the air for Ndigbo.
Your Excellency, you were an erudite scholar, a deep and cerebral political thinker, who saw tomorrow. You foresaw the many challenges and setbacks faced by the nation today. Unfortunately, your timely suggestions such as restructuring, single term, and rotational presidency are yet to be heeded to save Nigeria from the social, economic, and political mires. Your farsightedness underlines the words of our fathers that what an elder sees sitting down, the child may never fathom even if such a child perches on the peak of the Iroko tree. This nation, therefore, owes it to your memory to restructure Nigeria in order to build a nation you and other sages past dreamt of.
Ide Oko, Ide Aguata, Ide Nigeria, okwulu okara ibe ya, Odogwu, Ochiagha, you have paid your dues and your great footprints are so bold and embedded on the sands of time that the world will always remember that you passed this way.
Goodnight our great leader and may Heavens grant you eternal rest.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu, is the Deputy President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria
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