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EKWUEME: Alex Ekwueme Latter Days In Anambra Politics .




By Comr Harris Chuma Odili

It was in the year of our Lord 2015, One of the most celebrated architects of Nigeria's nascent democracy, an icon of many across the African continent Dr. Alex Ekwueme consciously announced his intention to retreat from public life and active politics. 

Speaking at a gathering of friends shortly after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari's government, Ekwueme was alleged to have said: "I'm in my early eighties and have every reason to appreciate God for the long life granted me. I have the added blessing of being in very good health, at least according to my doctors. I'm confident that nobody present here today will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I'm still in good heath, with my family, my friends, and also with myself." The former Vice President felt he was much too busy and needed time to spend with his family.

 It was no news then that Ekwueme had always stated his intention to withdraw from public life at several functions he attended. He did so after Ex President Obasanjo's familiar plot to co-opt him into supporting his botched term elongation. Dr. Alex Ekwueme bluntly declined to the invitation because, he said at the time, he wanted to ensure nothing short of the operating Constitution was prompted to serve the whimps and caprices of power mongers and political leaders wishing to perpetuate themselves in office. He had thought retiring from active politics would discourage selfish politicians from knocking on his doors at odd times. Surprisingly, Little came of that. 

In 2017 prior to Anambra gubernatorial election,  Ekwueme was called on to help oust the incubent governor Obiano whom he had earlier endorsed his second term bid. Ekwueme had stood gallantly in solidarity and support of the governor who he was always quick to refer to as the new face of governance in Anambra. He was very proud of Governor Obiano's achievements which he openly submitted surpassed his predecessors.  But there had been a desperate uncanny schemes orchestrated by Mr Peter Obi led PDP in Anambra. Move perceived by many pundits as a safe automatic cruise back to power through proxy. 

Consequently, Mr Peter Obi effortlessly woed and deployed Ekwueme's daughter as the running mate of PDP flag bearer Mr Oseloka Obaze.  Visibly, Anambra PDP was in dire need of Ekwueme's political capital to knock off APGA's Champion Leader. Little wonder Ekwueme was ambushed and cajoled to support his daughter's newly found political godfather and dragged to the podium to endorse Peter Obi's bully against second term seeking Gov. Obiano. Caution was thrown to the winds, and PDP Anambra jirated on Ekwueme's wings using his image, and other insignias to woe unsuspecting electorates to undeserved attention. 

Soon, notable campaigners and lobbyists under PDP began to besiege Ekwueme's country home like a pilgrimage of some sort, seeking prolonged audience with the Sage who had been on retirement. His tiring veins were reactivated politically to suit Anambra PDP's latest godfather. It would be recalled that Ekwueme's health got detoriated after his outing at PDP flag off rally in Onitsha. The event which witnessed the one time indisputable orator struggling to market Peter Obi's script to ndi Anambra. Regretably, Dr.Alex Ekwueme became a shadow of his old self and got ridiculed by Anambra PDP leaders who watched on as Ide of Oko staggered and  stammered unto microphone unable to coordinate his campaign speech. Disappiontedly, Peter Obi and desperate gang smiled away watching and jeering at the national disgrace of a great Nationalist as the event on live Tv broadcast lasted. 

Days on, the social media, local and national news tabloids were awash with Ekwueme's sudden trip abroad on a critical medical attention. Before the oversea medical trip, Ekwueme had also remained at the top of the must-see list for politicians and other celebrities visiting Anambra. He was considered to be among the most prestigious guests at PDP functions nationwide. PDP made sure his retirement from piblic was not real.

 On the news break of Ekwueme:s death, the entire political class in Anambra was thrown into confusion. The state government ensured all flags flew on half mast and most APGA faithfulls were thrown into mourning while PDP were non challant and chose to continue taking stock of their disastrous outing at the just concluded governorship election in the state. 

As former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, APC Led federal government after due consultation with tears filled eyes of Governor Obiano and  the deceased family members,  arranged and accorded a befitting state burial to the late Icon of Democracy. Even, President Buhari went a step further toward immortalising him when he renamed a Varsity after the great Patriot. The Leaders and entire APGA family members in the state have continued to mourn the passing on of the Legendary figure. 

Personally, I mourn Ekwueme tearfully because he was utterly misguided and allowed to kiss the dust while trying to disengage from the clutches of desperate politicians who wanted to return to power by any means humanly and ghostly possible.

We should better learn to allow our elderstatemen rest in their retirement. Those who meritoriously served our Nation should not be subjected or  lured into playing partisan politics at old age.

Pa Ekwueme has given his whole life to the people and has done a lot for ndi Anambra and Nigeria at large. We will miss him so much! Rest on Ide.

Ekenem

Comr Harris Chuma Odili
Ogene Igbo

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