“Success” indeed, “has too many friends.” Even the uninvited become engrossed to it and make merry of such accomplishment in both overt and covert manners. And then, the invited grow wild about its gala; smooching and canoodling with it like the theater group they are.
Such is the story of the failing health conditions of the Ide of Oko kingdom in Anambra State; a former Vice president, Federal Republic of Nigeria, between 1979 and 1983 and an awardee of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in the United States of America, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Since the news of his unfortunate health circumstances broke out a few days ago, Memphys Hospital, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu has become a Mecca of sort; receiving both the high and mighty of the Nigerian political scene, especially those from Anambra, his home state.
Coming at a time the Anambra state political firmament has become charged to its brim, following the rubber-stamp and pole to pole political Horse-trading involving the APGA, PDP and the APC in the commercial hub of the East, the besieging of Enugu Hospital for Alex is quite understandable.
Reason: Elections in the state require identification with a statesman not politicians. It needs an endorsement from people of unimpeachable and unwavering integrity, men of strength, dignity and decorum, not the jackals.
This is where the University of Washington and University of London trained sociologist, historian, philosopher, lawyer, Architect and former vice president is a brand ambassador and trade mark put together.
A statesman or stateswoman according to encyclopedia is “usually a politician, diplomat or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career at the national or international level.”
So, how does Chief Alex fit into the above coinage? Firstly, He is a member of the Board of Directors of Canada-based Forum of Federations; and a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Elders and leader of the team assembled by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for pre-election monitoring for the parliamentary election in Zimbabwe in 2000.
He was later the leader of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) observer team to the Tanzanian Presidential and Parliamentary election in 2000 and co-led the 28 member NDI/Carter Centre sponsored Observer Team to the Liberian Presidential run-off election in 2005.
Following these engagements, Ekwueme was honored with the Order of the Republic of Guinea and Nigeria, second highest national honours of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON). So do you now see how the Ide of Aguata became a sought-after states-manly?
At the National level for example, Dr. Ekwueme had presided over the Nigerian Institute of Architects and the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria. And He is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Architects.
Alex also served on the board of the Anambra State Housing Development Authority On the national front and participated in the Nigeria National Constitutional Conference (NCC) and many other feats.
So the scrambling for Ekwueme’s signature in the Anambra political contest is understandable. His endorsement of a political Party in the race is worth a million votes. Little wonder the contest quickly shifted to a hospital in Enugu, instead of Anambra state.
Good news president Muhamadu Buhari has ordered that the elder statesman be flown abroad for urgent medical attention – to be shouldered by the federation as a statement Ndigbo deserves their rightful pride of place in the Nation’s polity.
Ekwueme in particular is worthy of every attention accorded him by the Nigerian Nation. He has paid his dues a hundred fold as a worthy citizen and secured his place in the sand of history. It is therefore, a time to pray for his speedy recovery and not a moment of politics with his health.