The family of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme have expressed their condolences over the death of former President Shehu Shagari.
Mr Shagari, 93, died on Friday at the National Hospital in Abuja.
He was president between 1979 and 1983, with Mr Ekwueme as the vice president.
In a statement on behalf of the family, Mr Ekwueme’s first son, Goodheart Obi Ekwueme, described Mr Shagari as “an epitome of high moral leadership”, having meritoriously served Nigeria without any blemish whatsoever, a virtue he evidently shared with his late Vice, Dr Ekwueme.”
The Ekwueme family noted that Mr Shagari had the most cordial working relationship with his vice president and both had greater hearts of service for the nation.
“They were more Nationalistic in their work relation and even though they both had different religious backgrounds, they were not polarized by the issues of religion and tribe,” the statement said.
They were first and foremost Nigerians before Christians or Muslims, Fulani or Igbo. They were both selfless,” the family said.
The family recalled that Mr Shagari demonstrated his humility in his message through his son, Aminu Shagari, at Mr Ekwueme’s burial, where he said he chose him as his Vice President because of his impeccable integrity and character.
Mr Shagari through his son had said, “I’m not here to give undeserved praises on Ekwueme, whatever I say here I have told him so in his life.
“I never thought his last birthday was his last though he was younger than me.
“Death is a certainty and we will all face it one day.
“I chose him because he came across as a man of impeccable integrity and character.
“We worked harmoniously because we had the same vision.
“He was a deputy I trusted and mischief makers could not drive a wedge between us.
“His character remained impeccable. Even in death his achievements cannot be diminished.”
The Ekwueme family also expressed gratitude to God that Mr Shagari lived to a ripe age and led an exemplary life, and urged Nigerians of all walks of life to emulate him.
“We pray that Almighty God will comfort the family of the ex-president and all those who mourn him and will grant his soul eternal rest, ” the statement said.
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