PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the families, government and people of Abia, Delta and Rivers states on the passing away of their illustrious sons, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Justice Nikki Tobi, retired Supreme Court judge and Elechi Amadi, a literary icon.
A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, in Abuja, on Thursday, said Buhari received the news of the death of the former Nigerian ambassador to Canada with profound sadness,
Buhari said in all his years of service to Nigeria as a diplomat, minister, politician and ambassador, Maduekwe was an ardent believer in the unity of Nigeria and gave all to that pursuit.
President Buhari also paid tribute to Justice Nikki Tobi, describing him as a brave jurist who served Nigeria creditably and brought his many years of training, knowledge and wisdom to the Bench.
The president also joined the literary and academic community in mourning Amadi whose writings and postulations as a novelist, poet and playwright introduced many generations of the world to the vibrant Nigerian culture.
The Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, also expressed grief over the death of Elechi Amadi and Chief Maduekwe.
While Amadi, one of Africa’s finest novelist, poet and dramatist passed on at 82 years, Maduekwe, a former minister who took charge of three federal ministries at different times and later served as Nigerian Ambassador to Canada and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, was 71.
Saraki described Elechi as a literary giant whose impactful life will continue to be of immense educational benefit to Nigerians and the world at large. He noted that Elechi contributed greatly to national development having served in the Nigerian Army.
He also extolled the virtues of Maduekwe describing him as a “social-political engineer” whose exploits in the nation’s political landscape will remain evergreen in the annals of the country.
Former vice president and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday also expressed shock and disbelief over the sudden death of former PDP chieftain and former Foreign Affairs and Transport Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe.
Atiku, in a press statement released by his media office and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, described the sudden death of the former minister, and Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to Canada, as a rude shock.
Also, the former Secretary-General of Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, described Chief Maduekwe as distinct diplomat who gave his best when called to serve Nigeria.
Chief Anyaoku said the sudden death of Chief Maduekwe was “shocking and most unexpected.”
In exploiting the virtues of the late secretary of PDP, Chief Anyaoku said his interaction with the late diplomat availed him the opportunity of accessing him, as a true patriot.
He said “Ojo Maduekwe in his life achieved a rare combination of distinction in domestic and foreign affairs. He attained great heights in Nigeria’s domestic politics in becoming the secretary of his political party, the PDP, and its Board of Trustees. And he equally distinguished himself as the country’s foreign minister in fathering the policy of Citizen Diplomacy.
“As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations, I interacted with Ojo Maduekwe on many occasions recalling in particular, his eloquent role when I led a presidential delegation to Washington for President Obama’s first inauguration. He will be remembered as a true Nigerian patriot who throughout his career at home and abroad always strove to give his best in service to his fatherland.
“I extend my deepest sympathy to his family and pray that his soul will rest in peace,” Chief Anyaoku stated.
Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has described as shocking the deaths of Chief Maduekwe and literary icon, playwright and novelist, Dr Amadi.
In his condolence message issued by the Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, Governor Mimiko who is also the Chairman of the PDP’s Governors forum, said Chief Maduekwe was a man of peace who was goal-oriented.
Also describing Amadi as a force in the literary field, Mimiko said he would be missed sorely, especially by the many lives he was able to touch and influence through his writings.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has described the death of Nigeria’s literary icon, Amadi, as a loss to the country.
The governor, in a condolence message to the family, people of Rivers State and the entire country, said Amadi’s contributions to the development of the nation were legendry.
In another development, Governor Wike described the sudden death of the late chieftain of the PDP, Ambassador Maduekwe, as shocking.
Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and Senator Tunde Ogbeha on Thursday also expressed grief over the death of Chief Maduekwe as well as foremost writer and former instructor with the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, Captain Amadi.
Former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, also described the death of Chief Maduekwe as shocking.
Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; claimant of the office of the national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and other party leaders, have expressed their condolences to the family of Chief Maduekwe.
Also in his reaction, the former governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, said that the loss of the erudite and eloquent politician will be felt by the PDP and the nation in general.