An elder statesman in Kano, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has described the late former Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, as a very meticulous and hard working person who contributed a lot toward the development of the country.
Yakasai made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Tuesday.
Ekwueme died on Nov. 19, 2017, at a London Hospital after a brief illess and he will be buried on Friday.
Yakasai, who was a Special Adviser to President Shehu Shagari on National Assembly Matters, said the late Ekwueme was also a committed politician who believed in the unity of Nigeria.
“The late elder statesman was a principled and very intelligent person, who bagged five degrees in different fields.”
According to him, Ekwueme spearheaded the campaign for a number of issues, including zoning and rotation during the National Constitutional Conference held between 1994 and 1995.
“So, zoning and rotation was originally part of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) Programme as it was the party (NPN) that introduced the idea of zoning and rotation.
“During the conference, he (Ekwueme) articulated a number of issues which the conference eventually adopted.”
He said that Ekwueme’s connection with the NPN, gave him the opportunity to be adopted as the Chairman of G34, a group of Nigerians who eventually formed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said he was very close to late Ekwueme even when they were in Kirikiri Prison together after the military coup of 1983.
“I and the late former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, kept him (Ekwueme) company in the prison. He even requested me to teach him Hausa language.”
He said there was good understanding between them when they were in government as they used to visit each other’s families.
“We used to disagree on certain issues but we lived peacefully when we were in government,” Yakasai said.
On the state of political parties, he said disloyalty was the bane of Nigeria’s democracy, noting further that governors had hijacked their political parties in their respective states.
He, therefore, urged politicians to change the trend by being loyal to their parties in order to strengthen democracy in the country.
“Disloyalty to political parties is the bane of Nigeria’s democracy and this is a major challenge threatening the system, Yakasai said.