Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) under the Obasanjo administration, Engineer Mohammed Abba Gana is in mourning over the death of former Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme who died last week. In a tribute made available to the media, Engineer Gana describe the death of Dr Ekwueme as the departure of a great Nigerian leader and statesman, asserting that Dr Ekwueme was a trusted and tested democrat, a proven patriot and nationalist, “second to none team player”.
Although Dr Ekwueme was in the defunct National Party of Nigeria, (NPN) while Abba Gana was a commissioner in the government of Borno State and, therefore, belonged to the progressives who were in opposition to the NPN controlled Federal Government in the Second Republic, their paths crossed in 1998. The records show that Engineer Gana was a member of the team that campaigned for Dr Ekwueme’s presidential bid in 1999, along with Major Bala Shagari, (rtd), Chief Audu Ogbeh (who was the Director of Campaign), the now late Ali Baba, Bamanga Tukur, Ashiek Jarma, Aminu Wali, all of them working under Adamu Ciroma as the grand coordinator.
Engieer Gana is saying that the nation, more than the family, is in sorrow for losing a nation builder and a just and dependable leader. He describes Ekwueme’s acceptance of defeat in the 1999 presidential primaries of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) in Jos as an act which sowed the seed for what he called enduring democracy and democratic order and rule of law Nigeria now enjoys. He must be referring to what would have happened to the PDP if Dr Ekwueme had rejected the emergence of the Obasanjo candidature and perhaps decamped to the Alliance for Democracy, (AD) – All Nigeria People’s Party, (ANPP) alliance.
Engineer Abba Gana who signed his statement as a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP also argued that the late Ekwueme’s contributions to the 1994/5 National Constitutional Conference as well as leadership of the G-34 made him a remarkable leader with courage, intellect and wisdom, proclaiming the departed former Vice-President a hero of the fight for democracy in Nigeria.