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Buhari, Obasanjo, Akwa Ibom government, Omo-Agege mourn ex-SGF Ekaette, Chirac

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed grief over the death of former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Obong Joseph Ufot Ekaette Ekaette, describing him as a consummate administrator, who dedicated himself to duty in the course of his distinguished career.

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari extolled the late Ekaette’s virtues adding: “He was a gentleman who gave his best in the service of his country.

“The late Ekaette would always be remembered not only for his remarkable public service record, but also because of his immense contributions towards bringing peace in the once troubled Niger Delta region.”

While commiserating with the Ekaette family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the death of the former SGF, the President said: “His demise comes at a time when voices like his own are needed to move Nigeria forward in the face of daunting challenges.”

President Buhari, however, assured that “his contributions to national development will not be in vain, as the country will always appreciate and remember his roles.”

He prayed God to comfort his family, friends and relations, and grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.

Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described Ekaette as someone whose experience in the civil service assisted him a lot in the transformation of public service during his administration from 1999 to2007.

Obasanjo also mourned the former President of France, Jacques Chirac, saying his support for Nigeria’s debt relief was impressive and commendable.

Chirac died at the age, 86 yesterday while Ekaette, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, died on Wednesday at 80.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President, who is still in South Africa for an international assignment, said the two great personalities would be missed in France and Nigeria.

Besides, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has commiserated with the family of former SGF and pioneer Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs.

In statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, the governor celebrated the contributions of the departed elder statesman to the development of Akwa Ibom State in particular and Nigeria in general.

Ekaette, who was also former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, was a thoroughbred, transparent and honest public servant and a stickler for excellence, qualities he brought to bear on the execution of all offices he held during the course of his career.

“The government and the people of Akwa Ibom State are grateful for his contributions to the development of our state where he once served as Deputy Governor. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. He will be greatly missed,” the statement reads.

He was appointed Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State under Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga in 1990 and SGF on May 29, 29, 1999 under President Olusegun Obasanjo, a position he held till May 2007.

Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has commiserated with the families of Ekaette over the death of the former SGF.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga in Abuja yesterday, he also expressed grief at the passing away of Joy Emodi’s husband, Okey Emodi.

Omo-Agege described the death of Ekaette as a big loss to the Niger Delta region and the nation at large, noting that the two late Nigerians were men of great learning, who conscientiously contributed towards achieving a better society.

On Emodi, he said: “Much has been said about his life as a seasoned economist, educationist, administrator and father; his university studies of Philosophy, Political Science and Development Economics profoundly illuminated his cerebral thinking.

“As a lecturer, Deputy Director General of the Centre for UNN’s Inter-Disciplinary and Policy Studies and as Sole-Administrator of the old Onitsha/Ogbaru Council Area, he sought to use his years of learning for the benefit of the larger society.”


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