Gov. Ugwuanyi mourns late Ojo Maduekwe
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has described as sad the death of former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe.
Maduekwe died in Abuja on Wednesday evening.
Ugwuanyi said it was unfortunate that his demise would happen at this time.
Gov. Ugwuanyi, through his Chief Press Secretary, Uwakwe Abugu, said the Igbo nation has lost one of its finest leaders.
'It is unfortunate that this happened at this difficult time. Nigeria has lost a great leader and the government and people of Enugu State certainly mourn his demise. We condole with his family, the people of Abia State and Nigeria as a whole, he said.
The cause of Maduekwe's death was however unknown, but the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Walid Jibril, confirmed his death.
Until his death, Maduekwe was the secretary of the PDP BoT.
He was said to have died at his Ministers' Estate residence, Abuja.
Sources close to him said he had a health challenge on his way back to Nigeria from the United States of America.
Jibril, in an emotion-laden voice, told our correspondent that the death of his secretary came to him as a rude shock.
He said he got the news from Saudi Arabia, where he is currently observing the Lesser Hajj.
Jibril, who alongside Maduekwe and other members of the Board of the PDP took over the running of the party following the crisis that engulfed the PDP after its national convention in Port Harcourt on May 21, said the party had lost a loyal member.
He said, 'He was a worthy man; a very dedicated member of the party, who operated with an open mind. He was a very resourceful man, a dependable ally who tried his best for the country, his party, his family and everyone around him.
'It is a great loss to the nation, the PDP and his family. He was a national secretary of our party, a former ambassador. In fact, I have lost a friend and a loyal party man.
'He was one of the best secretaries of the party and a great manager of men. It will be very difficult to have someone like him. '
Also, a former Minister of Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said he received the news of Maduekwe's death with shock.
He said it was difficult for him to believe that his colleague in the BoT had died, saying that 'he was a nice man. He was very intellectual in all his ways.
'He was a plain person, he had no animosity towards anyone. We spoke about three weeks ago and I never knew that we were speaking for the last time. '
While serving as the minister of transportation, Maduekwe popularised the use of bicycle as a means of transportation. This made people to refer to him as 'Ojo oni keke,' which means Ojo, the bicycle man.
Born on May 6, 1945 in Abia State, the deceased was appointed Foreign Affairs Minister on July 26, 2007 by the late President Umaru Yar'Adua
He left office in March 2010 when the then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet