Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme was born on October 21 1932. He attended St John’s Anglican primary school Ekwulobia, then proceeded to King’s College Lagos.
He taught briefly at Hussey College Warri before proceeding to the University of Washington on a Fulbright scholarship ( one of the first four Nigerians to be awarded the scholarship). He graduated with a B.Arch in Architecture and City Planning in June 1956 where he studied Architecture and City Planning.
Dr. Ekwueme also obtained a Masters degree in Urban Planning in August 1957. In June 1955, he sat for the BA degree examination of the University of London as an external candidate in History, Philosophy and Constitutional Law and passed in the Second Division.
In September 1956, he sat for and passed the University of London Intermediate LL.B examination. Ekwueme also obtained a PhD in Architecture from the University of Strathclyde in October 1978. While studying for his PhD, he also enrolled for the LLB Honours degree which he was awarded in June 1978. Alex Ekwueme was called to the Nigerian bar in December 1991.
Alex Ekwueme was Nigeria’s Vice President from 1979 till December 1983 when the Shehu Shagari administration was overthrown in a coup lead by Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( who is now Nigeria’s President).
Alex Ekwueme died in the early hours of yesterday at a London clinic. He was flown out of the country last week by the Federal Government after collapsing in his country home on the 1st of November 2017.
Ekwueme is survived by his wife and several children including Mrs Alexandria Onyemelukwe who was the running mate to the PDP Guber candidate Oseloka Obaze in the just concluded Anambra Gubernatorial elections.
Ekwueme ran the first indigenous architectural firm in the country Ekuweme, Associates and Town Planners. The firm had offices in several parts of the country, before shutting down when he was sworn as Vice President. By virtue of being a former Vice President, Ekwueme held the national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
Ekwueme was the first civilian to be honoured by the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). He was also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Elders.The late Vice President also founded the College of Arts and Science, Oko which is now the current Federal Polytechnic Oko.
Ekwueme was a recipient of several honourary degrees including a Doctorate from the University of Abuja.
Ekwueme was a delegate to the 1995 National Constutional Conference, and a member of the G-34 which eventually metamorphosed to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). he also served as Chairman of the Party’s first Board of Trustees.
Little Known Facts
Alex Ekwueme was in charge of the Biafran Airports Board during the Nigerian civil war. During this time, he constructed airports at Uli and Uga. He was also fond of the game of table tennis which he played into his 80s.