Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday mourned late former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Ufot Ekaette.
He also reacted to the death of former President of France, Jacques Chirac.
Chirac, 86, led France from 1995 to 2007 and spent 18 years as mayor of Paris.
A statement by Obasanjo, who is in South Africa for as the Chairman of Brenthurst Foundation, said the deaths of the two great personalities would be missed in Nigeria and France, respectively.
“He (Ekaette) would be missed not only by his immediate family and the people of Akwa Ibom State but the entire country’, he noted.
“We had a very robust environment when he was chosen as the SGF in 1999 and I decided to retain him in 2003, because of his experience. He is industrious, hardworking and a special breed of civil servant whose experience in the civil service assisted me a lot.
“By all standards, he did his best to my admiration. He was a great man who I could easily describe as my ‘Encyclopedia’. He saw through our administration’s policies and programmes from their initiation, nurturing and implementation.
“As the SGF, he was an advocate of human capital development and he demonstrated it through his interests in improving the welfare and quality of life of everyone around him. He was so loved and revered by all his colleagues and staff. Indeed, he was a God-sent.
“He was never a novice in politics, remember he was a deputy governor in Akwa Ibom State. He did his job conscientiously.
“As pioneer Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta, under the administration of President Musa Yar’Adua’s in 2009, he also helped to lay the foundation for this strategic Ministry that is at the forefront of transforming the Niger Delta Region.
“Ufot was a prominent patriot and a detribalised Nigerian, who was well regarded not only for the great commitment that he had for the progress of the country, Nigeria but also for his abiding faith in national unity. He belonged to the rare group of Nigerian politicians who eschewed ethnic chauvinism even at the risk of incurring the displeasure of his kinsmen.
“It was quite fitting, therefore, that his invaluable contribution to building a better society was well-acknowledged via the conferment on him of the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 2000. I must say, both Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria should be immensely grateful to this great man.”