The family of the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, said the octogenarian was in a stable condition, but would remain under close medical observation for some time.
The politician who recently marked his 85th birthday reportedly slumped and relapsed into a coma. last Saturday at his residence before he was rushed to a hospital in Enugu.
But in the statement issued by his brother and traditional ruler of Oko community, Prof. Laz Ekwueme, and made available to THISDAY, the family said the former vice president was no longer in critical condition.
“The former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was on Sunday, October 29, 2017, admitted into hospital for a chest infection. It will be recalled that the former vice president had a quiet celebration of his 85th birthday on October 21, 2017, in the company of his family members and he remained in high spirits up till his recent health challenges.
“His doctors confirmed that he is stable, but he will remain under close medical attention in the mean time.
“The family would like to express its profound gratitude to all Nigerians who have shown concern over this development and requests their sustained support and prayers as he continues to make a full recovery,” the statement noted.
When THISDAY visited the hospital located near Penok petrol station in Trans-Ekulu, Enugu yesterday, none of the hospital staff volunteered information on the former vice-president, though a police orderly attached to him was seen within the premises looking forlon.
At his residence located in Independence Layout, Enugu, the gateman simply said: “His Excellency is not around,” even as the place looked deserted.
“He was trying to get something from the table when he suddenly collapsed, and immediately someone raised the alarm, we proceeded to revive him while cautious enough not to attract neighbours,” a relative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, reportedly said.
He added: “When it became obvious that he had relapsed into a coma, we rushed him to a hospital at GRA (Government Reserved Area) but we were referred to Memphys Hospital by medical consultants who had critically examined his condition.
“When there was no sign of improvement last Monday afternoon, we rallied round and informed the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who is like a son, and he has been making plans to fly him overseas.”
Among top personalities that have already visited him in the hospital were Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and Peter Obi.
It was also gathered that the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, had sent a team to the hospital to assess the situation.
Reacting to the development, the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, yesterday joined well-meaning Nigerians to pray for the speedy recovery of the former vice-president
Obiano, in a two-paragraph statement that he personally signed, enjoined Anambra people and Nigerians to pray for Ekwueme.
The governor described the former vice-president as the pride of the Igbo race and the hope for a better and peaceful Anambra State.
The statement read: “Ndi Anambra (People of Anambra), please join me to pray for nna anyi (our father), His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, who I’m told is recovering from an illness in the hospital.
“Dr. Ekwueme is the pride of Ndigbo and our hope for a better Nigeria and a peaceful Anambra State.”