A close source of the politician who was recently appointed the secretary of the PDP Board of Trustees, revealed to Premium Times that Maduekwe was returning to Nigeria from the U.S via Dubai when he fell ill.
“He fell ill while on air from Dubai and he was rushed to the hospital as soon as the plane landed in Abuja, but he died before doctors could do much,” he said.
However, the close associate could not provide further details as he broke down while speaking on the phone with a correspondent.
Speaking to journalists from Saudi Arabia, the chairman of the PDP BoT, Walid Jibrin, said Maduekwe died at a time his services were most needed.
“He passed on at a critical time when we needed him most. I was waiting for him to come back from U.S. where he travelled to so that we can find a way of addressing the problems in the party.
“He was a good man and an intelligent person, who can always find a way out of situations. The party will mourn him. We have lost a great man. I would have loved to come back immediately, but we have started the process already, but I will devote my time here in Saudi Arabia to pray for his family,” he said.
He was born May 6, 1945 in Abia State, Nigeria and was appointed Foreign Minister of Nigeria on July 26, 2007 by President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Maduekwe was also appointed Culture and Tourism minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, Minister of Transport in 2001.
As Minister of Transport he got the nick name ‘Ojo oni Keke’ for advocating for the use of bicycles, although critics said that the roads were unsafe for cyclists and Maduekwe himself was pushed into a ditch by a bus while he was cycling to work.
He was National Secretary of the ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).