EULOGY TO OJUKWU, 1933-2011!   Leave a comment

I join multitudes of my fellow Nigerians to mourn the passing of one of our nation’s foremost revolutionaries, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, whose death was announced yesterday, November 26, 2011.

Indeed, I concur with the press statement issued in Abuja by the Senate Spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) in which Ojukwu was described as “…a visionary leader whose passion for a Nigeria where every federating unit would be proud of belonging to was unparalleled. He saw tomorrow and his action and passion for a truly united Nigeria shaped our socio-political environment of today”.

Born on November 4, 1933, one of the earlier indications in Ojukwu’s life that he was going to be a freedom fighter came when he was briefly imprisoned for assaulting a white British colonial teacher who was humiliating a black woman at King’s College, Lagos.

Ojukwu’s career witnessed stints with the civil service in the defunct Eastern Nigeria as an Administrative Officer at Udi, in present-day Enugu State in 1956; and in the military where he was one of the first and few university graduates to join the Nigerian army in its early years.

Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1964 after serving in the UN peacekeeping force in the then Congo under Maj.-Gen. Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, Ojuwkwu was appointed military governor of the defunct Eastern Region on January 17, 1966 and it was in this capacity that he declared the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria a sovereign state called Biafra.

Indeed, it was his courage, military astuteness and sterling leadership that earned him a TIME magazine front cover page feature in August 1968!

When his effort at providing an alternative state for the Igbos failed, Ojukwu
returned to Nigeria from self-exile in 1982 after he was granted state pardon by President Shehu Shagari.

Until his recent illness, Ojukwu has since remained a prominent opposition figure, regularly criticising the ruling elite for bad governance. It was his appealing political reckoning that led to the creation of the All Progressives Grand Alliance party under whose platform he ran for president in 2007 and which now controls two key South-Eastern Nigerian states, Imo and Anambra.

Adieu Ojukwu! Nigeria will sorely miss you!!!

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Posted November 27, 2011 by Raymond Eyo in Celebrating Nigeria

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