General Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, of blessed memory, selflessly championed the defense of the Biafran nation against the Nigerian military and her foreign allies between 1967 and 1970. Biafrans it should be clearly stated, were marked for annihilation by the Hausa-Fulanis and their Yoruba counterparts on a revenge mission schemed against Major Kaduna Nzeogwu led military coup d’etat. That coup was mischievously tagged an Igbo coup.
Igbo Biafrans were terribly massacred in thousands within the Northern region of Nigeria, although the killing of Igbos started in the year 1945 in Jos, the present day Plateau State capital city. (Goggle Northern/Southern tension which manifested first in 1945 during Jos Riot. Three hundred (300) Igbo Biafrans were killed in that upheaval and again on 1st May 1953, when another disturbance broke out in the city of Kano).
Historical facts prove that all the problems and sufferings associated with the Igbo Biafrans was realistically caused by late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He was then warned by prominent Igbo men including Mbonu Ojike who clearly told him that Igbos and the Hausa-Fulanis cannot co-habit. Zik totally declined to pay heed to their counsels by consistently projecting the One-Nigeria mantra. Even Fredrick Lugard who amalgamated the divergent indigenous ethnic nationalities and tagged them Nigeria, stated that the people are like oil and water that cannot mix.
Odimegwu Ojukwu emerged in the scene like a savior to Biafrans then just like what Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is presently doing. If really Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe fully supported the Biafra movement with his influence and clout, the Biafra nation would have for long become another Japan replicated here in Africa.
Odimegwu Ojukwu never conceived going to war with Nigeria but rather, what he wanted was firm and unbroken assurance that Biafrans would be safe and protected in Nigeria but the killings persisted. Aburi accord was put together for the same purpose of securing Biafrans but Yakubu Gowon blatantly reneged on what was agreed on in Ghana. Odimegwu Ojukwu did not kill anyone nor did he orchestrate the killing of Biafrans. He really tried his utmost best, investing all he had, to save his people from total destruction from the Northern oligarchy and the Yorubas.
Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe did virtually nothing for the interest of his own people but instead, was busying himself around with personal protection amongst other interests. He was so engrossed in callousness to the point that he lost the wisdom of seeing what Obafemi Awolowo was envisioning through tribal politics. Tafawa Balewa played the same tribal politics and Zik totally lost out. He traded the overriding interest of his own people for the politics of One-Nigeria which till date, has remained the mainstream politics in the country. Disappointedly, those who were involved in playing tribal politics are today ruling over Zik’s people. Ndigbo kwuru Okwu Sina: “Ana esina ulo amara mma puo na ama…”
Mana Zik zitere ama biawa na ulo”. One common Igbo adage says that “one’s beauty starts from inside to the outside, but Zik’s beauty started from outside to inside”. That was how he created the problem between the Igbos and their Eyo Ita brethren. When Azikiwe was sacked by Awolowo in Lagos, it was then he remembered he had a home and got back to Enugu where meritocracy was being practiced. The love that then existed between the Igbos and their neighboring Biafran brethren was tampered with. He removed Eyo Ita as the duly elected Premier of the old Eastern region. This was how Zik precipitated the animosity which is yet being felt today by some of our brethren in both Akwa-Ibom and Cross River States.
Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu though late, remains a man that should be honored amongst Igbos in particular and Biafrans in general. His father, Louis Ojukwu was the richest man in his own time in Nigeria. Chukwuemeka employed his father’s wealth in the defense of Ndigbo and Biafrans at large from being obliterated. What a sacrifice one can make for his people! Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu happened to be the first graduate to be enrolled into the Nigerian army and that record would remain outstanding until the eventual dissolution of Nigeria. Nnewi became what it is today because Ojukwu heeded to the call of investing in Biafraland instead of Lagos. Nnewi has the highest number of billionaires in the Nigerian contraption at least and these men have their companies firmly located in the town, exceptionally thriving as Ojukwu’s brainchild.
It should be emphatically stated here and wisely too, that the people’s General, late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu never killed anyone nor did he orchestrate the killing of Igbos and other Biafrans anywhere in Nigeria. He rather saved his own people from the total annihilation plot of the Fulani oligarchy and their Yoruba counterparts.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media