Tribute to Ojukwu
By Felix Elemchukwu Onuoha
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Historically, the world, at one time or the other, receives from God, as gifts, talented great men and women destined to render critical services to man. The births and lives of these men and women are severally shrouded by mysteries and their bodies spiritually fortified to carry out difficult divine tasks. Their coming into the world usually provokes both Satan and man to challenge their mission.
They come in different forms with different messages; suffer great oppositions, rejections and confrontations. They preach and do not less of their vocations, and in turn are hated. Although many of them died half their journeys, their missions had never been uncompleted. Many are of lowly birth while few are of noble birth, but both show resemblance of greatness in contrast.
Like dispersal seeds, they are scatted across the world to places of their divine mandates as liberators, reformists, redeemers, leaders, scientists etc according to God’s divine will for man. It was for this same reason that General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was sent to the Igbos in Nigeria to defend and liberate them from extinction. Born on the 4th November, 1933, into the family of Sir Philip Odumegwu Ojukwu, the first Nigerian millionaire, from Nnewi in Anambra State of Nigeria, he had his early education in Nigeria, Britain and after graduation, joined the Nigeria army against his wealthy father’s will.
When he joined the army, no one knew why and what God wanted to do with him for his great race, until 1966. A nobleman of great affluence, but yet humbler than most men. To me, he was one of the amazing men ever lived. A man who laid his life and wealth to save his entire race from programmed decimation.
He was a genius in many areas than most men, and was also an astonishing soldier and leader. His prognostications were thirty years ahead of their time. His speeches were awe-inspiring and his remarkable ideas depicted great mind at work. His talent was amazing such as his drive was phenomenal. A man so fashioned by God and lavishly supplied with such influence and grace, charisma and ability that wherever he went or turned, each of his actions was so divine that he left behind all other men and clearly made himself known as a genius endowed by God to achieve a divine mandate for his race.
The Igbos saw great passion in Gen. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who demonstrated great practical love for them which has never been sufficiently noticed and praised. And I hope that this would be done at his burial and thereafter. A man endowed with inestimable grace and infinite wisdom in every action and capacity so fit and so vast that wherever his mind turned to difficult tasks, he resolved them completely with ease. His nobility and affluence joined with proficiency, and sincere spirit and bravery were steadily stately and liberal.
His fame and name spread so widely that the least of his race holds him in a high esteem even onto his death and thereafter. To the Igbos, he seemed indispensable. To others that are not Igbos, his death has brought an end to his uncompleted divine mandate. But like Moses, the God that anointed him will choose his own Aaron to complete his mission.
This great man, a sage and warrior, is dead at a time we need him most. His death is painfully obvious and lamentable. Yet, he has done his best. As a soldier, he rose above others. As a leader of Biafra, he was a hero. And if he had been a businessman, he would have been a guru. If he had been an engineer, optician, an architect, a manufacturer or studied science, he would have been a master. If he had studied mathematics, he would have been greater than the great Prof. Chike Obi. As a historian, he was admired by his peers and protégés and all professionals that have deliberated on his life.
A Renaissance and Universal man; the Ikemba Nnewi, Eze di Ora mma of Igboland and Eze Igbo gburugburu (The grand commander of Igbo race). Ikemba, who will speak for us again? Or whose face would be as beard or as fierce as yours in tackling Igbo matters again? If you have not died, your words and warnings would have jittered the spineless boko haramists and
their sponsors to a stop. If you were alive, the Igbos killed in Madalla, Niger State, and other parts of Northern Nigerian by Boko Haram would have received much government attention and caused more street protests than the fuel subsidy withdraw.
From the foregoing, it is not mistaken if the Igbos and the world revere and idolize him. As we mourn him, we should reflect on the man ‘Emeka Ojukwu’, what he represented, stood for, his believes and what he preached. We should also reflect on his life, ideas and exploits. It is hoped that in doing so, his death and burial would unravel the untold truth about this great son of Ndigbo and offer other Nigerians a new vista to see and say the truth no matter which section of Nigeria a person comes from. What Ojukwu felt, what he taught and what he did were all the same. His silence worried his foes and portends difficult riddles. Before now, you, Ojukwu, were like an iceberg that there is much more to you than meet the eye. Except for the Igbos, only about 15 percent of you were noticeable. Your real Emeka Ojukwu and your character was below, shrouded. That was why many Nigerians knew you not and misunderstood you.
Ikemba, your vociferous stance on Igbo issues, fierce eyes and formidable face combine with compelling and flawless pronouncements on Igbo positions in Nigeria and beyond would certainly be missed. On the other hand, the Igbos should not only give him the best state burial, but immortalize him much that generations yet unborn would see and say, ‘a shepherd and warrior has once been born unto the Igbos. They should also make the 26th of November of every year, a public holiday to commemorate his death.
A documentary on him (both in print (books) and electronic (video) should be made for our children to read and emulate his sterling quality and selfless life. His dream(s) should be kept alive. The Igbos, wherever they may be, should close their businesses and offices and accord this great son of ours the last respect come March 4,2012, he would be buried. For to whom more is given, much is expected. Ikemba, we love you, but God loves you most. Adieu, our beloved brother and leader!.
Onuoha writes from Abuja