Revered Igbo leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, is believed by many to have always thought and acted for the good of his Igbo people, no matter the circumstances. This trait, it was held, was what Ikemba displayed at the weekend, before leaving for the United States of America (USA) on medical check-up.

Before leaving his abode in Enugu, he was reported to have called up Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, and advised him, to endeavour not to leave his people in a lurch by joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his absence. The former Biafran warlord was reported to have also told the Abia Governor not to fall for what he termed the “shameless” tactics of the PDP.

There is the belief in several quarters that Orji will not dismiss this warning with a wave of the hand. Many insist for instance that from what ever angle it is viewed, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, is not just an Iconic figure in Igbo land but has also come to be known as one influential leader amongst his people who attracts attention whenever he speaks.

Such for example, was the plea he made to the Igbo nation before the 2010 governorship election in Anambra State, when on Monday February 2, he urged them to reject imposition of a governor on them from outside the state. With an emotion laden voice, he had said to the people, “I will not come out like this to plead with you to vote Governor Peter Obi if not for the attempt to impose people on Anambra State. Ndigbo should rise and vote for Peter Obi. Come out en masse, defend your votes and ensure that victory is for the only Igbo party APGA’’.

He had gone on to tell his people to consider the plea as his last request of them. Expectedly the people truly honoured him by voting in Obi for a second term, for which Ojukwu’s gratitude knew no bounds. He had enthusiastically declared, “I asked my people to stand by me. The results clearly indicated that my people stood by me and are standing by me. There are very few people actually given this privilege. I thank God for finding me worthy of such manifest issue of goodwill”.

This unfailing Ojukwu mystique, it is believed, is among the reasons why Orji had not crossed over to the PDP since a high powered delegation from the party visited him some days back. According to the PDP Chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo, who led the delegation, the move was to have all the Governors of Igbo states play what he called mainstream politics. But heeding Ojukwu’s advice, whose party he joined earlier, Orji has so far declined the offer, despite what opposition parties described as PDP’s threats and intimidation on him.

But Oscar Onwudiwe , a lawyer and member of League of Anambra Professionals (LAP) said he is not impressed with the call because Ojukwu has not done enough to show Ndigbo that APGA is the way to go. “I am totally and completely unimpressed because Ojukwu has not done enough to make APGA a bargaining instrument for Ndigbo” he said.

The former Biafran warlord is one man who has received knocks from critics who essentially misunderstand him. But on the other hand he is eulogised by many, for his courageous and principled positions on major subject of the day. In fact, for his admirers, the man conferred with the titles of Ikemba Nnewi and Dikedioramma Igbo land, by his Igbo kinsmen is one who has been resisted by retrogressive forces but greatly admired by the Nigerian down trodden of whatever extraction.

Incidentally, Ojukwu is the one easily known for taking up the gauntlet to promote his people when the need arises. And he hardly fails in the task. During the Nigeria-Biafra debacle for instance, he did not fail in the task of lending shoulders to his haunted kinsmen. In fact, it is the opinion of many that despite the vicissitudes of the time, he prosecuted the war to the best of his abilities.

A historian and a soldier, Ojukwu has gone through the high and low periods with his people. He was there, and rejoiced with them at the celebration of Nigeria’s independence. He was also there and wept with the Igbo when hundreds of their children were starved to death as a result of the 1967 – 1970 civil war.

Ojukwu, former military governor of the defunct Eastern region is son of Nigeria’s first multi-millionaire, Sir Louis Ojukwu. The Igbo pearl, who hails from Nnewi, married beauty queen, Bianca Onoh in 1994. He was born in Zungeru, Niger State in 1933, and started his education at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Idumagbo, Lagos. He later joined the CMS Grammar School, Lagos; Kings College, also in Lagos. He then went to England, where he schooled at Epsom College in Surrey. Ojukwu later schooled at Lincoln College before his entrance into the prestigious Oxford University.

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