Because he was involved
Late Emeka Ojukwu was a folk hero; to the Igbos and his many admirers, he was a relentless and dogged fighter who wants the best for his people. From his prime till death, he was true to the Igbo cause. Not even once did he pretend about where his love lies in Nigeria ÔÇô state. He was simply an Igbo leader who wants a better deal for the Igbos as far as Nigeria is concerned.
As we count down to Ojukwu's final burial programmes, the true story of this great Igbo leader should be left the way the man acted it. Unfortunately in the last two months, a number of Igbo speaking columnists have been trying to distort history by creating a totally different image of the ÔÇśIkemba'. Their claims that Ojukwu while alive was a nationalist who regretted the formation of Biafra,
is a blatant lie. Ojukwu's actions and inactions while alive did not give credit to such assertions. Ojukwu was known to publicly fraternise with MASSOB; an Igbo ethnic militia that wants the actualisation of the Republic of BIAFRA. Yes! The same Biafra, we are now being told Ojukwu regretted creating.
It's a known fact that Ojukwu never intended to start the civil war; he was not even a participant in the military coup that upstaged the first civilian government in Nigeria. But if the truth be told he didn't do enough to stop it. Perhaps, he was consumed by the allure of leading a republican people to form a country of their own.
Late Ikemba of Nnewi, is one fortunate human being that was fairly treated by the vicissitudes of life. He had a wealthy background, went to the best schools during his time, and had the privilege of rewriting his destiny. He became a soldier against his father's wishes. This, his admirers claimed he did because he was desperate to serve his country and its people.
Many are unmindful of the fact that late Ojukwu studied History in the university. Evidently, Ojukwu knowledge of political ÔÇśHistory' made him joined the army; because he knew that real political power lies with the man with gun and not the man with the bags of money. This was something he knew that his father did not comprehend. He must have read about how army generals conquered nations for their monarchies and later turning their men and guns against these monarchies. Thereby taking over their countries and creating ruling dynasties of their own. The Ojukwu I read about was adventurous, and my instinct tells me that could be the real reason he joined the army as a recruit. And he would have succeeded with Biafra, had it not failed.
Those who claimed Ojukwu was concerned about other component parts of Nigeria, should be honest in appraising his struggles. He never raised a voice over the environmental atrocities in the south-south region in the name of oil explorations. This was a region that could have been part of his Biafra. He never said anything about the ÔÇśalmajiri' phenomenon that is compounding the woes of the north. Did not raise a voice when Abacha turned Yoruba-lands to graveyards; because its people were fighting for the actualisation of MKO Abiola's mandate. If late Abiola was Igbo, would Ojukwu have acted the same way?
Enough of the lies we tell ourselves; a true nationalist share in the pains of every constituent parts that make up his country without discrimination. I think Nelson Mandela is a perfect example.
Ojukwu and others of like minds formed APGA in order to have a regional political party. The party was meant to protect the political interest of Igbos. This much was said by the man himself. So where is the national outlook, his kinsmen want force our throats?
Most of Ojukwu's political travails, were caused by his kinsmen. Very few of the Igbo elites singing his praises now, freely associate with Ojukwu's ideology while alive. Even those Igbo senators who vehemently demanded that he should be given a national burial are not in his party. The only senator in his party, only decamp to it when she was refused the ticket in PDP. Now, they are outdoing themselves to honour him in death. Indeed these are fair-weather mourners.
Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu deserves the respect of Igbos and those who believe in him. He was there for them till death. Many might question his style but no one can deny him his rightful place among his people. He was undeniably an Igbo man in the federating unit called Nigeria. Any attempt to paint him in national toga is a disservice to him. May his soul rest in peace.
Written by Olurotimi Adeola