Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji
By Charles Ajunwa
Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji, has stated that the Igbos joined the late Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu to fight the Biafran war because they believed in the cause he was fighting for. Orji stated this at a public lecture organised by the Rivers State government in Port Harcourt to honour the late Ojukwu.
This came as a frontline Igbo nationalist and campaigner for South East state parity with other zones, Senator Annie Okonkwo, urged Ndi-Igbo to stand up for the late Agunaechemba of Ndi Igbo and break the myth that the Igbos have no kings. “Solidarities for the late Ikemba by Igbos and non-Igbos may be a nominal respect for the Igbo race, but the true respect we owe Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu is justice for the Igbos by the Nigerian state,” he said in a statement signed by his media adviser, Mr. Collins Ugwu.
Senator Okonkwo, who is also mobilising and facilitating 1,000 traders from Lagos, Aba and Abuja to attend the burial proceedings in Enugu and Nnewi stressed that “when the issue is about the Igbos and our country Nigeria, Ojukwu was passionately great in candour, exceptionally better in articulation, and when action is the language required, he was the unsurpassed best.”
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, Governor Orji stated that Ojukwu meant well for his people and even in death he remained a hero. The Abia State governor, who declared that a lot of lessons had been learnt from the Biafran war, maintained that the experience of the civil war has shown that peace remains an ingredient of development as he stresses that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable.
Orji disclosed that arrangements had been concluded by the South-east governors to give Ojukwu a befitting burial as his corpse arrives Aba on Tuesday as part of his burial rites.
Meanwhile, Senator Okonkwo, in a statement issued by his media adviser, Mr. Collins Steve Ugwu, noted that "though the elaborate burial plans by the well-chosen committee is completely deserved by our Ikemba, the implementation has been smooth and commendable, now is the time for every Igbo man to add his presence or voice to our hero’s departure.”
According to Okonkwo, “as Ikemba Ojukwu goes home to eternal sleep, it must be through the lullaby of our loud songs of praise, as he is received in his journey triumphant above, he must adorn the special epaulet of a people-loved General and as we settle back to endure this grievous loss, may we show the world that we truly adore our leaders, whose pursuits match our desires, the way only Ikemba did.”
Senator Okonkwo said “Nigeria and Nigerians may miss him in truth or in pretence, but it will be tragic if we miss his nationalist ideals because the consequences are already tormenting us nonetheless.”
He added that “Nigeria, certainly, will be far better in real terms if her leaders emulate the breathing courage in governance that is unique to Ikemba, or if that is too much sacrifice, from them, at least borrow his energetic drama in persuasion to wake us up from the persisting slumber of cynicism and scepticism towards government and governance.”