Odumegwu Ojukwu: Vilified Alive but Celebrated at Death

Ojukwu was “vilified, dishonoured but today he is dead and being celebrated. Why must somebody die before his greatness is recognised?” – Rev Prof Obiora Ike (Sermon at Okpara Square, Enugu).

Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu has gone the way of all men. His earthly remains was interned yesterday, March 2, 2012 in Nnewi, Anambra State. Ironic but this controversial figure did not receive as much accolades when alive but as soon as his crossed the line to the world thereafter, there has been an unquenchable rain of eulogies. That in itself is unfortunate but not surprising!

Not at all shocking because we live in a clime that celebrates mediocrity. For those who unfortunately do not fit this mold, but rather take a stance without minding the consequences. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu never cared about the applause that his actions will generate. He was never afraid of rocking the boat! If he cared, he would not had taken the stance of standing up for his people while they were butchered. Much have been said about his background, not relying solely on his family pedigree, he had the opportunity not to do nothing, but he did not. He did what he did and stood by it. The irony was the question he asked continues to resonate till date.

Ojukwu’s death aside the tributes should be a time to reflect once more on our national question. The unity of Nigeria remains non-negotiable but we cannot just wish away our differences. It is about time we face the obvious: no need to gossiping and whispering about them, we have to sit down and talk about them. In that way, we will strengthen our unity and resolve our differences.That is the only way to truthfully pay tribute and honour the memory of Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Borrowing the words of Bianca, Ojukwu’s widow:

Adieu …Ikemba, Amuma na Egbe Igwe, Odenigbo Ngwo. Eze-Igbo Gburugburu, Ibu dike. Chukwu gozie gi, Chukwu debe gi. Anyi ga afu na omesia.


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