be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty
and dreadfull, for, thou art not so, For,
those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die
Those were taken from the works of John Donne, a 17th
century English Metaphysical poet.
Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi, Eze Igbo,
will be remembered for several things.
stood against suppression and oppression of his people in
particular and humanity at large.
a time he said that the Biafran issue has gone beyond
geographical boundaries but has become a thing of the mind;
psychology of some sort.
After about 13 years in exile, he came back to Nigeria and
reintegrated, adequately, into the political system. He
joined the then National Party of Nigeria (NPN) as a panacea
to his freedom. It was expected that the NPN government
under Alhaji Shehu Shagari gave him that conditionality for
pardon. Many people may not have seen that as logical
because at that time Igbos gyrated around a political
umbrella called Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) which the then
Zik of Africa chaired.
But the desire to come back home after 13 years in exile was
more important than refusing pardon and his acceptance of
the conditionality for his pardon was very instructive if
only that will give the impression that he was not going to
come back to galvanize the Igbos for another secessionist
tendency. His triumphant return to Nigeria after he was
granted pardon in 1982 was a carnival of some sort. Every
being who was somebody desired to have a glimpse of him from
the airport down to his Uruagu Nnewi village.
Eze Igbo was well educated having come from a wealthy
background. I can emphatically say that he was one of the
most articulate and integrated personalities in the Nigerian
army in the early sixties. He could have decided to play the
big man’s game in Nigeria if he wanted. But he was more
imbued by the desire to see a truly independent Nigeria
where all tribes are treated in the light of their
intellectual relevance to the Nigerian project much more
than their religious or tribal gamut.
Ikemba, sometimes, wore the aura of Ariel Sharon and he was
dreaded by his contemporaries. This was partly because of
his intellectual perspicacity and partly because of his
readiness to demonstrate that he has sufficient confidence
in himself wherever he was. It was because he was involved
that made him have the effrontery to reintegrate into the
Nigerian political equation within a very short period even
as a leader of a vanquished group.
may have made mistakes as a human being but, in all, he will
be remembered as a concerned, charismatic and great leader
with astonishing oratory and a powerful communication skill.
have read the text of presidential release -
in Sahara Reporters - by Dr. Reuben Abati in respect of
the passing to glory of Dim but I did not know whether the
release was on behalf of the Nigerian State or on behalf of
the President’s family. I would wish that Dim Chukwuemeka
Odumegwu Ojukwu be given a state burial in the spirit of