BY Tony Edike, Inalegwu Shaibu & CHIDI NKWOPARA
The Senate, yesterday resolved to urge the Federal Government to immortalise the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu.
Also, elders and leaders from the South-East are demanding a posthumous national honour for the late Ojukwu.
While former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, said the country has lost another great patriot, Pastor of the Household of God Church, Oregun, Reverend Chris Okotie, described the late warlord as a leading voice of democracy in Nigeria.
Senate to honour him
Senate will, Thursday, honour the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu just as it plans to pass a resolution that will urge the Federal Government to immortalise him.
Senate President, David Mark, who gave the indication during yesterday’s session, said the Senate would dedicate Thursday’s sitting to debate a motion on the late Biafran leader.
The Senate decision was upon a motion sponsored by Senator Andy Uba.
Senator Uba, while moving the motion, said the late Chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was worthy of celebrating as a national hero.
However, revealing the disposition of the Senate leadership, Mark had earlier in reaction to Ojukwu’s death, described him as the “hero’s hero and a dogged fighter who fought till the end to liberate the oppressed.”
The Senate President had also described him as “a great fighter who stood for justice, equality before the law, fairness and freedom to all citizens,” adding that “no matter how much you loved or hated him, Ojukwu was a man who loved his people and was ever prepared to lay down his life for them to have a better life.”
Mark announced that the Senate would have considered the motion today but had to shift it to Thursday because it had already scheduled the consideration of the report on the investigation into the privatisation of government-owned companies today.
Also speaking on behalf of the Senate, its spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, had in reacting to the death, described the late Biafran warlord as the “issue in Nigeria’s evolutionary process.”
Abaribe, in a statement, described Ojukwu as a visionary leader whose passion for a Nigeria where every federating unit would be proud of belonging to, was unparalleled. He saw tomorrow and his action and passion for a truly united Nigeria shaped our socio-political environment of today.”
However, chatting with Senate correspondents on Monday, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Federal Government was deeply moved by Ojukwu’s death but declined comments on how he might be immortalised by the government.
South-East elders demand national honour for Ojukwu
South-East elders yesterday demanded a posthumous national honour for late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu before his burial.
Former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife, who spoke on behalf of other South- East elders, insisted that the national honour must come before Ojukwu’s burial, adding that such an honour coming after his burial was unacceptable to Ndigbo.
Ikedife said late Ojukwu deserved such recognition being a former governor of Eastern Region, which today comprises about eleven states of the Nigerian federation.
He said: “We want the Federal Government to give Ojukwu national honour posthumously and it must come before his burial.
“He deserves to be honoured as a former governor of Eastern region, which today comprises of about eleven states of the Nigerian federation.
“The Federal Government should give him national honours for the sake of no, victor, no vanquished, declared at the end of the war. If they fail to do this, it means there is a victor and a vanquished. And we are insisting that he must be honoured before his burial.
“Such an honour is unacceptable to Ndigbo if it comes after his burial,” Ikedife said.
A leading voice of democracy in Nigeria— Okotie
Prince of Nigeria, Rev Chris Okotie has joined millions of Nigerians in mourning the deaths of the Guardian Publisher, Alex Ibru and Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
Rev Okotie who hailed Dim Ojukwu as a great Nigerian who contributed immensely to the growth of democracy through enlightened dialogue, active involvement and a commitment to the defence of injustice, which culminated in the unfortunate civil war he led.
“Ojukwu’s transmutation from a rebel leader who led a secession, into a patriotic leader and leading voice of democracy in Nigeria, is unprecedented, impressive and worthy of emulation”, the Reverend said.
Okotie said Ojukwu was a great historical figure, and one of the last of our political gladiators, in our evolving democracy.
Rev Okotie, who is also the Chairman of the Fresh Democratic Party, FRESH, and pastor, Household of God Church, Oregun, Lagos, described Ibru as a business icon, who changed the face of journalism in his generation.
He noted that Mr. Ibru launched the Guardian in 1983 at a time when the fortunes of the then flagship of the press, the government-owned Daily Times, were nose-diving terribly.
“Mr. Ibru recruited some of the best minds from the ivory tower and mainstream media and then, began a polishing process for the media, which restored the dying tradition of quality journalism. He succeeded in sustaining the high standard of the Guardian till date. That’s his greatest legacy, apart from his quiet philanthropy and his famous ecumenical institution, the Ibru centre”, he added.
We have lost yet another great patriot — Ohakim, Iwuanyanwu
Prominent Imo citizens, including Chief Ikedi Ohakim and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu have shock over the demise of Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu.
The immediate past Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim said: “We have lost yet another great patriot who, though was largely misunderstood by many, lived his entire life in the struggle for equity and social justice”.
Ohakim also reasoned that his death offers Nigerians an opportunity for sober reflection, especially on the events of those difficult days when we took up arms against one another over issues we would have resolved through dialogue.
It was Chief Ohakim’s considered opinion that “the bitter experience of the civil war is behind our current determination to pursue our collective destiny as one people, together with our appreciation of the fact that we can only achieve this by imbibing a democratic culture built on equity, honesty and the rule of law”.
Chief Iwuanyanwu said he thought of Ikemba Nnewi from a position of sound knowledge of his potentialities, having served under him at a critical period of the country’s history.
“I found him a very reliable and steadfast leader, a man of extra-ordinary courage and also endowed with sharp intellect and an outstanding oratory skill. Ojukwu’s love and commitment to his people, Ndigbo, was unparalleled”, Iwuanyanwu said.
While saying that Ojukwu was a strong believer and advocate of one Nigeria, Iwuanyanwu similarly reasoned that the late Igbo leader insisted on a Nigerian nation where men and women of all tribes, or creed will have equal access to opportunities.
“He was brutally frank in propagating his views. The Igbos, Nigeria and Africa have lost a great genius. His life and times will definitely form very indelible chapter in the history of Nigeria and Africa”, Iwuanyanwu said.
He was an extraordinary leader — INC
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) is deeply saddened by the passing away of an extraordinary leader, a committed nation builder, father and husband- Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Ndigbo gburu gburu.
Chief Ojukwu, the Ikemba of Nnewi was an exemplary leader whose style is worthy of emulation. He meant well for the Igbos and for Nigeria as a whole. As an activist, he went the extra mile fighting the cause of the Igbos. He led a very productive life and has left indelible prints on Igbo land and Nigeria as a whole.
Our deepest sympathy goes to his family, Igbo land and Nigeria as a whole. The Biafrian warlord touched many lives and will be missed dearly. We pray and hope that the cause(s) he fought for will not be abandoned.