By EDDIE AKALONU
Lagos State Governor, Mr.Babatunde Fashola and his Anambra State counterpert, Mr. Peter Obi and Chief Sunny Odogwu are among eminent Nigerians expected to grace- Ojukwu ceremony of tributes and presentation of the book: Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu: a Man of History, with the theme: “True Federalism, Citizens Rights and National Unity,” scheduled to take place today in Lagos.
The event is being organised by Aka Ikenga, an Igbo ‘think-tank’ group. According to Aka Ikenga president- general, Dr. Sylvan Ebigwe, the event is holding 15 years after it did a similar thing in honour a great son, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He said the latest work on late Ojukwu features 100 contributors who provided 480 papers.
He said the book of tribute to Ikemba being a part of the association’s tradition, also is to appreciate the efforts and contributions of those who made the transition second to none in the country. “interestingly, the tributes were of several genres with variegated motives, discription and opinions, saying Ikemba’s life and death had become a fable of “the elephant by six blind men.”
“ While some contributions were deeply emotional, expressing grief and loss, some were used as a platform to examine the Nigerian project, especially the role Ikemba played in the process and whatever lessons to be learnt.” Dr. Ebigwe said apart from tributes by eminent Nigerians as writer Sam Omatseye- ‘Born Nigerian, Died Nigerian’, nobel loreate Wole Soyinka-’A rebel with a cause’, Chinweizu- ‘Ojukwu:Distinct, Patriotic and fearless’, Chinua Achebe – ‘Ojukwu: Giant who lived for others’, and former head of State Dr. Yakubu Gowon-Ojukwu: A brave and courageous soldier’, what the association owes all men and women of goodwill then is to compile and present some of the reactions and tributes in a book being Aka Ikenga’s book of tribute to the great leader, which attempts to document the wide range of views expressed by people on Ojukwu’s demise.
“The collection therefore, is for a number of purposes. Apart from presenting the tributes to a great leader, it is important to present materials that would help provoke debate to redefine the structure and quest for genuine and committed leadership in Nigeria.” he said, adding “ indeed, the bulk of opinions were emphatic about Ojukwu’s courage, doggedness and commitment to fight for the oppressed especially standing in the defense of his people.” for example, “for the singular reason of showing appreciation and honouring achievers, Aka Ikenga owes it a duty to compile tributes,epitaphs and commentaries on Ikemba and indeed other eminent leaders so that some lessons can be learnt. There is also the desirability of documenting the tributes as valuable source of materials for researchers, who can rely on such book for fair assessment of past heroes,” Dr. Ebigwe further explained.
Giving more insight he stated. “ Indeed very very signifcant, the bulk of the opinions were emphatic about Ojukwu’s courage, doggedness and commitment to fight for the oppressed, especially standing in the defense of his people. Aka Ikenga is owes a duty to present a book of tribute in honour of Ikemba whose achievements are legion.”