Enugu-  The President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Amb. Ralph Uwechue, has described the death of Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, as the “passing of an age in the chequered history of the Igbo nation’’.

Uwechue  in a telephone interview in Enugu on Saturday said that the Ikemba Nnewi had left a most significant stamp in the defence of the Igbo race.

“As a leader, he has left a most significant stamp in the courageous defence of the Igbo nation,’’ he said.

While praying for the repose of his soul, Uwechue said Odumegwu-Ojukwu would be missed by Igbos, the country and Africa in general.

In his reaction, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Chief Ayogu Eze, said the Igbo nation had lost one of its major leaders.

“After the unfortunate civil war, he subordinated as a peacemaker, nation-builder, opinion leader, defender of history and stood with the Igbo people till his last breath,’’ Eze said.

The senator, however, said that he deserved a national burial.

The President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Mr Okechukwu Nwadinobi, said Ojukwu was an Igbo icon and a Nigerian hero.

According to him, the Ikemba lived an active and eventful life and history will obviously put him in his rightful place.
“He was an active political player,” he added.

Meanwhile, A cross section of Enugu residents have expressed shock over the death of the Biafrian warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (Ikemba Nnewi) in a London Hospital.

A correspondent, who sought the reaction of the residents, reports that while some doubted the news, others described his demise as a great loss to the Igbos in particular, and Nigeria and Africa at large.

Mr Chimezie Iloka, who hails from Nnewi, the home town of Odumegwu-Ojukwu, described the death as “one death too many’’ which has created a big vaccum in Nnewi.

“If this is true, you know that Ndigbo have lost their uniting figure, a hero and a man who until his death had continued to champion the cause of the Igbo man.

“Ojukwu is a detribalised Nigerian, who believed in equal right, fair play, justice and respect for the rule of law,’’ Iloka said.

Mrs Chinelo Ezenekwe, a legal practioner, said that with the death of Ojukwu, the nation had lost a rare gem that used his wealth of knowledge to fight injustice.

“She described him as an institution that needed to be under-studied to tap his vast knowledge and experience with which he sustained the Igbos during the civil war.

“There is no two Ojukwu in Igboland. He was a man of many parts whose death means the close of an era,’’ Ezenekwe said.

She lamented that he died when his service was needed most.

When the news of Ojukwu’s death was broken at Mayor Market, on Agbani Road, Enugu, market women, motorcyclists and passers-by gathered in groups to discuss the incident.

Mr Kenneth Iwujiaku, a motorcyclist, called on state governments in the South East to immortalise Ojukwu by naming public places of interest after him.

According to him, the governors should join hand to give him a befitting burial because `Ojukwu is a colossus’ and a very courageous man that wanted to sacrifice his life for others.

Mr Eric Mbamalu, a businessman, said Ojukwu’s death came at the wrong time, adding that he was a hero who fought for the sustenance of Igboland with his wealth and energy.

“Ojukwu deserves to be immortalised in Igboland,’’ he said.

Mr Raphael Eze, a retired civil servant, described his death as a total loss to the nation, saying that the country needed such a hero at this particular time when the country was witnessing its ups and downs.

Mrs Helen Ume, a nursing mother, said Ojukwu’s death had created a vacuum that could not be filled in Igboland.

According her, Ojukwu is an institution, who demonstrated his calibre during the war.

She added that Ojukwu should be given national honours and a fitting burial. (NAN)

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