BY INNOCENT ANABA
In life, they were strange political bed fellows, but the death of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu has become their unifying factor.
Senator Andy Uba, who represents Anambra South Senatorial Zone where the former Biafra warlord hailed from, has been in the Vanguard of a legislation to immortalise Ojukwu.
A motion, sponsored by Uba, was unanimously adopted by all senators from the South-East. Unfortunately it was thrown out by the Senate.
In the said motion, Uba had said, “I am saddened by the news of the death of Odumegwu-Ojukwu which occurred on November 26, 2011 in London after a protracted illness at the age of 78 years.
“The late Ikemba was born on 4th November, 1933 in Zungeru, now Niger State to the late Sir Louis Philipe Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
“The late Ikemba received his early education at King’s College, Lagos; proceeded to Epson College, Surrey and obtained a master’s degree in history at Lincoln College, Oxford University, London. He returned to Nigeria in 1956.“That the Ikemba of Nnewi was an administrator, a soldier, elder statesman and a politician of repute.“That he was an administrative officer in the Eastern Nigeria Civil Service before joining the army in 1957.
“He was the first university graduate from the then Eastern Region in 1957 to be enlisted in the Nigerian Army. Served in the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cameroon and in the Congo.” Despite the Senate’s refusal to adopt the motion, however, Igbo are united on one issue; honour for an illustrious son.
In the Nigerian politics, Igbo are often perceived with distrust since the end of the civil war, hence Uba’s insistence that the fallen hero should be immortalised lends credence to the man’s greatness. “Even those who oppose the senator politically agree that his move will not only forge unity, but could eventually lead to engraving the late hero’s name in the sands of time.
According to Uba, Ojukwu was a hero who epitomised the struggles of the Igbo for a place in Nigeria’s history. He went on: “As a senator representing his zone, I feel compelled to champion the cause for his immortalisation. Although the Senate did not consent to the motion, the consciousness of Nigerians has been further awakened on the need to honour our heroes. I was also at the vanguard of immortalising the late speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.
As a lawmaker committed to representing our core values, I would always pursue every available opportunity to give honour to whom it is due.”
Uba described Ikemba’s death as a great loss to Nigeria.“He was a great patriot and embodiment of unity among the Ibos and a rally point for all committed patriots.
“We would continue to remember him for his valuable contribution to the country. The country has lost a great son whose contributions to the Igbo cause was immeasurable,”he stated. The senator lamented that Ikemba died at a time his wise counsel would have assisted to a large extent to build a new and prosperous nation.
“His place is assured in the history of our great nation, he would be remembered for his forthrightness, zeal, and undying support for the Igbo cause. Above all, he was a great patriot and one with uncommon intellectual bent which the younger generation should draw from.He would be sourly missed by all men of goodwill.”