BY Tony Edike & VINCENT UJUMADU
ENUGU- THE remains of former Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu who passed on November 26, would be laid to rest on February 2, next year, the South- East Governors’ Forum announced on Sunday.
Chairman of the forum, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, who briefed newsmen after their meeting in Enugu, said all the funeral ceremonies of the late Igbo leader would commence in Enugu on February 2, after which his remains would be taken to his country home, Nnewi, for interment.
Obi said a committee would soon be set up to discuss further on the burial arrangements of the late statesman.
He disclosed that all the South-East and South- South states that made up the old Eastern Region as well as the presidency would participate in the ceremonies that would take place in Enugu.
He said: “On the 2nd of February, 2012, the burial ceremony of Ojukwu will take place in Enugu after which his corpse will be taken to his country home, Nnewi, for intermen.”
He explained that the decision to commence the burial ceremonies of the late icon in Enugu was informed by the fact that Enugu was the capital of the old Eastern Region.
Meanwhile, more condolence messages continued to pour in for the late Odumegwu- Ojukwu at the weekend with his uncle, Chief Louis Carter Onwugbenu, explaining why the Ikemba Nnewi refused to join his father’s business empire.
He said Ojukwu refused to join the business empire of his billionaire father because he wanted to serve the people.
Ojukwu never wanted to break up Nigeria – Uwechue
President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Ralph Uwechue, said yesterday at the country home of the late Ikemba Nnewi who led the defunct Biafra against Nigeria in a 30 –month civil war, that the warlord never wanted to break up Nigeria. He said Ojukwu only declared the Biafran Republic when it was inevitable.
Uwechue led all the former and present leaders of Ohaneze on a condolence visit that took the team to the family of Ojukwu at Umudim, the traditional ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu, and later addressed a meeting of Nnewi people.
He said it was because Ojukwu loved Nigeria and wanted one Nigeria that he insisted on the implementation of the Aburi Accord.
He said that as the then Nigerian Ambassador to France, he knew the efforts Ojukwu made for Nigeria to remain one, noting that it was only when Ojukwu felt that the Igbo had been pushed to the wall that the war began.
He said: “He stood out at a time Igbos were in great difficulty and needed support and Ojukwu provided the much–needed leadership by saying no to oppression and standing by his people.”