Chief Raph Uwazuruike and Late Ojukwu
BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
EIGHT days to the interment of late Elder statesman and Leader of defunct Biafran Republic, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, discordant tunes are trailing the selection of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike as his successor.
Uwazuruike, who leads the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), was last month given the title of Eze Igbo Gburugburu II by His Royal Majesty, Eze Obidiegwu Onyenso of Nri Kingdom, thus making him Ojukwu’s successor Ojukwu was the first Igbo man to hold the title.
In separate chats, Igbo leaders were divided on the issue. While some agreed that Uwazuruike deserved the title, others said the coronation should have waited till after Ojukwu’s burial. And some said that Igbo, as a group, never met to select a common leader.
Ohanaeze has no hand in Uwazuruike’s title – Eya
Speaking on the issue, Secretary General of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation,Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nduka Eya, distanced Ohanaeze from Uwazurike’s new title.
He said: “Ohanaeze has no hand in that. It was His Royal Majesty, Eze Obidiegwu Onyenso of Nri Kingdom, who gave him the title. The person who is Eze Igbo Gburugburu has not been buried, why give another person the title? It is not in our tradition to have anyone as Igbo leader worldwide because every area has its leader.
I don’t know where and when Igbo people sat to crown Eze Igbo. But whatever it is, Igbo people accepted Ojukwu as their hero and we don’t mind calling him Eze Igbo. Let everybody hail Ojukwu as they please. These programmes are building up to the final interment. Ojukwu’s death is a tragic loss. Ojukwu was pushed to the wall and he fought against international conspiracy.”
It’s too hasty —Ebigwei
Relatedly, Dr Sylvan Ebigwei, the President of Igbo Intellectual Think -Tank, Aka-Ikenga, said Uwazuruike’s elevation should have come after Ojukwu’s burial.
“For me, all those things should have not come by now. I don’t know what it stands for. I don’t know what Eze Igbo Gburugburu stands for. It is too hasty; Ojukwu has not been buried. At least they should have waited for the man to be buried,” he said.
On today’s event, he said Dr Tunji Braithwiate, a close friend of the late Igbo leader, would chair the ceremony, which a host of Igbo leaders in Lagos had promised to attend.
Why I crowned Uwazurike —Monarch
However, The traditional ruler of Nri Ancient Kigdom in Anaocha Local Council of Anambra State, His Royal Majesty, Nri Enweallana 11, Eze Obidiegwu Onyenso, said he crowned Uwazuruike as Eze Igbo because he was the best man for the job.
According to him, politicians at all levels of governance were not capable of leading Ndi Igbo, especially in succeeding Odimegwu Ojukwu as the leader and Eze Igbo Gburugburu of Igbo land because they had failed in the past in fighting the cause of Igbo people.
Eze Onyeso, who claimed to be closer to the gods of Ndi Igbo, hinged his choice of Uwazuruike as the next leader of Igbo land on the MASSOB leader’s outstanding qualities and humility, especially in fighting for the cause of Igbo people.
The Monarch pointed out that looking for Ojukwu’s successor as Igbo leader did not call for an election, but divine selection, which according to him had been done with his choice of Uwazuruike. He disclosed that then Eze Nri in 1967 traveled to Enugu to give Ojukwu the title to become the leader of Igbo people before he became the leader.
Onyeso added that Uwazuruike served Odumegwu Ojukwu for over 20 years, had studied the footsteps of the Ikemba Nnewi while he lived, had been championing the cause of Ndi Igbo and working to sustain the pride of Ojukwu.
Having been imprisoned for up to 16 times without being found guilty for the sake of Ndigbo as well as controlling over 12 million youths, Uwazuruike, he argued, stood tall among others in the race for Ojukwu’s successor, noting that those who were unable to lead their families were among those who want to lead Ndigbo.
Nigeria remains divided as Ojukwu saw it —Igbokwe
Meanwhile, Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Joe Igbokwe, eulogised Ojukwu, lamenting that Nigeria was still intensely divided 46 years after.
His words: “Dikedioranma Ndigbo goes home leaving behind Nigeria sharply divided the way he saw it in 1966. Dead bodies of kids, pregnant women and breadwinners he received as gifts in 1966 are still being sent to us to bury with Ikemba’s body 46 years after. Now is Ikemba a hero or a villain? I leave you to answer this question.
“Please tell it to the East, West ,North and South that the tallest Iroko Tree in the forest of Igboland, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu goes home in the next couple of days, and the birds have no where to perch again. It is as if night has set in by 12 noon for Ndigbo in Nigeria.
“It is as if parts of 40 million Ndigbo in Nigeria and in the Diaspora have gone with the passage of Ikemba. To Ndigbo it is as if nothing else matters again in Nigeria. The loss is monumental, colossal, irreplaceable and irreparable. Igboland mourns this sage, colossus, icon, warrior, fighter, orator, commander, facilitator, defender, mobilizer, and father.”
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