*His life, battles
By Charles Kumolu
Chief Debe Sylvester Odumegwu-Ojukwu, first son of the late Head of State of the defunct Republic of Biafra, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, is dead. A member of the family, who confirmed the incident, said he slumped, and lost consciousness last Thursday.
The late Ojukwu did not regain consciousness until he was pronounced dead on Friday at a private hospital where he was taken to, in Lagos. A condolence register has been opened by the family at the Lekki Phase 1 home of the deceased who was the President-General of Umudim Nnewi Union in Lagos. The deceased, a lawyer and retired Police officer, died at the age of 62.
Until his death, he was a prominent figure in some controversies in the family, one of which was the recent questioning of the legality of the late Ikemba of Nnewi’s marriage to Mrs Bianca Ojukwu. During that controversy, which threatened the unity of the family, Debe had this to say to Sunday Vanguard:”
“As a lawyer, I would say no. Why I said no is that there are so many marriages, even when you look at Nollywood, there are many marriages everyday but that does not make it legal. “Why I am arguing this is because there was a woman my father married in a court, and that marriage was never nullified, and my training as a lawyer tells me that when there is a subsisting marriage, subsequent marriage or attempt at marriage becomes null and void.”
Also, when his father died in 2011, Debe, whose mother hailed from Udi, in Enugu State, was engaged in a controversy with some members of the Ojukwu family, he accused of not allowing him to perform his rights during his father’s burial.
In an interview with this reporter published by Sunday Vanguard in February 2013, he said there were attempts at negotiating his rights as a first son.
It was an interview that had to be conducted after the declaration that the late Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ezigbo Gburugburu’s Will had been announced and a lion share had gone to Bianca Odinaka Olivia Ojukwu, the deceased’s wife.
Sunday Vanguard set out to get all sides of the story, especially after the statements by some family members that he was not one of them.
Interestingly, Debe looked like a carbon-copy of the late Ikemba.
Debe was a successful business man.