By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA—ACTING Vice Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, Anambra State, Prof. Greg Chukwudi Nwakoby has explained that the essence of the university instituting an annual memorial lecture in honour of its patron, late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was “to always keep in our mind and refresh our memory of what Ojukwu stood for during his life time.”
He said that in the course of taking brief shortly after his appointment as the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University in March, this year, he discovered the gap that Ojukwu was not placed in the varsity’s academic activities, hence he made a proposal to have him in their academic calendar by instituting the memorial lecture in his honour, which was expressely approved by both the Governing Council, the Senate and Governor Willie Obiano, the university’s visitor.
In his welcome address at the maiden edition of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Annual Memorial Lecture held at Chief Ben Nwazojie, SAN, Law Auditorium at Igbariam Campus of the University, Nwakoby further explained that the lecture shall annually hold on Ojukwu’s birthdays which is November 4, adding that this maiden edition could not hold on November 4 because “it fell on a Sunday which is a holy day.”
He commended the sponsor of this maiden edition, Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe for giving the university the sum of N4 million and Prince Chinedu Emeka, former Deputy Governor of Anambra state for giving them N500,000 for the event and urged wealthy people from the state to volunteer the sponsorship of the event on an annual basis since according him, he deliberately decided not to make any financial request from the state government because Ojukwu lived, worked, laboured and showed love for all Nigerians in general and Ndigbo in particular.
In her vote of thanks, Ojukwu’s wife, Lady Bianca who expressed appreciation to Nwakoby for initiating the memorial lecture, however expressed displeasure with Governor Willie Obiano for not attending the lecture in person but sending his Deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke to represent him.
According to Bianca, “Obiano has no reason not to attend the event in person because Ojukwu is the legacy of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA which Obiano is enjoying today.
She also commended the the Guest Lecturer, Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu for his erudite lecture; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as chairman of the occasion and Chief Uche Ezechukwu, a peripheral lecturer at the event for their roles in making the event a huge success.
In his lecture entitled: “Between force of reason and reason for force: legacy of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu”, Prof. Odinkalu, a human rights guru and an international scholar, described the Nigeria/Biafra civil war as an argument of justice, fair-play and equity, adding that Ojukwu fought the war for citizenship and dignity.
Odinkalu who warned that every massacre or mass killing must have a law of retributive justice or law of karma awaiting the perpetrators of such massacre, recalled that the civil war dramatized the limitations of exceptionalism and isolationism as a policy
He added that among African countries, only Cote D’ivoire, Gabon, Tanzania and Zambia ex0pressely recognized Biafra, just as Sierra Leone gave Biafra a base, while Benin Republic only made available facilities for relief supplies to Biafra.