On November 26, 2016, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu came alive in Owerri. It was at an anniversary of his death, or a remembrance of his life held at the grounds of the legendary Ojukwu Memorial Library in Owerri.
The Library was built and dedicated to the memory of Ojukwu by Chief Ralph Uwazurike, the leader of MASSOB/BIM. It will be recalled that, for embarking on that project, Uwazurike has drawn the admiration of all well-meaning Igbos, and quantum world-wide acclaim, including from other Nigerians who have come to admire and respect Ojukwu for what he had stood for.
The Library location and its grounds proved equal to the task as it adequately accommodated the throng of thousands that graced the occasion, which included Biafran war veterans and notable personalities from around the country.
To my knowledge, this is the fifth time such an event took place but this one was reputed to have been the grandest in more ways than one.
Ojukwu’s widow, Iyom Bianca was in attendance, so was Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, Dr Fredrick Fasheun (OPC), Alhaji Yerima of ACF, and a host of others, including Bishops, senior pastors, and civic leaders from Nigeria and abroad.
It is to the eternal credit of the chief host of the event, Chief Ralph Uwazurike that, with an event like this, General Ojukwu and what he represented will never be forgotten.
And that Ojukwu continues to live on is best exemplified by the man – Uwazurike – who has proven over the years to possess the same rare qualities that endeared Ojukwu to all Igbos, and earned the grudging respect of other Nigerians.
To be sure, possessing those qualities puts Uwazurike in a firm position to step into Ojukwu’s shoes. This is not to suggest that it’s ever easy to step into those shoes. It’s instead very onerous and demands significant personal sacrifice, just as it carries quantum risks, to boot.
Amanze writes from [email protected]