Johannesburg – Ohaneze Ndi Igbo in South Africa has described late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu as a courageous and detribalised Nigerian.
Chima Umealo, Deputy President of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, South Africa said at an event in honour of Ojukwu in Johannesburg on Friday that his leadership quality endeared him to the Igbos.
“In line with our aim and objective as the umbrella organisation for all Ibos in South Africa, we decided to celebrate the life of the man Ojukwu as is being done globally by Igbo communities.
“The man Ojukwu was a great Nigerian, known to have fought for the unity of the country. The circumstance, which led to the civil war, should not reduce him to a tribal leader.
”As at that time, he had no other option than to fight for the preservation of the lives of his people, his was more of a Nigerian leader than a tribal leader.
”He was a great Nigerian who came, saw and conquered,’’ Umealo said.
The president of Nigerian Union, Jason Osuafor, said the death of Ojukwu was a celebration of an achiever.
“He was a man that fought for his people, he lived a well-accomplished life. He was a great intellectual and he got a great presence among his people.
“His engagement with our people when he led us during the civil war showed that he was a committed Igbo man.’’ Osuafor said.
He said Nigerians should learn from his belief in true federalism.
“Nigeria being a multi tribal nation should learn that there is still more to be done in area of political and economic integration, so that we can achieve true federalism.
The chairman of People Democratic Party (PDP), South Africa chapter, Sam Iweka, in an interview said Ojukwu’s death was a colossal loss to the nation.
“He was a man who epitomized lots of courage, vision and uprightness. He was among the very few Nigerians that understood the true nature of federalism.
“He fought and maintained his stand despite all forms of distraction. It is those who don’t understand that who see him as a tribal leader, but that will be belittling the status of the man in question,” Iweka said.
He said Ojukwu was upright and stood for justice, adding “we can all remember the role he played during the botch coup in 1966 that to me is a testimony of who Ojukwu was.
“He wanted one united Nigeria with a unity of purpose. There is no way the history of Nigeria will be written that the name of Ojukwu will not be mentioned,’’ Iweka said. (NAN).
Source: Vanguard, 2nd March 2012.