|Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo|
Thus we have those celebrated by their heroic deeds: the ogbuagu, (Lion slayers or liberators of the country), the dike (mighty men of courage) etc.. The lgbo has no arbitrary respect for any royalty except that achieved by the individual through hard work. Religiously the Igbo is equally fractious. Every man has his own god, chi. Thus in traditional Igbo land there is no King and there is no rallying point or course. Until Ojukwu. Here is the only man to date to successfully bring the most Igbo together to fight for one course. Not by conquest but by pure bravery and power of oratory in dire times. Historically Ojukwu is the only one to rally the largest and widest groups of Igbo people. Though assisted by a course that bordered on live or death of all Igbo as a people. Chukwuemeka Odinmegwu Ojukwu earned his right as the closest any man have come of truly being called the King of the Igbo and a defender of the collective. Ojukwu viewed the world from the perspective of the Igboman and sought not only to preserve that identity but also to promote it. As a rich London educated man he could have chosen another course entirely. He is regarded as a national 1gbo warrior and defender of course of ndi lgbo.
Ndi lgbo are the most widely dispersed people in Nigeria. Many of them are born and live in every part of the country from the north down to the South-South. The war was fought because they sought protection and liberty to live, move, trade and pursue all kinds of vocations in their adopted locations throughout the country. This protection was never going to be granted by the Gowon administration consequentially because of the fallout of the 1966 coup carried out by some over-zealous Nigerians led by some radical and visionary Igbo officers. The justification for the coup, the war that followed and subsequent events are subjects of debate. But it was clear that the Igbos felt or were led to feel that the only way to be free was to take up arms and defend themselves aggressively. Led by Ojukwu they seceded. That attempt failed at the cost of millions of lives, but the need to liberate the Igbo (the entrepreneur, innovator, inventor the independent minded people in Nigeria) among us and grant them the liberty they need is still a national problem today. The same pogrom that justified the war is now carried on by elements in the north (using the boko haram) only this time it is targeted against another form of the lgbo. Religion is today the guise. But Nigerians everywhere still seek for true independence and the benefits of free enterprise.
In 1960 we won our independence but the Nigerian is still in chains every where in the country. Our rights to live anywhere in the country, build our homes, businesses, factories and have our children grow up as other native born; our children's rights and our rights to be voted for and to vote is everywhere in our country limited by tribal marks and religious associations. Now more than in the 60s we need a Nigerian Ojukwu to fight a different war and to liberate the lgbo in each of us Nigerians. Ojukwu was an Igbo leader but he is a national leader because in many ways he is a type of what we need right now as a people. A leader with conviction and power; charisma and the courage to sacrifice self for us to live. In the words of Ojukwu himself:
I still believe that the one thing that will bring peace, absolute peace, to this country, the type of peace we want attached to development, is to liberate Ndi Igbo and there is no better act of liberation than accepting that they have equal right in Nigeria.
~ Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ikemba
Theweek ["Ojukwu vs. Abacha?"] March 10, 1997 (source: www.kwenu.com)
Then again the 1966 coup had a vision. That vision is still relevant today and is yet to be achieved. Shall we start a movement for the actualization of the sovereign state of Nigeria? A Nigeria free from corruption, greed, sectionalism and religious and political imperialism.
Read Nzeogwu speech below: (extract)
We are not promising anything miraculous or spectacular. But what we do promise every law-abiding citizen is freedom from fear and all forms of oppression, freedom from general inefficiency and freedom to live and strive in every field of human endeavour, both nationally and internationally. We promise that you will no more be ashamed to say that you are Nigerians.
~ Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, major, Part of broadcast of January 15, 1966, coup (source:www.kwenu.com)
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