Ojukwu: An exit of a Social/Political Prophet By Obi Ebuka Onochie
The Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Dikedioramma, EzeIgbo gburugburu who recently passed on, has an indelible place in the history of Nigeria. Ojukwu himself defied classification, born a son of a multi-millionaire, the English educated former Army officer, had a dexterity touch of a politician and doggedness of a boardroom gadfly. He had the best privilege at birth yet he identified with the poor. The outpouring emotions and condolences in expressions of what Ojukwu stood for, is what can only be seen when a contributor to humanity exits this earth.
He variously saw tomorrow at different times but many could not understand his predictions and those who did, blindly refused to heed to them. He was said to have forewarned General J.T.U Aguyi Ironsi against his bloody visit to Ibadan which later proved Ojukwu's premonitions right. Gen. Ironsi after the failed coup of January 15th 1966 introduced Unitary System into Nigeria's political landscape with the aim of uniting the differences which he believed regionalism created. But the northern Oligarchs read a different meaning into that which Ojukwu promptly identified and brought to the notice of Ironsi but as they say, “the death that will kill a puppy, doesn't allow it perceive the smell of faeces”, Gen. Ironsi ignored Ikemba and fearlessly walked into his grave in cold blood. It is obviously clear today that if Gen. Ironsi had heeded to Ojukwu's advice, Nigeria would have a different story today as history which perhaps may be a positive one.
In 1967 at Aburi in Ghana, he proposed a very well thought out System that would have saved us of civil war and subsequent decades of self destruction and delusion we have plunged into. Gen. Gowon saw reason with him only to come home to dangerous advice of the Hausa/Fulani Oligarchs who were paranoid of anything emanating from Eastern Nigeria. They confused and manipulated the then young Gowon into abandoning an agreement which he willfully entered into while the killings of Easterners went on unabated.
A union of confederation where every region is allowed to grow at their own pace, hard work and knowledge was all Ojukwu proposed. Instead of adopting and harmonizing it where necessary, the Northern oligarchs out rightly refused instead sunk Nigeria deeper into gloomy political and economic arrangement we are all paying the debt up till today. There is no point running away from the truth, Nigeria is an artificially created entity done in 1914 which was perhaps, the most tragic political error done by the imperialists. Of all the countries created artificially by the imperialist of Great Britain, Nigeria is the only surviving forced union of incompatibles though shaky at the moment. The India and Pakistan, Sudan and South Sudan, etc are all living apart today. These countries did not wake up and decide to part ways but their irreconcilable differences led to that and Nigeria is towing the same line which was exactly what Ojukwu tried to avoid when he brought that proposal to Aburi in Ghana.
Ojukwu was one of the few political elites who have been consistently calling for National conference or dialogue whether sovereign or not but again, government after government in Nigeria has always over looked it. We have been thronging aimlessly and without objective into the unknown future in this country with our huge outstanding national discontent which is boiling to consume this nation if our government remains obdurate and blind. It is only African man that will continue to see the impossibility of something happening even when it is already taking place. A lot of Nigerians have in recent time consistently say nothing will disintegrate Nigeria not even Boko Haram or militancy but they are wrong. Admittedly, no prominent Nigerian will come out to say Nigeria will break up but deep down inside themselves they know the truth that Nigeria is not indivisible.
Right from before independence, Nigerians have been living in suspicion of one tribe against another leading to a lot of struggle to power especially at the centre where a lot of governmental power is concentrated. Nigeria copied presidential-federal system of United States of America leaving behind the foundational ingredients of the system. The resources and development of every component unit of the federation rest with every State/regional government which was part of the Aburi accord Ojukwu proposed. Today in America, no State of the Federation will say it is being marginalized simply because you grow and develop according to your pace and capacity. Recently, one of the desperadoes of the cabal that have pillaged our economy for decades talked about the “doctrine of settled issues”. As we all know in life there is nothing like settled issues because only one thing is constant and that is change. Even if there is an issue that should be regarded as a settled issue or not, it must not come from some certain quarters of our society which many regard as partakers of dark historical period of this nation which if possible should be expunged from our history book.
Nobody needs one of the numerous prophets we have in Nigeria to tell the government that no matter how long they treat national dialogue whether sovereign or not as unimportant, it must surly hold. We will not also be surprised to see many of what is contained in the Aburi agreement to be the issues that will take centre stage at the conference. “Aburi we stand” was the slogan in support of the agreement Gen. Gowon willfully reached with Ojukwu in Ghana which he reneged from after he was totally confused and misguided by the northern oligarchs. We are looking forward to seeing how Aburi accord will be resurrected as the propounder who many regard as the Nigerian who saw our tomorrow goes into mother earth. His life is purely a life of a colossus and a true patriotic nationalist. Only few people on earth have actually had their ideas and contributions outlive them. Ikemba, you will forever be remembered by true Nigerians, rest in peace.
Obi Ebuka Onochie