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Ojukwu: An exit of a Social/Political Prophet By Obi Ebuka Onochie

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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