MBADINUJU, IHEANACHO, AGBAKOBA SPEAK ON OJUKWU
• Late Ojukwu
The demise of the Ikemba of Nnewi Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu will no doubt leave a vaccum Former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun said that Ojukwu's death will definitely leave a void but believes that another leader will emerge to take his place.
'Firstly I want to point out that I am glad that no one has had any negative thing to say about Ojukwu and that goes to show that he was very forthright and full of integrity. The volume of accolades that have poured for him were unprecedented. If he was a bad person, no one would have had anything good to say about him. If you want to know how great and how good a man is, it is after his death. He had a larger than life image and he was very concerned about the welfare of the Igbos.
In terms of the leadership of the Igbos, Ojukwu had a lot going for him and that was why he naturally was a strong voice in the South East. First his father, Chief Louis Ojukwu was one of the wealthiest Nigerians during his time and he had the opportunity of having a very prestigious upbringing. Secondly, he led the Igbos to secede, which led to the civil war and since then, he has been regarded as the voice of the Igbo race.
So it is only natural for him to be regarded as the leader of the South east especially when it comes to political issues. Before his unfortunate demise, he had always championed the cause of the Igbos. He was very particular about equality for the South East region in terms of the number of states that we had and he kept canvassing for an additional state to be created for the South East region.
In terms of the leadership of the Igbos, I do not believe that the Igbos have no king as is believed. Even though it is very difficult for a people to speak with one voice as there may be dissenting voices, when we have a strong leader I believe we can speak as one.
Before you called me, I was in a meeting and one of our leaders told me that he had attended a meeting of some South South leaders and what they told him was that some Igbos had come to them and told them that the South East is not yet ready to produce a president. I was very saddened and disappointed that some of our own people can behave that way. That is what we are talking about. In a people, there will always be those who will speak with dissenting voices. I do not belive that even the South West and the North speak with one voice because it will be very difficult and the East is no different.
However our prayer is that God will raise a David for the South East that will be a rallying point for Ndigbo because for now, Ojukwu's demise has created a huge vacuum politically. We need a selfless leader who will not be out for selfish interests. I also urge Igbos to as much as possible be unified in thoughts because that is the only way we can actually make an impact.' Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, a former minister for interior told Daily Sun in a telephone interview that he is of the belief that a leader will emerge for the South East after Ojukwu's death who will be a rallying point for the South East.
His words, 'Ojukwu's death is very painful and it has left a huge void in the political life of the Igbos. He was like the rallying point for Ndigbo. Anytime he said a thing, it is regarded as if the generality of the Igbos have spoken. He naturally assumed this position when he led the Igbos to fight the civil war and that was why he was regarded as leader. In terms of who takes over the leadership of the Igbos, I strongly believe that a leader will emerge. I am not of the opinion that the Igbos have no leader or king. When a strong voice that is devoid of selfish interests emerges, people will naturally align with him. For now, I can't tell if we have one but I am certain that when things have settled down, a leader will emerge.
Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) had in an earlier interview told Daily Sun that the South east has very few leaders who can stand up for the interests of Ndigbo. He however stated that in the younger generation, he admired the politics of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu whom he described as a fearless person considering his fight against former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to him, 'In this generation, besides Ojukwu, Kalu is someone who I admire because he is fearless. He is young and can be boisterous but he was able to stand alone during his time against Obasanjo when other governors were running for cover. If we had more of his type in the South East, I think there would be a lot of improvement. We need leaders that will look the government in the face and say this is what we want for the Igbos.