By NBF News
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'I think every man is looking for a replacement for his mother. That's one thing I have learnt. In life, every man looks for that woman who would not just be his wife but his mother, whose paramount objective is to ensure that he can be the best man he is meant to be… Perhaps in me he has been able to find that combination of wife and mother…' Bianca Ojukwu

Bianca Emeka Ojukwu needs little introduction. In a class of her own, Bianca is an Igbo girl original. She belongs to a special class in Igbo, nay black pantheon. In the early 1980s (when the Igbo were still grappling with the hangover of defeat in the hands of Nigeria), the goddess-looking daughter of C.C. Onoh, the former civilian governor of old Anambra State stepped forth onto the national stage. By popular acclaim, she was chosen as the most beautiful girl in Nigeria. Later, she became the most beautiful girl in Africa. She was on her way to intercontinental stardom when Ojukwu's lover-boy roving eyes caught up with hers.

Thank God, Ojukwu stopped her with his charm, affection and deep love. Thank God Ojukwu wooed her and she fell. And thank God, eventually Ojukwu, the greatest Igbo man that lived, married Bianca, the most beautiful girl Igbo ever produced. Age difference notwithstanding, it was a marriage made in heaven and consummated on earth. It lasted for twenty-three years, and counting. Every woman looking for the secret(s) to a successful husbandry should read the quote above at least once a day! Hi everybody!

Bianca, Eze nwanyi Igbo gburugburu, I greet you. I greet you for making the Igbo proud. Eze Nwanyi Igbo, I salute you this day, mimicking the way your hero, our hero, your darling husband, would. I salute you for taking care of our hero. I salute you for enduring his mood swings. I salute you for finding a fine, tolerable line and walking on that path with him. I salute you for being conservative while he soared and roared in sartorial grandeur. I salute you for giving succor to his heart when the whole world appeared indecisive on what rightful place to put Emeka Ojukwu in the annals of history. I salute you for ignoring derision, cant and caricature of an earlier, ignorant, hostile press.

I thank you for being Emeka Ojukwu's wife. I thank you for staying with him through thick and thin. I thank you for being a role model. I thank you for making him happy. I thank you for having been blinded (true love truly should be blind) by love when you married him. I thank you for giving to us those Ikemba look-alike children. I thank you for making out time to understand our roaring thunder and lightning. I thank you for being his soulmate, counselor and political advisor. I thank you for everything but above all, I thank you for being his mother. Without you, who knows our Ikemba may not have lived as long as he did. I never lived with you. I have only read about you in the papers and or seen you on TV. But, if all I read could be a leeway into the inner workings of your mind; you must then have been a real treasure to our hero.

Bianca, I was still grappling with what to make of your phenomenon when you threw that bombshell double whammy of a eulogy and tribute to your husband. In a previous article, I had tried, in vain, to draw a comparative parallel between you and Jacquelyn Onassis-Kennedy and Lady Di and Maria Estella Peron. I almost likened you to the biblical Queen of Sheba – all, women, who kept faith in love and with nation via loyalty to matrimonial injunctions. They were all beauties but they were brains, too, just as you have demonstrated. I never knew you got talents away from your ravishing looks. I never even knew you were a lawyer. I never knew you got compassion. I never knew you were a mother to the core and a very, very, passionate nationalistic Igbo.

The first time I met you was in the company of your heartthrob - Ojukwu. It was sometime either in 1994 or 1995 when you visited Washington DC. That day Ojukwu introduced you as the person solely responsible for his radiant disposition and she, who was padding and supervising the glorious path to his longevity of life. That day, if you'd remember, we sang in honor of Ojukwu. The only time I came to your house at Independence Layout, Enugu in 2004, you weren't home. I came in the company of Uche Onyeagucha, Benji Duru, Chekwas Okorie and the entire Imo Executive of APGA. We came to see oga. Though you were away, your presence loomed larger than life.

A huge portrait of yours adorned your very modest living room. I had expected to see a humongous building and a living room wider than that of Larry Flynt – publisher of Hustler magazine.

How can a man be so large and yet so modest, I chuckled. Near your dining area, I also saw a chalkboard and some dusters dangling. To show, that maybe, the previous night, or earlier in the day, you had a lesson or two with the kids. I had a flashback. A beauty queen, a mother, a wife, a teacher, the daughter of royalty, all encompassed. That was the closest I came to meeting you. Every other meeting had been by proxy. Your photogenic and elegant pictures (caught in several pensive moods) adorning the newspapers during those dark days of Ojukwu's death - mostly on the front pages in The Sun newspapers. I had egged The Sun to do more of it. Which editor would frown at such adoration so gratuitously presented? Without spending a dime! Without spendthrift paparazzi on the prowl! It was like publishing Lady Di's pix or that of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on the front pages of the London Times or the Washington Post, gratis. Professional models, too, would have smiled to the banks squeezing out real blood from obsessed editors.

Now, let's get back to your eulogy to your Emeka. I found every line contained in that piece irresistible. Which line do I digest to the exclusion of the other? The beginning sentences, which were the raw personification of love? The main body which encompassed poetry and history? Or the near bottom lines, which were an encyclopedia in chivalry, bravery and gallantry? All from the quill of Amazonian Bianca! Hear Lady Bianca lament the passing of her love:

'Every year that I spent with you was an adventure - no two days were the same. With you, I was finally able to soar on wings wider than the ocean. You were that one star. You were a child of destiny, born for no other time than the one you found yourself in.' Then the Biafran nationalist in you: 'Destined to lead your people at the time total extinction was staring us (as if you were born by then) in the face. There was no one else. You gained nothing from it. You used all the resources you had just to wage a war of survival. You fought to keep us alive when we were being slaughtered like rams for no reason. Today, we find ourselves in the same situation but you are not here. You fought that we might live.' Then the pragmatist Bianca: 'The truth is finally coming out and even those who fought you now acknowledge that you had no choice. For your faithfulness, God kept you and brought you home to your people…..' And the eloquent Bianca: 'Above all, you feared for your own people, crying out against the relentless oppression that has not ceased since the end of the war and saddened by the acceptance of this position by your own people. In death, you have awakened the spirit that we thought had died. Your people are finally waking up.'

Bia, Bianca, (no insult intended) Eze nwanyi, I thought you were all beauty and brain alone. I never knew you were a worthy warrior in your own class. Then I remembered your origins. Sired by the great C.C. Onoh of Enugu Ngwoo and married to the great Ojukwu of Igboland. You wrote all the above? Your use of the pronoun, 'we' and 'us', speak eloquently of the personal pains you endured and or ready to repel on behalf of all of us. I never knew. But now, I know better. And I guess others too. Now, you are our collective daughter, sister, wife and mother. Alaigbo will take care of you. We shall take care of you and the kids - our kids. Just be strong, as you've always been - for us, all! Oh, the muse!