OJUKWU FLOWN TO UK, GOV OBI THANKS ALL
Former Biafran warlord, and leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu, who is down with stroke was yesterday flown to the United Kingdom on board a white air ambulance marked D.C 6 at exactly 1.50 pm for further treatment. Ojukwu was flown out through the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The ailing Igbo leader was brought to the Airport at 11:10 am from the University of Enugu Teaching Hospital where he was receiving treatment in the Enugu Emergency Management Rescue Unit.
The convoy of cars that brought him had three state-of-the-art ambulances, two belonging to Anambra State and one belonging to Enugu State. They entered through the Airforce wing of the airport, away from the prying eyes of journalists who had assembled at the airport as early as 6:30 am when they got the news that he would be flown to the UK , thus making it difficult to ascertain the particular ambulance that carried him.
Governor Peter Obi, who has remained restless since Ojukwu took ill and who, according to Government House sources, did not sleep in the night as he planned for the success of the trip of yesterday, and had visited the hospital almost on daily basis, arrived the teaching hospital as early as 7:30 am and at 8 am left for the airport to confer with the air ambulance crew and made sure everything was in order.
The ambulance carrying Ojukwu, which was accompanied by the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh; the Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Linus Ilika; Chief Ralph Uwazurike; Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu and Ojukwu's children, some of whom flew into the country from the USA and UK; Prof. Augustine Nwabueze; Prof. Vincent Ike; Dr. C.C. Amah; Dr. Paul Ufoegbunam, among others, arrived the Airforce wing of the Enugu International Airport at 11:40 am. The convoy was received by the Air Commodore Jacob Gbamwuaw of the Base and the Commander of the Flying School, A.B. Esuara.
It took another two hours before the air ambulance taxied on the runway as the flight took-off on the long expected flight to the United Kingdom. The Igbo leader who was diagnosed of stroke was rushed to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu last Sunday where he had been on intensive care till yesterday morning.
A huge crowd gathered at the hospital yesterday morning to catch a glimpse of the ailing leader who was wheeled down from the Intensive Care Unit of UNTH, through the New Born Ward walkway to the extreme end where an ambulance was waiting.
Before the Eze-Igbo gburugburu was brought out, security men had chased away everybody in sight, especially newsmen who had been monitoring the situation at the hospital. The air ambulance took off to the UK at exactly 1:50 pm.
Obi who looked pensive and had refused to speak to journalists on Ojukwu's health thanked all Nigerians, especially the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, whom he said called him daily to find out about the condition of the elder statesman, for their concern. He enjoined Nigerians to continue to remember him in prayers and expressed confidence that he would come back in a better condition.
On what his ill-health was costing the state, Obi only said he would do everything possible and leave the rest for God. He said what he was doing was merely what a responsible son would do for a father he so much loved and cherished. 'In any case', he said, 'who cares what it costs the state than our beloved father getting well.'
Chief Umeh expressed happiness on the level of care and concern shown by Nigerians over Ojukwu and urged them to continue praying for him. Ojukwu had, during the campaign for the governorship election, urged the Igbo people to grant him his last wish by voting in Governor Obi for the second time. In his words: 'Though Ojukwu in Nigeria is contented, I see in Obi a governor who will take care of me as he will do for all Anambrarians.'