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HE WAS A MAN OF DEEP CONVICTION -BUHARI

By NBF News
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Former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC), General Muhammad Buhari has described the late Odumegwu Ojukwu as a man of deep convinction.

Speaking with Sunday Sun on phone, Yinka Odumakin, media aide to the CPC presidential candidate recalled that the late Ojukwu and General Buhari collaborated to challenge the rigging of the 2003 presidential election. Buhari prayed to God to be with family left behind by the late Ojukwu.

'He was a great man, a man of deep convinction. Himself and General Buhari collaborated after 2003 elections to challenge the audacious rigging of the elections.

He had played his part. May his soul rest in peace and may the Lord be with the family he has left behind,' he said.

Speaking in the same vein, national vice-chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (South East), Chief Olisah Metu described Ojukwu as a leader of the Igbo race who would continue to live in their hearts.

'Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu was our symbol, our identity and our undisputed leader. For our struggle, he gave his life. He will continue to live in the heart of every true Igbo man for generations to come,' Metu said.

A great Nigerian- Babatope
A great Nigerian has passed to the world beyond. Odumegwu Ojukwu will forever remain a great name in Nigeria history. The Biafran Ojukwu led during the country's civil war was an historical necessity for Nigeria. Nigeria today is one of the few remaining federations in the world because of the patriotism of Ojukwu who refused to proclaim guerilla warfare after the end of the civil war in 1970. He returned to Nigeria from exile in Ivory Coast affirming that he had returned home a Nigerian. Despite the fact that Ikemba Ojukwu came from an affluent home, he was a Nigeria who rejected his class and was pleasant to everyone rich or poor.

He was selfless-Hon Ekwunife
We have lost the finest of Igbo extraction. He was a rare gem, a selfless and patriotic Nigerian of unparallel. Dim Ojukwu would be remembered for his bravery, commitment, sincerity of purpose and most importantly his undiluted love for his people. We will greatly miss him.

Dogged fighter- Chief Nnia Nwodo (jnr), former Minister of Information.

The death of Ojukwu marks a sad end to the bold, courageous and unwavering commitment to speak up at critical moments on issues affecting our country. His voice was unmistakably patriotic for the Ndigbo. Their true leader is gone.

In post independent Nigeria, no Igbo leader has championed Igbo courses as fearlessly as he did which led to his loss of personal and family resources, denial of economic opportunities and privileges associated with his status. But he remained dogged, devoted and prepared to live with those deprivations because of his commitment to the selfless leadership of his country. Personally, I've lost a close and devoted friend - one whose intellectual intercourse with me will remain indelible in my mind. May his soul rest in perfect peace!

His death is an irreparable loss- Fasehun, Founder, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).

The death of Chief Ojukwu at this time is unfortunate and it is an irreplaceable loss to Nigerians in general and to Igbos in particular. My condolence goes to Nigerians, Igbos and the family. The death of Ojukwu should not make Igbos despondent but help them to forge more unity with one another. The Igbos should now identify a leader and rally round him. In another two to three years when there would be another presidential election, they would be faced with a decision of a lifetime.

He was like a comet-Maxi Okwu, Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP).

The Ikemba streaked across the national firmament like a comet. Ojukwu was a phenomenon. There can never be another Ikemba. As a boy soldier during the Biafran civil war, he led the war in front and from the rear.

The shocking news of the sudden demise of Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu has continued to generate more reactions from eminent Nigerians across all walks of life. In an outpour of emotions, most prominent politicians who spoke with Sunday Sun described the late Ojuwu as a courageous patriot and dogged fighter who fought for what he believed in. Excerpts:

He was a rare gem- Tanko Yakassai
He was a Nigerian of rare gem who had a touch of every part of the country in him. He was born in the north by a parent from the South-east origin and he schooled in the Southwest. He was a very courageous man by admitting his mistakes in trying to secede from Nigeria with the Biafran war. When he returned to Nigeria, he did his best to reintegrate his people into the common wealth of the Nigerian nations. I pray Almighty to grant his family and the entire nation the fortitude and courage to bear the loss.

Courageous soldier-Adebanjo
He was one of the great leaders of Nigeria. The country will miss him dearly. He was a dogged fighter, a courageous Nigerian and a great soldier. Although some Nigerians have negative feelings about his role in the Biafran war, I will not blame him for that. He believed his people were being oppressed and he took it up upon himself to redress it. And that is what they are still fighting for till today. So, I wouldn't blame him for believing what he believed in.

A nationalist-Balarabe Musa
He was one of the Nigerian nationalists. Even though he was associated with Biafran secession, after his return to Nigeria, he played a prominent role in the unity of the country just like every other person. In fact, in spite of negative consequences of the Biafran war, he went and joined National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the hope that it would help to reinforce the unity of the country.

He was fearless-Chekwas Okorie
It was with heavy heart that I received the sad news that the Great Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu has finally succumbed to the cold hand of death. I feel a personal sense of loss. I had an intensive and close association with Eze Igbo Gburugburu for an unbroken period of more than two decades. During this period, I had the uncommon privilege of drinking from his fountain of wisdom. Dim-Odugegwu has left a rich legacy of patriotism, courage, gallantry and fearlessness and sacrifice. I pray that the Almighty God shall be merciful to his soul and receive him in heaven.

MASSOB leader mourns, urges Ndigbo to imbibe Ojukwu's spirit

When contacted on phone, the Leader of the Movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, told Sunday Sun that Bianca had called him up early in the morning of yesterday before Ikemba finally gave up the ghost.

'I have been talking with Iyom Bianca Ojukwu since 1:00 a.m., before Ezeigbo passed on; we were talking almost on per second intervals until Dim passed on. Sleep has fled my eyes and I am very shocked,' the MASSOB leader who spoke with his voice shaking told Sunday Sun.

He said that the true leader of the Igbo is gone, lamenting that Ojukwu had died at a time Ndigbo needed a personality like him, saying that he has lost a great pillar of his support.

'Indeed, our leader has passed on, we now have to brace up with the challenges his death will throw up. Now, we must work with the Ojukwu spirit, which is togetherness of Ndigbo and all of us must know that there is nothing more than to ensure the welfare of Ndigbo.

'Now, any Igbo man that loves Ojukwu must imbibe the ideals of the Ezeigbo. We must all stand up for what Ojukwu died for,' Uwazuruike said.

He advised Ndigbo to remain calm and await further information on the death of their leader.

Ojukwu is irreplaceable -Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the death of Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, as another colossal loss to Nigeria at a time of strenuous efforts for unity and reconciliation.

In a condolence message issued in Abuja by his media office, Atiku Abubakar said that Ojukwu's role as a key actor in Nigeria's political development cannot be easily forgotten.

He said Ojukwu was a tremendously respected and influential politician whose endorsement was frequently needed by others to build their political careers.

According to Atiku, history had cast the late Ojukwu into a role and he played that part to the best of his abilities.

'Because of his tremendous influence on the hearts and minds of the people, the late Ojukwu was an icon in every sense of the word. Even if you disagreed with the Ikemba, you cannot ignore his father-figure stature and colossal influence,' the Turakin Adamawa added.

While condoling the family, the Anambra State government and the entire people of the state, the former Vice President prayed to God to grant Ojukwu's soul eternal rest in peace.

Nigeria has lost a great man - Northern governors
The Northern Governors Forum has commiserated with the family of the late Military Governor of the defunct Eastern Nigeria, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Eze-Igbo Gburugburu, saying the nation has lost a great man.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu said the people of Niger State, the 19 states of the North and indeed the entire country had lost a courageous man who would be sorely missed for his immeasurable contributions to national development.

In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mallam Danladi Ndayebo, the governor expressed the deep pain of the Forum at Ojukwu's demise.

'Like most of our Igbo brothers and sisters who were born in Zungeru (former capital of Northern Nigeria), Ojukwu excelled in his sojourn on this side of the divide. He did well as a soldier and as a politician,' the statement said.

The statement said the late Ojukwu would be remembered for playing a prominent role in the 1995 constitutional conference, which gave birth to the current geopolitical structure.

Ojukwu's death reminds us of the unfinished business of Nigerian federalism -Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has said that the death of Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu marks the passage of one of the movers of Nigerian history in the 20th century.

But he added that Ojukwu's death should remind everyone of Nigeria's unfinished federal business and the urgency to fix the problem, once and for all.

His words: 'Ojukwu's death once again reminds all of us of the unfinished business of Nigerian federalism. If only for his memory, and to ensure that Nigeria never has to suffer again any crisis like the Civil War, we must all rise as a people to fix Nigeria's special challenges. That is why Nigeria must, as a matter of urgency, convoke a sovereign national conference, where all these issues would be resolved.'

He said that federal-related tensions still persisted 41 years after the Civil War (1967-1970), just proved the depth of the feeling of marginalisation and perceived unfairness by critical stakeholders in the Nigerian union.

Asiwaju Tinubu extended his condolences and sympathies to Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, the widow and the entire clan Ojukwu, as well as the entire Igbo race on behalf of who the Ikemba lived, fought and died, in the context of an equitable federal Nigeria.

The former governor said though Chief Odumegwu-Ojukwu was a controversial figure, he made his mark during the era of the titans of Nigerian politics and governance.