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Lv3: Senior Member
Lv3: Senior Member
State : Nigeria
Posts : 95 Posts Liked : 39
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Facts You May Not Know About Ojukwu

on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 9:08 pm
[quote author=zendy post=33240800]There are so much convoluted,diluted and distorted stories about Ojukwu out there. Many people don't know anything about the man except that he led the short lived breakaway republic of Biafra and that later he fled into exile at the end of the war. This thread is to enlighten people on certain aspects about the man Ojukwu because, love him or hate him, Ojukwu is an indelible part of our history. Note: I didn't make this thread for it to be turned into a tribal-bashing- circus.

Languages:- Ojukwu is one of the few people who could speak the three main languages of Hausa,Igbo and Yoruba fluently. Ojukwu was born in the north to Igbo parents but grew up in Lagos as a young boy. Ojukwu would later work in East as a district officer, in the north as commander of Kano Garrison and in Lagos as Quarter- master general.In all, Ojukwu was fluent in 5 languages, Igbo-Hausa-Yoruba-English-French.

Affluence:- Ojukwus father, Sir Louis Ojukwu was one of the richest men in Africa. Ojukwus father made his money by taking advantage of the post world war 2 economic boom to make shrewd investments. His Business empire spanned shipping,banking,import and export,manufacturing,transportation and properties. He sat as chairman of John Holt west Africa, African continental Bank,Nigerian stock exchange and Ojukwu transport company. Ojukwu transport company was one of the major reasons Igbos fanned out across Nigeria using it to travel outside Igbo land and some of Ojukwus earliest drivers were the late chief Ilodibe (Ekene dili Chukwu) and Izuchukwu (Izuchukwu Trans) who all later became transport magnets themselves. It is estimated that in today's money, Ojukwus father would have been worth about 10 Billion American Dollars. People who say that Ojukwu declared Biafra to enrich himself make me laugh

Humbleness:- Despite Ojukwus fathers wealth, despite Ojukwus first class education at Epson college,Surrey and Oxford University. Ojukwu shunned his fathers wealth, rejected the plush position his father offered him in his organisation and joined the civil service as an assistant district officer when he returned from England in 1955. This enraged Ojukwus father who felt his son deserved better and when he tried to remove his son as a civil servant, Ojukwu did worse by joining the army as a common recruit! How many of us would have done such a thing if we had rich fathers?Imagine Dangotes son joining the Army as a private. After this,Ojukwus father wouldn't talk to him for a long time.

Army:- Ojukwu was the first graduate to join the Nigerian army. He was also the first indigenous Qaurter-Master General of the Nigerian army. Ojukwu would later serve as an instructor at NMTC Kaduna where he taught future military leaders like Murtala Mohammed,Obasunjo and Ike Nwachukwu military tactics.

Seniority with Gowon :- It has often been a subject of debate about who is senior between Gowon and Ojukwu. Gowon stated recently while celebrating his 80th Birthday that he was commissioned as an officer in 1956 while Ojukwu was commissioned in 1957 making him Ojukwus senior in the army. This is true,however it should be noted that an Army officer is still a civil servant. Ojukwu joined the civil service as a graduate in 1955. When Ojukwu joined the Army and was subsequently commissioned 1957 after undergoing officers training abroad,the government backdated his commission date to 1955 to reflect the year he joined the civil service and that is how Ojukwu gained seniority over Gowon. The government just saw his joining the military as transferring from one Government department to another. To this day, the Government still recognises Ojukwu as senior to Gowon while the Army might recognise Gowon as senior to Ojukwu.

One Nigeria:- Believe it or not, Ojukwu used to be a staunch believer of one Nigeria. "When we were British subjects,we saw our selves as one but as soon as Britain granted us independence and left, everything unravelled fast,everybody suddenly remembered that they were Hausa,Yoruba,Igbo etc. We could never see our selves as Nigerians and it became increasingly clear to the discerning mind the one Nigeria was a mirage"

Beard:- Ojukwu started growing his trademark beard the day he was appointed Military Goveror of Eastern Nigeria. Before then, Ojukwu was always clean shaven.

Secession:- Contrary to popular opinion, Ojukwu did not get up one day and declare Biafra, neither did he start the war. The counter-coup of July 1966 of which the president-Elect Buhari was a ring leader saw the massacre of mostly easterners all over Nigeria. An estimated 30,000 men,women and children were butchered in wave after wave of remorseless violence. There are two things Ojukwu did to show he still believed in Nigeria. After the first wave of killings,Ojukwu asked many of those who fled home to the east to return to the north and even encouraged those who were planning to return to stay put. Ojukwu even escorted the returnees to the border between the north and eastern region as they went back,sadly many of them were killed in the next wave of violence. The second thing Ojukwu did was that even though he was besieged by his people who asked him to pull the Eastern region out of Nigeria, Ojukwu resisted and went to Aburi,Ghana to negotiate with Gowon on how to keep Nigeria one. Ojukwu and Gowon reached an agreement called the Aburi accord which both men signed in front the president of Ghana. Sadly,Gowon returned to Lagos and repudiated the agreement and to make matters worse, Gowon went ahead to create States without the permission of any body. With the the failure of Gowon to stop the killings, his abandonment of the Aburi agreement, the eastern Nigerian consultative assembly (a body which comprised of traditional rulers and district heads that adviced Ojukwu on how the east should be run) gave Ojukwu the mandate make Eastern Nigeria self Governing. Ojukwu the declared Biafra. Even then,Gowon could have returned to negotiation table.Instead,what he did was to rally troops and attacked,starting the war. If anybody caused the war, it was Gowon.

The war:- It should be noted that Ojukwu went on numerous peace missions during the war to end the crisis but to no avail. What type of Warmonger does this? Despite being outgunned and out manned,Biafra fought gallantly almost 3 years

End of the war and exile :-Contrary to what some people say on Nairaland, Ojukwu did not dress up as a woman to leave Biafra. He also did not abandon his people in the middle of the war to save his skin. I urge people to read the following books to get the true idea of how the war ended and how Ojukwu left Biafra. 'The struggle for secession' by NU Akpan and 'Nigeria and Biafra: My story' by General Effiong ( in Biafra,the 2 most high ranking officials after Ojukwu were both from the south-South. Effiong was deputy and Akpan was secretary to the Biafran Government) Ojukwu was adviced by his commanders after the fall of Owerri that the war had become hopeless. Ojukwu convened a meeting of his Government where it was decided that Ojukwu and top members of his Government and their families would fly out of Biafra. Ojukwu would hand over to his deputy General Effiong. Ojukwu later went to Uli airport with the contingent that was to travel with him. Ojukwu even inspected a guard of honour. NU Akpan who was on the flight stated that Ojukwu was the last one to enter the plane. Two days later, Biafra collapsed and Effiong surrendered to Obasunjo. Some people call Ojukwu a coward for leaving at all but ask the same people what would have been the point Ojukwu staying back to be slaughtered when the war had virtually ended and had been lost? People become martyrs for a cause that is still alive, not a cause that is dead. Ojukwu spent his entire fortune financing the war and flew into exile virtually a penniless man. He would later raise a loan start business and by the time he returned from exile 12 years later, had become a successful international business man. Ojukwu often said that he did what did to protect his people and he had no regrets. Former minister of Health, Professor ABC Nwosu once said that if Ojukwu had not declared Biafra,he would have killed by his people because only a deranged human being can be shouting one Nigeria as 40,000 of his brethren are being killed.

Ojukwu always slept with his boots on during the war. " three things a Soldier never loses are his sense of purpose, his weapon and his boots[/quote]
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