25th February, 2012
Igbo people resident in Kano, north-west Nigeria today staged a procession under the aegis of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to honour their departed leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu.
A mammoth crowd gathered at the New Road, secretariat of OhanaezeNdigbo in Kano from where groups of different ethnic backgrounds matched through the streetsof Sabon Gari, predominantly occupied by non-natives.
They carried portraits of the late Biafra leader chanting dirges as they moved along.
Chief Tobias Michael Idika described the Igbo leader as an Iroko Tree and a patriot who championed the cause of his people.
“In Igbo parlance, Iroko tree depicts greatness, power and valour. And when an irokotree falls, it signifies an event of the extra- ordinary. A saying also goesthat life is but a walking shadow, a poor player plays and frets his part onthe stage, and when heard of no more, it is like a tale told by an idiotbut signifying nothing—but indeed, the tales of the life and times of DimChukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu — Ikemba Nnewi, shall continue to be very significant to the present generation and to posterity. “
“Precisely on November 26,2011, an Iroko tree fell. The world tumbled, tears flew and the talking drumswere silent when the news of the death of a foremost world -recognizedleader filtered into Nigeria.His own people—Ndigbo and it dawned on them — Ndigbo that a big gully hasbeen created in our chequered history. Even the sincere elements from the otherdivide of our country — Nigeria,knew, also, that a spice has leaked away from the nation’s troubled politicalship.
“Forthe students of history, the contribution of the late Dim Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu to the political development of Nigeria can never be underrated.His desire to keep this country as one in the face of mounting ethnic criseswas grievously misconstrued and those who look at history with a blind eyeerroneously tagged a patriot, a secessionist. For those who did not know, thelate Dim Ojukwu was the only officer of the Nigerian Army from Igbo who insisted on dialogue when our people were being massacred like goats andchickens in northern Nigeria without justification. “Evenwhen they failed to implement the Aburi agreement, he also insisted on one Nigeria, but asthe Governor – General of the Eastern region and succumbing on the genuine pressurefrom stakeholders in that region the lateDim Ojukwu had no choice than to protect his people. “Asfar as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano State chapter is concerned; Ojukwu remains onepatriot Nigeriaever had— a detribalized military officer and a populist. He dedicated histime and resources to fight for the freedom and liberation of his own peoplewho were made slaves and second class citizens in their own country .
“After the civil war, the great hero of our time proceeded on a self exile to Cote D’Ivoire where he stayed and monitored unfolding events and yet, the openedwounds refused to heal. When in 1982, the government of Alh. Shehu Shagarigranted him an ‘unconditional’ pardon and asked him to return to Nigeria, he didnot hesitate. And again, he put the gory tails of the civil war behind himand joined other compatriots in nation building — how else could one havedemonstrated love and loyalty to a country?
The late Dim Ojukwu, in 1983contested and won a senatorial seat, but again, they deprived him of hisvictory. “Fromthen, Eze Igbo Gburugburu participated actively in the politicaldevelopment of a country that once rejected him and his people, climaxing inhis two- time participation in Nigeria’sPresidential election under the platform of the All progressive Grand Alliance(APGA), a party he led until his death. “ForOhanaeze Ndigbo, Kanochapter,Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was a hero, a great Leader, a patriotand an Iroko tree. He was never a rebel. He was never a secessionist. He wasnever a villain. He was, indeed, a liberator. He is brave general. He isrenowned historian. He is man of the people, and a committed child of God. Forone thing, the present Socio – political situation in Nigeria vindicates his actions and inactions inhis bid to join other compatriots to fix Nigeria. “
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano,chapter is saying, Onye Ije Nnoo. Adiu Ikemba Nnewi, Adiu Eze IgboGburugburu, Adiu the Iroko tree .Adiu Odenigbo Ngwo, Adiu DikedioranmmaNdigbo.Adiu the People’s General. May your soul rest in peace as wehope to meet you at the feet of our Lord Jesus.”
Also,the Kano Ohanaeze leadership presented to the crowd, a pamphlet written byPresident-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo world wide, Ambassador Raph Uwechue,titled South East Presidency In 2015,Odumegwu Ojukwu’s Vision.