Ojukwu's Ideals Unperishable –APGA


The Chairman of All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has said that the ideals of the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu will be unperishable.

Umeh said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday on the sidelines of a military funeral parade held in honour of Ojukwu after the arrival of his corpse from London.

“Things he stood for are unperishable: justice, fairness, equity. He was a de-tribalised man. We just returned with his corpse from London and more than 15,000 gathered in his honour at the cathedral.

“Some of the white people came to ask me if he was once Nigeria’s president because of the huge turnout of people. He lived a selfless life and his shoes are too big for anyone to wear,” Umeh said.

He said the late politician’s absence would be greatly felt at subsequent party meetings as “he was the livewire of our great party, our strength.

“We’ll surely feel his exit and his name remains indelible even in death.”

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra said : “We thank God for the life our leader lived. We are well prepared for his arrival.

“We stood by the family when he fell ill and we have been involved till now. Concerning APGA, we believe only God will fill the vacuum he left. God who brought him will raise someone else.”

The wife of the Anambra governor, Mrs. Margaret Obi, said : “Preparation is in full swing back home and we want to thank the Federal Government and the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, for their constant support. We welcome everyone to come and bid our late father farewell.”

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The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, the Most Reverend John Onaiyekan, told NAN that the late Ojukwu’s wish was that : “he be received by the Catholic Church and that is why I’m here together with the Most Reverend Hilary Odili-Okeke, the Bishop of Nnewi.

“He was a great man loved by his people and though he wasn’t perfect, we all pray that when we die something good will be said about us,” Onaiyekan said.

On his own, Senator Chris Ngige said Ojukwu’s death was a “colossal loss. He was a man whose views were well thought out at all times.”

The National President of the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), Mrs. Nkechi Mba, told NAN that Ojukwu was a leader ever ready to give a listening ear to his followers.

“Two months before I emerged winner in the NCWS election, he fell ill. He had a listening ear, was always encouraging me and other women.

“I advise the wife to be strong and courageous and to uphold the virtues her late husband believed in; I also use this medium to assure her that the Nigerian women are solidly behind her.”

NAN reports that the body was received by military pall bearers with his shoes and sword on his casket. The three-part ceremony began with the military funeral parade, service of songs and the rites by the Ohaneze.

The body was later flown to Owerri en route to Nnewi, Anambra, for the final leg of the burial ceremonies coming up on March 2.

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