Seven Lies The Nigerian Media Have Been Telling Against Ojukwu For 50 Years.
The Nigerian media, particularly those of the North and west, have consistently propagated a series of lies against late Biafran Warlord, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu(IKEMBA NNEWI), for the last 50 years since the end of the war. Some of these lies have assumed a life of their own. I’m here to debunk 7 of these lies so that people may know the truth.
1) That Ojukwu lost no family member in the war:
Contrary to popular belief that Ojukwu lost no relations to the war, Ojukwu lost his own brother. Ojukwu’s younger brother, Tom Bigger, died while fighting in the Nsukka sector of the war
2) That Ojukwu never visited the war front:
Not only did Ojukwu visit the front several times, he even personally led “operation Igwuruta” that cleared Nigerian forces from Oguta. He is a front war General unlike Yakubu Gowon who was commanding from Dodan Barracks.
3) That Ojukwu forced the minorities of the Eastern Region into Biafra without Consultation:
Before Ojukwu declared Biafra, he convened the “Eastern Nigeria Consultative Forum”, a body that comprised all the chiefs, provincial heads and trade union leaders of the 20 provinces that made up the old Eastern Region. They met in Enugu and voted overwhelmingly for the Eastern Region to become an independent country and mandated Ojukwu to declare Biafra. When you compare this to Nigeria which Lugard created in 1914 without even giving notice to anybody, you begin to understand the hypocrisy.
4) That Ojukwu was not senior to Gowon:
Gowon was commissioned an officer in 1956 while Ojukwu was in 1957. However, Ojukwu joined the civil service at Udi in 1955. When Ojukwu was commissioned in 1957, his commission date was backdated to 1955 to reflect when he joined the civil service. This made Ojukwu to become senior to Gowon.
5) That Ojukwu dressed like a woman to escape Biafra:
Ojukwu left Biafra via Uli Airport. Why would Ojukwu disguise himself as a woman to go to an Airport in an area still under his control? Does that make any sense? Besides, people like NU Akpan, AA Madiebo and Philip Effiong have all written in their books how they escorted Ojukwu in a convoy to the Airport.
6) That Ojukwu was a coward for fleeing Biafra:
The Oxford dictionary defines a coward as “a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things”. Had Ojukwu wanted, he could have used his position to negotiate a top position in Gowon’s government. Had Ojukwu wanted, he could taken his father millions and retired to any country in the world. Instead, Ojukwu fought a 3 year war of independence against impossible odds, against a much larger and better equiped enemy. In the end when he could not continue, he exited the scene as the alternative would have been to wait to be killed. Ojukwus bravery is in his will to declare the independence of an oppressed people and fight with for 3 years. Anyone who thinks he is a coward for not “staying back to be killed” is someone who is ignorant.
7) That Ojukwu caused the war/declared war:
Ojukwu did not cause the war and he never declared any war. Contrary to the lie(s) peddled against Ojukwu, Ojukwu actually tried to prevent war. While Igbos were being killed all over Nigeria, Ojukwu appealed for calm and protected Northerners in the East. Ojukwu even risked his personal safety to meet Gowon in Aburi Ghana to prevent war by reaching an agreement. Despite Ojukwus best efforts to prevent war, Gowon still went ahead to break the Aburi agreement they signed, which left Ojukwu with no option than to declare Biafra. Throughout the war, Ojukwu travelled out for several peace meetings brokered by the international community, none of which Gowon bothered to attend. It was Gowon that caused the war by breaking the agreement they signed and it was he who declared war.