The leader of Action Congress (AC) in Rivers State and a member of the Niger Delta Technical Committee, Prince Tonye TJT Princewill, has congratulated the Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu – Eze Ndiigbo Gburugburu, on his 75 years on the glebe celebration, which took place Tuesday 4th November. Princewill made this statement as he flew back to Nigeria aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight from New York where he went to give his personal support to the election of the first African-American President in the person of Senator Barack Obama. Princewill told Journalists on arrival at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, among other things, that Ojukwu was an epitome of elephant in the eye of the blind: meaning that Ojukwu as a person, is a man of many parts to different people. To Princewill, Ojukwu is an epitome of fearlessness; he has spoken out against injustices and has not hid his voice while speaking. Further, he described Ojukwu as a man he had been reading in the newspapers and magazines during his childhood days in the 70s and has not failed to read anything that had the name Ojukwu on it.
“In the 70s when I was still a young boy, I took it upon myself to be reading anything that had Ojukwu on it. I can say that was a self punishment, but reading anything is a general punishment, though reading helps us to live. I came to know that Chief Ojukwu was an orator and a motivational speaker who uses words that could even make a clown become brave. I was enjoying those interviews and articles on Ojukwu in those days, but I still have my reverence for him as one of the great men that has ever lived and I urge Nigerians to cherish their great men and celebrate them while they were alive than live on sentiments, “ Princewill said.
Reacting to the 'rebel' that people call Chief Ojukwu from many quarters, Princewill said that that was why he attributed Ojukwu as an elephant in the eye of the blind. “People can call anybody anything, even Ojukwu, but it is only a person that knows what he likes people to call him, and the person can not stop people perception about him or her. I see Chief Ojukwu as one of the men who come in every century into our world. The world ones had people like Napoleon, Alexander De Great and Hitler, name them. These men are no longer here with us, but they did what they came for, made name and left, and no one could stop them. Recently, we had an Osama Bin Laden and he knows where he is today. So, Ojukwu to me, as a father, is one of those men that came to the world and no one could stop them. He was destined for every action he has taken in life. He has carried out his cosmos obligations. Many of such men? The world is going to see a lot in the future, but I believe that many are still on the earth today. I don't know about the 'rebel' they say people call him. I only know that he is a hero.”
Princewill who was at the Ohanaeze meeting held recently in Enugu expressed that the old Eastern region existed within the confinement of the issues at that time, and calls for bilateral relationship between the people of South-East and South-South geopolitical zones. He regretted that Ohanaeze did not give Ojukwu the birthday celebration he had imagined. He says that a culture starts with a person or an event.
“I am happy for Ndiigbo and the bilateral relationship they have shared with the people of my Kalabari nation and the Rivers people and the entirety of Niger Delta people. Ndiigbo are resilient, industrious and communally and nationally motivated people. They are doing their best to better the growth of Nigeria – politically, socially and economically. And I will say here that the Nigerian state should help all her citizenry irrespective of tribe. Like the celebration of the Things Fall Apart by Prof. Chinua Achebe, which is today enjoying its 5oth birthday all over the world, I thought that Ojukwu would have had such ovation, at least, among Ndiigbo in the diaspora. But it did not surprise me that my expectation did not come as I had thought because a prophet is not recognized in his home land,” Princewill concluded.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State . Email: [email protected]
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