Wednesday, 17 December 2014

MASSOB takes over Owerri for Ojukwu memorial day.

For those who thought the crisis that rocked the headquarters of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Okwe, Onuimo Local Government Area of Imo State has broken and weakened the organisation, they may after all be wrong as proved on December 10.

Many had thought that MASSOB had been hit so hard by the crisis and its members disintegrated and dispersed, which raised fear that the Ojukwu Memorial Day observed by the group would be greeted with low turnout.

But on December 10, the rescheduled memorial day for the late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, members of the group took over Owerri by storm, especially the New Owerri axis where the Ojukwu Memorial International Library and Convention Centre is located.

Most of the members of the group in Biafran camouflage and T-shirts were in high spirits as they took positions, sector by sector, in canopies mounted outside the Ojukwu Library regaling and dancing to tunes from the musical groups that came with them.

They were waiting for the arrival of Ojukwu’s widow and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Iyom Bianca Ojukwu on whose instance Ojukwu’s memorial date of this year was shifted from November 26 to December 10 to enable her attend.

By 2:15p.m; Bianca arrived at the venue and was received by the leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, who took her round the library to greet thousands of  MASSOB members who sat state by state, zone by zone, making them to erupt in thunderous cheers as some of them surged forward to greet Ojukwu’s widow.

Soon, the event began with Archbishop Chukwuereka Iheanacho  who came from Lagos leading in the opening prayers laced with words of advice for the Igbo.

He thanked the MASSOB members, their leader Uwazuruike, Eze Nri, Obidiegwu Onyesoh, Iyom Bianca for keeping alive the Ojukwu memories.

The archbishop noted that the day was significant to the Igbo man, praying that

God should bless Ndigbo, Biafra, Nigeria and Africa in general.

He lamented that Nigeria is now in a precarious condition like when the Israelites left Egypt and got to the Red Sea, saying that the country only requires prayers.

“In the 60s Nigeria was pregnant and it delivered the civil war, Nigeria is now pregnant with corruption and may deliver crisis; therefore, we need to pray for God to deliver our people,” he said.

The archbishop said that he had come to Owerri to celebrate the great man of valour Ojukwu, saying that he has two mentors, God and Ojukwu, who, he said, “was consistent with the aspiration of our people.”

The cleric said that Ojukwu showed the Igbo man that a man could be consistent with his dreams.

Also speaking, Ambassador Bianca expressed happiness that the Ojukwu Memorial Library was also completed.

She thanked the MASSOB leader and the Biafran war veterans who have sacrificed to ensure that the project is completed for their tenacity of purpose.

She, however, frowned at the way some politicians have been using the name of her late husband to enrich themselves while the same people have not done anything to immortalise him except what Uwazuruike, his adopted son was doing.

Her words: “I want to thank Chief Uwazuruike and the war veterans who have continued to remember Ojukwu every year by organizing a memorial anniversary for him. But those who have used the name of Ojukwu to win political offices and even those who have set up companies using his name have done nothing to remember him”.

Bianca also enjoined the MASSOB members not to allow external forces to cause them to disintegrate or break their ranks for the selfish interest of those people.

When Biance arrived at the home of Uwazuruike, she was amazed by the main door of the MASSOB leader which had a large picture of Ojukwu on the door, making her to tarry awhile at the door in order to raise praises for her late husband.

Also speaking, the Eze Nri, His Royal Majesty Obidiegwu Onyesoh, who led other traditional rulers to the event, said he had attended the anniversary because of the respect and honour he has always accorded to Dim Ojukwu while he was alive.

He commended Chief Uwazuruike for keeping the memorial of Ojukwu in the consciousness of Ndigbo by organizing the anniversary of his passage every year.

The traditional ruler of the Nri Ancient Kingdom pointed out that Uwazuruike has not only deemed it necessary to continue to celebrate the late revered Igbo leader but has gone a step further by erecting a befitting Library and Convention Centre in his name.

The royal father also lamented the continued marginalization of the South-East in the scheme of things in the country and insisted that the South-East must be given an additional state at least to assuage the region’s structural marginalization.

Hear him: “We South-East is marginalized today because of the injustice in the land and I am saying that the South-East must be given another state at least to redress the structural marginalization. Our people in government must see to it that it is done.

“I want our people to emulate the life Dim Ojukwu who scarified all he had for Ndigbo and that is why we are here today to honour his memorial as a great son of Ndigbo whose only thought and action was how to liberate the people from oppression and marginalization”.

Similarly, Dr Dozie Ikedife, erstwhile President -General of the apex Igbo cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said that the late Ojukwu remained the spirit of the Biafran struggle and as long as the spirit of Ojukwu was with the Igbo people the Biafra state would come to fruition one day.

“The state of Biafra will come to fruition because the spirit of Ojukwu is with the people. But this time we are not going to fight another war, what we are going to use now is wisdom because the case of Biafra in still in the court and we are going to be victorious, but Ndigbo should love one another as Ojukwu had loved Ndigbo,” he advised.

Also, Reverend Samuel Aniebo who came from Lagos to attend the memorial ceremony said that though the Ikemba Nnewi had left the physical world, he is still alive because his spirit has continued to live among the Igbo people.

“Even  though our revered and beloved leader has departed this physical world he is still alive because his spirit still lives among the people that is the reason you see this mammoth crowd of people who have abandoned their various businesses just to come to in order to honour the memory of the man who had sacrificed his father’s wealth, personal comfort to fight their cause,” he said.

He maintained that Ndigbo would be free in no distant future, pointing out that “if East Timor with a population of just 150,000 and Montenegro which has a population of 800,000 is free then Ndigbo with a population of about 70 million will definitely be free.”

One of the Biafra war veterans, Chijioke Nnam, a 67-year-old  man from Abakiliki, Ebonyi State, said that he has continued  to attend the memorial of Ojukwu, saying that if not for him Ndigbo would have been wiped out during the civil war which was imposed on the East by Nigeria.

The war veteran maintained that he would ever remain grateful to the late Dim Ojukwu for his sacrifice to Ndigbo, pointing out that other veterans who attended the event did so to honour his memory.

He also thanked Chief Uwazuruike for keeping the flag of Biafra flying.

In his speech, the leader of MASSOB, Chief Uwazuruike said that “Ojukwu brought Biafra,” promising that “Biafra would never die.”

He pointed out that before this time when Biafra was mentioned “the Nigerian security agents would clamp down on us but today that era has passed.”

Uwazuruike said: “Today, the Federal Government has come to the reality that Biafra has come to stay  because of the sacrifice that we have made towards the realization of the state of Biafra.”
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