Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ex-Biafran leader is dead

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Former biafran leader and leader of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu is dead.

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu  born on 4 November 1933 at Zungeru in northern Nigeria to Sir Louis Phillippe Odumegwu Ojukwu, a businessman from Nnewi in south-eastern Nigeria died in London in the early hours of today after a long illness at Royal Berkshire Hospital  in the UK.

NigerianEcho gathered that the ex-Biafran leader, Odumegwu-Ojukwu popularly known as Ikemba Nnewi was said to have died in the UK after months in hospital for the treatment of a serious stroke he had suffered late last year.

Ojukwu started his educational career at Kings College, Lagos before being sent overseas at the age of 13 by his father to study in Britain, first at Epsom College, in Surrey and later earned a Masters degree in history at Lincoln College, Oxford University and returned to colonial Nigeria in 1956.

In 1957 the Ikemba Nnewi joined  the Nigerian Army as one of the first and few university graduates.  Ojukwu was among the 15 Nigerians officers out of the  250 officers the Nigerian Military Forces had then.

After serving in the UN peacekeeping force in the then Congo under Maj.-Gen. Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, Ojuwkwu was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1964 and was posted to Kano, where he was in charge of the 5 Battalion of the Nigerian Army.

Aguiyi-Ironsi appointed Odumegwu-Ojukwu military governor of the defunct Easter Region on Jan. 17, 1966.

After the first military coup of 1966 and the counter coup that followed, Odumegwu-Ojukwu declared the defunct Eastern Region a sovereign state to be known as Biafra.

On July 6, 1967, the then military Head of State, Col. Yakubu Gowon declared war and attacked Biafra in a bid to stop Ojukwu’s secessionist attempt. The war lasted 30 months and ended on Jan. 15, 1970.

In 1970, Ojukwu handed over power to his deputy Major-General Phillip Effiong and left the country to avoid assassination. He was granted political asylum in Cote D’Ivoire by President Felix Houphöet-Biogny.

The civilian President of Shehu Shagari granted him an official pardon and he returned in 1982 after 13 years in exile. Ojukwu would later go into politics, forming the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). He was an active member until his death.

The late Ojukwu was married to Bianca Ojukwu (nee Onoh), an ex-beauty queen in Nigeria. He is survived by numerous children, including Emeka Odumegwu, Jr. and Okigbo Ojukwu.

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