Thursday, November 3, 2011

Igbo to celebrate Ojukwu’s birthday in grand style

All roads lead to Enugu tomorrow for the 78th birthday celebration, prayer for quick recovery of an Igbo icon, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and God’s protection of Ndigbo where an inter-denominational church service would be conducted by the Catholic bishop of Onitsha Diocese.

Those expected to attend the occasion include senators, traditional rulers, politicians and some other groups that would be involved in the celebration including some governors from the South-east geopolitical zone.
Describing Ojukwu as the father of Ndigbo, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Regional Administrator for Izzi, Ebonyi State, Chief Vincent Nwamini said it was because of him that the Igbo were still existing and respected since after the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. “It is because he is still alive that people talk about Biafra. We are calling on Ndigbo wherever they are to come out en-mass this Friday to witness what MASSOB would do to celebrate Ojukwu. MASSOB is the umbrella sheltering Ndigbo. It was because of the existence of MASSOB that Igbo were given some appointments in Nigeria.”

He argued that the celebration was special because of the rumoured death of the Biafran warlord which was why the organisation decided to tell Ndigbo and the whole world that he is alive. “That is why the celebration this year is exceptional and secondly, the ripe age of 78 years, in Igboland, is worth celebrating being one of the greatest Igbo men that has ever lived.”

Nwamini disclosed that the celebration would be at Ojukwu’s residence in Enugu and would be hosted by MASSOB on behalf of the elderstatesman having given the organisation the permission. “However, it is not only MASSOB that would attend the occasion; most of the governors and socio-cultural groups would attend with a Church service to be officiated by the clergies including the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha. Other Pentecostal men of God will also grace the interdenominational Church service where prayers will be offered for his quick recovery.

The regional administrator said Ojukwu would have been there physically but due to some hiccups he would be unavoidably absent, adding that what motivated MASSOB to do this was because of the love the organisation had for him. He said, “we adore him, he is our mentor and he struggled for Biafra and we are building on his foundation and we felt that we can do this for him to appreciate his efforts and concern for Igbo affairs.”

Aware of the security implications, Nwamini said the organisation was aware that the Nigerian security would not be comfortable with MASSOB as they were always jittery and perturbed whenever MASSOB was having a programme, “but I want to emphasise that we are carrying out a non-violent struggle and have informed them about the programme to ensure that the atmosphere was peaceful.”