The death of the hero of Igbo cosmopolitan society and pilot of the modern Igbo project appears a raining storm that threatens an end laden in intricate controversies. Early indicators gleaned from the immediate family members and associated political personalities following the public announcement of the death of Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu Ezeigbo Gburugburu in London exposes an unadulterated glimpse into the complexities hidden neatly beneath the surface away from the public reach.
On the first level, 247ureports.com has gathered through an authoritative source that the burial date for Ezeigbo has yet to be finalized – that the publicly stated date of February 2nd 2012 was not entirely correct. The announced date of February 2nd 2012 was the date that the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan selected out of three dates given to him by the burial planning committee – as the most suitable for him to attend. It was further gathered that Ezeigbo may be buried before or after the 2nd of February 2012. The burial arraignments are still on the planning stages.
The announcement of the burial date by the chairman of the south east governor’s forum and governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi may have been premature. This is according to the titled personalities in Nnewi. 247ureports.com learnt that the appropriate personalities in Nnewi whom the corpse of Ojukwu belongs to have yet to be informed officially according to the customs of Nnewi of the death of Ezeigbo. Ezeigbo was a titled man.
In talking with the image maker of the Anambra State government, Hon. Maja Umeh, he clarified that the Governor had made wide consultations with many concerned groups before he make the public announcement. The Information Commissioner [Hon. Maja Umeh] continued to add that the burial of Ezeigbo is one that is large and mistakes of oversights are bound to happen. He extended the governor’s apologies to any group that may have been passed over during the consultations.
Nonetheless, the nuclei family of Ezeigbo, his children and siblings, has opted to take control of the burial arraignments away from the politicians. The family has set up an alternate burial arraignment committee headed by Ezeigbo’s elder brother, Dr. Joe Ojukwu. The family committee which is still to seat will be the body to set the program for the burial activities and the respective dates. It is anticipated that the family committee will seat over the Christmas period as all the family members return home for Christmas festivities.
Meanwhile there appears a possible nuisance and an imposter to the burial preparations – claiming the rights to the corpse of Ezeigbo. One Sylvester Ojukwu who claims to be the rightful first son of Ezeigbo has threatened lawsuit [court injunction] to halt the burial of Ezeigbo. Sylvester had filed a suit against the family in July of 2011 when it was rumored that Ezeigbo had passed. The lawsuit sought control of some of the belongings of Ezeigbo. But cursory investigation by 247ureports.com indicates Sylvester maybe onto mischief. It was gathered that Ezeigbo while alive made it clear that he was not the biological father to Sylvester – to the extent that Ezeigbo said it to Sylvester in public. Adding muster, during the burial of one of Ezeigbo’s wives, Sylvester arrived and proceeded to seat with the family of mourners [as a member of the family] but he was rebuffed by the entire family and told to go sit with the guests. And he did. But Sylvester has continued his effort to import his person into the Ezeigbo family and it remains a perplexing ordeal.
It was gathered that with the announcement of Ezeigbo’s death that Sylvester jetted off to London in attempts to secure Ezeigbo’s corpse only to discover that Ezeigbo [Jnr] and Gov Peter Obi had already secured his father’s corpse at a safe location unbeknownst to Sylvester.
On the political front, not all is well. The south east governor’s forum that is chaired by the governor of Anambra state that commandeered the control over all burial arrangements may have discovered it started off on a greasy foot –and may have found difficulty finding a credible standing. Following their first meeting held over the burial of Ezeigbo in Enugu, the south east governors elected to form a burial planning committee of which the chairman will be drawn from Imo State, a deputy chairman from Enugu State and a secretary from Anambra State. And the respective state governors will do the selecting.
But the selected choices by the governors have raised bitter concerns with groups involved in the burial arrangements.
The governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime selected Jim Nwobodo, the former governor of the old Anambra State as the nominee for the deputy chairman while the governor of Imo State selected Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu as the nominee for the chairman. Gov Peter Obi selected Senator Ben Obi as the nominee for the secretary.
Insiders involved in the burial arraignment express displeasure particularly over the selections presented by the Enugu State governor and the Imo State governor. They pointed to Chief Iwuanyawu’s historic antecedents as being heavily anti-Igbo oriented. A source amongst the south east governors whispered to 247ureports.com that Chief Iwuanyawu was responsible for a significant number of uncompleted federal projects in the south east – and is not worthy to chair the burial of Ezeigbo. This same sentiment is espoused over the selection of Jim Nwobodo because of his reported public lampooning of Ezeigbo on his return from exile. The then governor of the old Anambra [Jim Nwobodo] was said to have made it impossible for Ezeigbo’s senatorial bid to succeed.
The Ezeigbo family is expected to make public their own burial arrangements soon.