This great Hero lying before us today, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu
Ojukwu, is one of those rare enigmas, the discussion of which can
never be exhausted or caused to expire. The story of his life is actually a huge collection of stories. It is a massive montage and
kaleidoscope of dramatic and historic events.
Larger than life while alive and even more so, in death, Ojukwu is at
once, a historical and iconic personage, an enigma and myth who
bestrode his times like a colossus, and who responded to all emergent
circumstances in his environment with typical candour and valour.
There was the touch of the uncommon and sometimes, the unprecedented
in everything he did or had put his hand to – his background,
education, lifestyle, national service (civil and military),
leadership, his courage, his politics, his activism and so on.
A man of many perceptions, yet always one with a good cause. Ojukwu
was born a King, lived like a King and died a King. At the same time,
he devoted his might and resources to fight for the welfare of the
He was thus a Hero for his people and for millions of others around
the world who readily identified and still identify with his
philosophy, his doctrine and his attitude all of which were driven by
a burning desire to obtain the happiness and security of the
In reality, published literature, pictures, works of art and the many
great speeches that have been and will still be made about him, can only capture but a snippet of what and who this great man was and what
he represented for the Igbo people, the people of Eastern Nigeria, the
people of Nigeria, the people of Africa and indeed, all the oppressed
peoples of the world.
We in Enugu state, understandably, feel more obliged than any other,
to take the leading role in his burial and funeral activities for the
simple reason that Enugu was and still is the capital of Eastern
It was also the city that Ojukwu, first as Governor of Eastern Region
and later as Head of State of the defunct Republic of Biafra, brought
international recognition to as a fortress of self reliance and
defence against oppression and genocide in Nigeria.
He also not only made Enugu his permanent abode but more importantly,
he took as wife, one of its finest daughters. He was indeed a worthy
in-law of Enugu people.
As his remains lie in state here today in Enugu, en route committal
to mother earth, the people of Enugu State, join the rest of the
world to give a rousing Hero’s salute to a man who, though may be dead
physically, will live forever in the scrolls of human history.
Our hearts go out to our daughter, his widow, Adaigbo Bianca Ojukwu,
his children and the entire Ojukwu family. We ask the Good Lord to
give them the fortitude to bear this great loss.
I wish on behalf of the people of Enugu State, to express our profound
gratitude to the President and Commander –in-Chief of the Armed Forces
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele
Jonathan, for not only ordering full military honours for our deceased
hero and approving this National burial/funeral ceremony in his honour
but also found time to be with us in this occasion.
Our gratitude also goes to everyone here who had, despite their other
pressing engagements, deemed it more paramount to join us today.
We also wish thank in a special way, the members of the Central
Organizing Committee and the Local Organizing Committee of this
ceremony, for the very excellent and terrific work they had done. We
must also thank all others who may have contributed in one way or
another to make this event an all round success.
We ask God to grant you all His journey mercies as you head for your
various destinations after this ceremony.
Finally, as the body of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu makes its
final journey to his home state and town for interment, we implore the
Almighty God to grant his soul eternal rest in His bosom. Amen
SULLIVAN I. CHIME
Governor, Enugu State