•Says document is genuine
By DAVID ONWUCHEKWA, Nnewi
The controversial Will of the late Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu which was read last Friday at the Probate Registry of the Enugu State High Court has been described as sacrosanct by Chief Emeka Onyemelukwe, the family lawyer. Chief Onyemelukwe disclosed this yesterday in Enugu when he told reporters that he was the personal lawyer, close associate and confidant of the late leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ezeigbo gburu gburu who died in a London hospital on November 26, 2011. He said the clarification became necessary in view of what he described as some uncomplimentary reports attributed to some members of the Ojukwu dynasty including one of the sons, Emeka Jnr.
He said the Will was registered in the Enugu High Court on July 9, 2005, while the codicil which was to give details and correct any mistakes in the Will, was dated December 16, 2009. Tendering various documents, most of them legal papers and court briefs and motions where he was copiously authorized and mandated to draft, sign and or represent the late sage in courts and at other such important occasions, Onyemelukwe said that he had been close to the Ikemba since his return from exile in Cote d’ Ivoire many years ago.
He said virtually all Ojukwu’s legal papers remained in his custody till date, including those properties and chattels willed to Emeka Jnr, who he said now claimed he never knew him as his father’s lawyer. He described Ojukwu Jnr’s assertion that he did not know him as unfortunate, “even when I was the Master of Ceremony at his wedding to the daughter of Chief Cyprian Ekwensi, the late literary giant, in the early 90s”.
The lawyer also debunked Emeka’s claim that Bianca, Ojukwu’s widow, apparently had a fore knowledge of the contents of the Will “when she sent some aides to remove her personal belongings from the Nnewi house that was eventually Willed to him ahead of the disclosure last Friday, November 30, 2012.”
He alleged that ahead of the November 25, 2012 family thanksgiving at Nnewi, Bianca sent some of her aides to clean the house but were seized and beaten up mercilessly and detained, further alleging that it took the intervention of the extended Ojukwu family and other illustrious sons of Anambra who sued for peace.
“So, immediately after the event, she decided to move her belongings to another of the many other buildings within the premises, to avert further crisis and show of shame,” he said. He said that Mark Ezemba, one of the witnesses to the Will, was Ojukwu’s Bestman during his wedding with Bianca, while Justice Iguh was chairman at the wedding reception of Ojukwu Jnr. Onyemelukwe insisted that no other person knew or saw any of the contents of the Will before it was read last week, adding that in the course of drawing up the Will he reminded Ikemba on about two occasions to remember his son, Emeka.
That Ikemba said he had already handed over to him a money spinning multi-storey building with shops and offices known as 26, Sokoto Rd, adjacent to Onitsha Main Market to him, just as he had bequeathed 7 Forrest Crescent, Ekulu GRA, Enugu and the other property at Jabi, Abuja as gifts to Bianca.
That the late Ikemba said since he gave all his older children the best of foreign education possible, he made it possible to give the younger ones from Bianca similar opportunity. Counterring the claim that Emeka was not informed about the date for the reading of the Will, Onyemelukwe tendered three text messages hesent to Emeka’s three active telephone lines which read: “The Will is to be read at the High Court, Enugu, at 8.30am, note the change of time, which was due to other engagements of the Chief Registrar…”, “Please, remember the reading of your late father’s Will on Friday, Nov 30, 2012 at 10am, at the Probate Registry, High Court, Enugu. Kindly inform your brother Okigbo and Mimi”, “Emeka, please, be informed that your father’s Will will be read on Nov 30, 2012.” Again he explained that because he (Ojukwu) did not allegedly know about the existence of Debe until one day on his return from exile, one man came to his house to tell him he is his son.
Shocked as he would have been, he inquired of his mother, by the man Chukwudebe (aka) Debe, said she was dead. That she hailed from Udi, but married and died in Ezeagu, Enugu state. He therefore asked him to go and bring his alleged mother’s family members or relations.
He left and never came back till date. That was why Ojukwu listed his children without his mention Onyemelukwe said Tenni Hamman who studied abroad and is still there, was born of a mother “from North-Eastern Nigeria”, while Njideka gave him Emeka, Okigbo and Mimi. Angela Onyeador gave him Ebele, another daughter. Bianca gave him Chineme, Afam and Nwachukwu.