The problem with Ojukwu’s Will


One year after his father died and the mourning clothes removed at his country home in Nnewi, Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Jr) has opened up to the media about his family and late father, Ikemba Nnewi, who died on November 26, 2011, in a London hospital after a brief illness.

Ojukwu (Jr), who assumed the position of Diokpala (first son) in the family, told Sunday Sun exclusively in this interview all he wanted to say about his father’s Will, life without his father, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) crisis, and the Igbo leadership question, among other issues.

He spoke with DAVID ONWUCHEKWA in his home at Nnewi. Excerpts…

It’s one year since your father died, how is life with you and the entire Ojukwu family?

It has not been easy, but I have no choice than to carry on, to carry everybody along.  My father was larger than life.  Of course, when I saw him lying lifeless, it became obvious to me that I had suffered a great loss and you know ours is a big family with big challenges.  I pray God will give me the wisdom to bring peace and move the family forward. Like I said, a big vacuum has been created because my father was larger than life.

During the recent mass to mark the one year of his demise we had expected a large turnout of dignitaries, particularly Igbo leaders, but we didn’t see much of them.  What happened?

No, no.  I think there has been some confusion about what happened that day.  That day was not my father’s memorial service.  The family was just removing the mourning clothes, which we agreed we would do one year after his death.

We will still do a memorial service in March next year, a year after his burial.  It was not supposed to be a public event.

Immediately after the burial of your father there was an uproar in your family over the control of his companies and property, some of them started by your grandfather, Sir Louis.  Have those issues been resolved?

No, these issues have not been resolved.  First of all, it was inappropriate for such matter to have cropped up when one year had not even elapsed after my father’s death.  I think my father deserves that respect.  It was totally inappropriate for any discussion to be raised about that from any quarter.

Now that we have observed one year in his honour, some of these issues can be addressed.

In terms of property, the properties being discussed in the newspapers are Ojukwu Transport Company Limited properties.  Sir Odumegwu left behind certain things under his company, which has directors, and my father was one of them.  So, the properties do not belong to any particular individual.  They don’t belong to my father or any other person.  They belong to Ojukwu Transport Company Limited.

So, in terms of inheritance, those properties or assets that belong to Ojukwu Transport Company Limited are naturally not something that can be bequeathed to anybody.  The properties in question do not belong to my father.  They belong to the transport company and as such my father could not bequeath them to anybody.

The discussions should be about who are the members of Ojukwu Transport Company Limited, who are the directors, not about the properties because they belong to the company.

And remember that these properties were won through court judgment.  There was a judgment that stated clearly who the properties were handed over to.

Do you see the Will bringing back lasting peace in your family?

Lasting peace is something everybody wishes for.  Whether or not it can be achieved by reading the Will, I don’t know. By the way, I have not been invited or got any notice concerning reading of the Will.  It is just a rumour I hear from journalists.  I have not received any notice concerning reading of any Will.

But in any case, I know the lawyers will handle that at the appropriate time.  I don’t want to pre-empt anything because of the rumour making the rounds.  There is an office that handles such matters when someone passes on.  It is for them to invite family members in conjunction with the family lawyers.  I have not received any invitation and the family lawyers have not called me.  When the time comes I will attend or send representatives.  When we see what is written there, we will know whether it is the Will of my father.  If there is any problem, then we will handle it the proper way.  I know the Will was written many years ago and has been secured by the family lawyer, the one we know and recognize.  I don’t know this other Will people are talking about, where it is coming from, whether it is my father’s Will or not, but until we see it.

Lasting peace is not tied to a Will being read.  Peace among people is determined by their attitude towards one another.  Family problem comes from differences among individuals.  I don’t know why people talk about this Will as if it is something that is going to change one’s attitude.  When we talk about property and how to share it, it won’t change the attitude of people.  What is important is how to deal with one another in a lovely and friendly manner, forgive each other when we offend each other and find a way to live with each other.  It has absolutely nothing to do with reading of the Will.

The death of your father left a huge vacuum in the Igbo nation.  Do you think this vacuum would be filled soonest?

The struggles in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) right now and all these things, you know, means we cannot be talking about filling the vacuum now, until it is sorted out, that is, the issues with the governor, chairman of the party, and other major stakeholders.  All these things should be addressed first.  It is a pity that this matter has dragged to this extent.  There have been calls for negotiations and discussions to foster peace.   If you want to make peace, you should belong to neither side.  This peace process should not be open to too many people.  I call on the warring parties to find a way of bringing to an end their differences in the interest of the party, and to move it forward.  If this is not done quickly, we are going to leave a gap and allow other parties to take over where we may have already captured.

I was happy to see Governor Peter Obi and Chief Victor Umeh during the one year end of mourning, and Governor Rochas Okorocha, though Governor Okorocha sent his Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and explained to the family why he was absent.  It is an indication that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  There is hope. This crisis is not what my father would have wished.  It is just like a big family where the head of the house has gone and all his children begin to run amok.  I think we will find a way to resolve it, we don’t have any other option.

But, don’t you think there is need to restructure the party?

The party is a living thing, something that will always change.  So, when you say restructure, I don’t know what you mean.  But whether there should be changes, including change of leadership, because that’s where you are heading to, there are ways those things are done.  As long as things are being done the right way and not one side trying to dominate the other, or impose their ideas on the other, there is no problem with that.  A governor will not be a governor forever, and a chairman will not be a chairman forever, but the party remains, if not forever, at least, for a very long time.  The actors in the crisis should understand that they are temporary leaders or temporary servants and should put the people first.

There will always be change within a party so long as it takes normal process.  If party officials are elected and the time comes for another election and all the rules and regulations are adhered to, there will be no problem.  The problem happens when, perhaps, there are hitches in the process or somebody is trying to effect a change without going through due process.  Some of these things crop up may be because of issues among individuals.

It needs to be remembered that people such as my father, not just him alone, fought and many lost their lives for Ndigbo, for instance, and it is our responsibility to ensure that APGA is made the vehicle through which we will make sure that Ndigbo remain politically relevant in the comity of the Nigerian nation.

APGA controls two South East states and we are supposed to advance to capture more, but if we are engulfed in in-fighting, it will be difficult to achieve that, which will create an opportunity for other political parties to take advantage of and take over the grounds we have already captured.

Sometime this year you were given a chieftaincy title, Ikemba II, at your maternal home.  Does that mean you are going to play all the leadership roles of your late father?

I find it funny when people talk about leadership, Igbo leadership.  You don’t call yourself a leader.  I have been saying this and I will continue to say it.  What you do is live by example and people will say, yes, you are worthy to lead them in one sphere or the other, or lead them all together.  My father didn’t wake up one day and made himself a leader.  My father risked his life, put in his money, stood up and defended the cause and interest of Ndigbo.  That was how he became a leader.  And that is why they loved him.  And in times of trouble, in times of crisis everybody looked up to him.  That’s why they loved him.

So, I reject the idea that because you are his son and because, maybe he gave you his title; that makes you an Igbo leader.  I don’t expect that because I’m Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (Jr), Ikemba II, and automatically everything is going to come to me.  I have to earn the respect by taking up challenges, making a difference in the lives of people.  That is how it begins.

The Federal Government gave your father a state burial, what else do you think the government should do to make him happy, particularly now that we are doing constitution review?

One of the main things I think, maybe I’m biased, because he was my father, is that he deserved an honour, the kind given to Martin Luther King in America for the role he played in this country in defence of people’s right.  Again, there is need to introduce literature about the life of my father into the school system for posterity.

You know, what happens is that when you lose the war, history will be one-sided.  Perhaps, some institutions should be renamed after him.

How is your relationship with your other siblings?

We have a good relationship.  We don’t have any issues.  My father was the leader of the family and anybody my father said was his child would be accepted as such.

You are not the first son of your father, how come you play the role of the first son?

In Igbo culture, the father has the right to determine who is Diokpala (first son), it is as simple as that.  And my father had done so.  And I’m the chosen one.


•This interview was conducted before the Will was read.

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    • Emeka jnr. which Igbo culture gives a man the right to choose among his sons the one to become diokpala when the first son is not incapacitated/mentally derailed? Ojukwu have sowed a seed of discord,you cant be sitting on someones birth right and expect other people to give you your own birth right,its simple,what goes around comes around.

  1. can ojukwu be known as a ‘role model’ and in what form?
    as he is called and known as a ‘warlord’ warlords can not be role models.
    this is a man with defiant behavior that started an avoidable war that consumed about 3 million lives.ojukwu was to be tried in IOC court and inprisoned period for commiting treson.

    what will the youths remember him as
    1) the man that started an avoidable war
    2) as a man that went against a State-Nigeria because he wanted to be the ruler
    3) a man that is blood-thirsty-warlord etc.
    4) his lifestyle

    my question is “who on EARTH would want his son to be and act like ojukwu?

    some people are loosing it.

    • Oduduwa, u cant be as renowed as a shadow of our Ikemba. I shud nt hv reply u dis, bt i feel somtimes nitwits like u need some education or perhaps a talkn to. Howeva, ur unguarded coment abt dis ROLE MODEL obviously sold to d whold d nadir of ur stark ignorance of dis COLOSSUS. U hv bn truly 4given by dis, bt go and read more of him, ok.

    • Ojuckwu fought the right battle ever, even though the hausa(muslims) used the federal government of nigeria against him(as they are currently using the same tactics against the largely non-muslim Plateau State people). The root cause of the civil is still being toyed about, however, let what is going on in Plateau State sends the correct signal to the nigerian people. Ojuckwu saw how islamization of the country was a mandate by the muslim north and the revengeful spirit in them that Nzeugwu killed Sardauna in the 1966 coup. The muslims then harnessed the machineries of the FG to wipe out the Igbo. Of course, not only the Igbos would die, the so-called non-muslims would die along! Ojuckwu must be thanked far more than Yakubu Gowon, who up to date, does not know the highest inention of the muslims against his people on the Plateau!!

  2. Interesting problem for the Ojukwu family, but from this will Bianca has fired the first shot. Ojukwu could not have written such a will to cause commotion in a family. This will is the doing of an immature fool who is misguided and believes all the other children are stupid. Somehow giving a hotel that has already been sold, to someone named Teni Hamman who may or may not exist, it was anticipated that with the proceeds from the sale of the hotel in the bank, Bianca would get it all. The whole thing stinks, I for one cannot believe the Ikemba would stoop so low as to cause disharmony in death. Why do something that will end up contested in a court of law? Think about it, someone is trying to manipulate the system to their benefit. This may become a stain on Ojukwu rather than a slam dunk for Bianca to inherit the bulk of his estate. Her sons are now at war with their other siblings, and Bianca better hope she can live forever.

  3. ODUDUWA USA, let it be known to you that your late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, having failed to rule Nigeria twice, died from Malign Essential Hypertension. You might find it interesting to know also that Awolowo was a criminal, who in concert with northern criminal elements, stole from Ndi Igbo after the war to enrich his Yoruba clan. He died a mere Federal Commissioner without being able to rule Nigeria, as he was promised by Gowon. He was not given a state burial when he died by the same northern masters he had served and kissed their asses during the war. What a shame! Moreover, his Yoruba brother, Aremu didn’t want to deal with the criminal Awolowo, when he handed over the presidency to Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979. If I may ask you, Oduduwa USA: are the Yorubas better off than the Igbos in the present day Nigeria, even though the sum of twenty pounds was given to the Igbo man and his family, after the war, irrespective of how much he had in the bank prior to the war? Yorubas have always been jealous of the Igbos. I won’t be surprise, if your mother has seven children for seven different men. Ewu Yoruba. On a last note, your Yoruba icon, Chief Awolowo was not on the same pace with Eze Gborugboru Ndi Igbo, Ikemba Nnewi, Gen. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and never would be. Ojukwu was larger than life. Don’t you mind, when the time comes, we shall see whose balls are harder between the Igbos and Yorubas. Onye ofe nmanu. Ewu.

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  6. i am not in support of using any other male child as first son except the first male issue of the family. And is not obtainable anywhere in igbo nation. It is a tabool to do such, lets not cause God to Provocation.

  7. It takes a lot to be a great man,as long as nig is concern our constitution does not prohibit a man from marrien as many wife as he want as long as he can take care of them,also is one of the thing that made him great man,mr oduduwa usa or what ever you call yourself those days nobody goes to war with intention of death,if biafran had won,today u wouldnt had made that comment you made against southern suddan achieve there goal after loset of life,in such strugle there must be lost of life.

  8. @Daniel: there’s No Smoke without fire. Gen Ojukwu is a wise man, have u forgotten he was Jewish – Nigeria? Are u a Jewish – Nigeria, u will understand what i talking about. Disobedient Son, Think About it, Don’t Ask Why (DSTAIDW).

  9. Nigerians are too tribalistic. Ethnicity is the order of the day in a shattered nation like Nigeria. The Only hope common Man South-east is BIAFRA( the state of the rising sun)

  10. If actually the first son is stripped of his heir rights and bequeated same on a junior, then the man acqually ignited the fire that is consuming the family. If the foundation is wrong, every other ensuing things won,t be right either.

  11. It is time 4 ikemba family,to exhibit and maintain d prestigious position which their father held in igbo land, and in Nigeria in general,by amicably and skillfully handle their differences without giving room to external forces to come in.

  12. mr. Oduduwa, u are entile to ur own opinion and thought but be careful 4 men who are too fast to make such a nasty and an unguarded statement like u end up regreting bcos dey started what dey cannot continue or finish. Incase, u don’t knw, ojukwu did not engage himself in a war bcos of selfish interest but for d cause of his ppl (Ndigbo). A man who could not stand d injustic, marginalization, humiliation meted on his ppl. What other tin do u need to know that indeed he is a hero. Or are u blind to what is happening in our country today. D warlord may have surrender and even pass way but on daily bases ndigbo kip sacrifying their blood 4 d cause of peace and freedom and we are sure dat labour and blood of ds our hero’s shal not be in vain. For d indifferent oduduwa, i wonder what ur fate wil be den.

  13. Well i dot blame you oduduwa or whatever you iyawo mi osohodi , iyawo mi yaba, iyawo mi surulere,and so on no yoruba man dead or living can be compair to EZE IGBO worldwide it has always being the stock in trade of the oduduwas to play fooly very soon thet will regreat what their awo did…….IGBO KWENU

  14. Bia Oduduwa USA or wat do u call ur self, if u’re really in USA i think u shuld be on ur way bak to ur Yoruba cunning, cursed & foolish pple b’cos u’ve lost ur sense of just judgement. Anyway i know fools like u cannot cross d sures of Nigeria; i know its mere Abbreviation. B’cos pple over dea cannot come on a newspaper page nd append USA on dea name; shall Azubuike has said it all & its befitting 2 u. Fool u dey list his fault 4 us, who ask u?


  16. Polygamy is very bad. Izukanma na nneji. Woman power too much o! Anything can happen o! Disinheriting a first child for what ever reason mmmmmm, I don’t know! Nso ani!

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