The bubble blew two days ago and we all came out to take orders and assume various command roles. It was then that it was announced that the General has reshuffled responsibilities having decided to change guard & roles now as an ancestor.
What a triumphant change of guard? I was ‘corrupted’ too early concerning the Biafran history by my father. Apart from the main Hero of the struggle- Dim Gen Ojukwu whom he regarded as a comet, two other names that stuck to my memory at the age of six were Gen Achuzia & the young Onwuatuegwu. You can appreciate how I felt when I was invited to a meeting at the Igbozurume unity centre by October 2012 to meet the man who had become a meteor & an enigma of a sort to the Biafran people. He sat on the chair and was introduced as Col Achuzia.
I had attended the meeting with my kindred spirit Evang. Joseph Agbo who lost his emotion when he almost injured the General as he embraced him amidst tear of joy & shouting. The Gen was calm & appreciative of our encomiums. Consequently he called us to his office upstairs for a relationship that would blossom up till now. We swiftly booked an appointment for his country home ASaba.
Ever since, it has become a voyage. It was this meeting that saw to the usage of Igbozurume unity hall for the colloquium and the formation of ADF. It was this same meeting that birthed my joining the train of the attendees of the court case that was filed at Owerre seeking for Biafra independence. From that period till now, I have cause to write volume on the Air Raid. For this reason, I will mention about three. First I have never seen a loyal friend as him. He had told me how he met Gen Ojukwu at Kings college Lagos & how Ojukwu’s relocation to London forced him to go to London also. On one occasion when I told him that he should no longer be addressed as a colonel, he agreed only on the condition that Dim Ojukwu will be addressed as a Field Marshal as he would never share the same rank with his commander that he would always address as Emeka. He described Dim Ojukwu’s passage as a change of guard. He equally told me that it was ‘Emeka’s’ influence that made him to take the Olinzele title of Ikemba.
Second, it was Gen Achuzia who assured me that Biafra was never defeated in the war, hence the no victor, no vanquished end of the war. I then asked him about his role & involvement in the war as a field officer & His alleged invincibility. He told me that the genocide meted to Asaba people on October 12, 1967 apart from his relationship with Dim Ojukwu and the killing of the omu Asaba at the time were all the sources of motivation for his exploits.
After the death of the Omu, he had to perform the traditional rites of becoming invincible by invoking the ‘gods’ of Asaba to guide his revenge of the pogrom of Asaba people. The gods answered him. The third thing that I want to remember him for was what transpired during the preparation of the Igbozurume report for the Okoronmu panel. The Igbozurume had wanted to write its own paper and the Gen came to the unity centre. The preparation of the paper took more time than required such that we were all awake until 3 am & he was making his inputs.
He could not take his bath & was there the following day until the presentation of the report at Villa Toscana hotel Enugu. I had entreated him to go home especially as he was not feeling so well but he calmly told be that he would rather die on duty than going home for people to stop us from presenting the report which would have been so without his presence. What a patriot! I recall on one of the visits when I had gone to his Asaba residence with Bishop Dr Obi Onubuogu to discuss certain issues on behalf of ADF, Onubuogu being one of Gen Ojukwu’s ADCs, they relished the good old history of the war.
This change of guard is a fulfilled one. You can see how Biafrans all over the world are celebrating your triumphant transformation. You will continue to live in our hearts.
May you find befitting helpers in the great beyond. Enyi ooo, Enyi anaa 3rice.
Chetakwamu Gen Ojukwu, Effiong, Onwuatuegwu, Achuzia etc
Dr Jerry Chukwuokolo