“Even those who dislike Ojukwu respected him” – Chimamanda Adichie


Photo credit: 247ureports

by Ahaoma Kanu

“I will remember how iconic he was during the Nigeria-Biafra war, his voice that meant so much to millions…”


Recently news that the award winning novel, ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ by Nigerian literal icon, Dr Chimamanda Adichie is being adapted into a movie made headlines.

The movie has already casted big Hollywood names like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dominic Cooper and Thandie Newton for different roles and Andrea Calderwood of “The Last King of Scotland and “Generation Kill” fame as joint producer with Gail Egan (Happy-Go-Lucky, The Constant Gardener).

In this exclusive interview with Ahaoma Kanu, Adichie talks about her excitement on the movie and also shared her tribute for the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.  

Congratulations on learning that your award winning novel, ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’, will soon be adapted into a film; how do you feel about this feat?

I generally prefer books to films but of course films have a much wider audience and I’m pleased at the prospect of a much wider audience for this story. 

A lot of big names in the international acting profession like Chinwetel Ejiofor and others are linked to the project, how involved will you be with the production?  

I am not at all involved with the production. The director Biyi Bandele is a person whose work I respect and admire. The book is mine; the film is his. I am sure that my characters and story will be treated with nuance and dignity in his hands. 

How does knowing the fact that Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is from your part of Nigeria, is part of the cast. Does this have a kind of relief that someone that is not too far from the soils on which Biafra happened will be in the film?  

I am a fan of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s work because he brings a wonderful humanity and complexity to his roles. And of course I am particularly proud that he is Igbo. 

How would you want to remember Dim. Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu? 

Even those who disliked Ojukwu still felt a reluctant respect for him, which I think is very telling. He was, in many ways, a remarkable man. I will remember how iconic he was during the Nigeria-Biafra war, his voice that meant so much to millions during the war. I will remember the loyalty he so easily commanded in the hearts of so many people years after the war. I will remember the story of his younger days and of his idealism and patriotism that is often overlooked or forgotten in the wrangling over war memories. I was very sad to hear of his death. He represents a generation that is passing on, an informed and engaged generation, and it is sad to see this generation go. May he rest in peace. 

Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, died in London on November 26. His body is set to arrive in the country from London on 27 February; the remains will be taken to Abuja, before arriving Enugu for an Inter-denominational church service and later to Awka, Anambra state for other burial activities.

The funeral ceremonies arranged by South East Governors in Enugu is scheduled for 1March.


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