“My husband, my brother, my friend, my child” – Read Bianca’s gripping tribute to Ojukwu

by Lekan Olanrewaju

“You span the breadth of human experience – full of laughter, joy, kindness”.

“You were the father any child would dream of having”.

“I was your queen, and it was an honour to have served you.” 

These are a few quotes from Bianca Ojukwu’s tribute to her husband, the late Biafra leader, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Read more below:

How do I sum up 23 years in one page? I don’t know. How do I describe you? I cannot. Not in any depth. Not for anybody else – you were my husband, my brother, my friend, my child. I was your queen, and it was an honour to have served you.

You were the lion of my history books, the leader of my nation when we faced extinction, the larger-than-life history come to,  my life – living, breathing legend. But unlike the history books, you defied all preconceptions. You made me cry from laughter with your jokes, many irreverent. You awed me with your wisdom. You melted my heart with your kindness. Your impeccable manners made Prince Charming a living reality. Your fearlessness made you the man I dreamt of all my life and your total lack of seeking public approval before speaking your mind separated you from mere mortals.

Every year that I spent with you was an adventure – no two days were the same. With you, I was finally able to soar on wings wider than the ocean. With you I was blessed with the best children God in heaven had to give. With you, I learnt to face the world without fear and learnt daily the things that matter most. Your disdain for money was novel – sometimes funny, other times quite alarming. It mattered not a whit to you. Your total dedication to your people – Ndi-Igbo – was so absolute that really, very little else mattered. You never craved anybody’s praise as long as you believed that you were doing right and even in the face of utmost danger, you never relented from speaking truth to power – to you, what after all, was power? It was not that conferred by the gun, nor that stolen from the ballot box. No. You understood that power transcended all that. Power is the freedom to be true to yourself and to God, no matter the cost.

It is freedom from fear. It is freedom from bondage. It is freedom to seek the wellbeing of your people just because you love them. It is the ability to move a whole nation without a penny as inducement nor a gun to force them. When an entire nation can rise up for one person for no other reason than that they love him and know he is their leader – sans gun, money, official title or any strange paraphernalia – that is power.

To try to contain you in words is futile. You span the breadth of human experience – full of laughter, joy, kindness and sometimes, almost childlike in your ability to find something good in almost everyone and every situation. You could flare up at any injustice and in the next instant, sing military songs to the children. You could analyse a situation with incredible swiftness and accuracy. In any generation, there can only be one like you. You were that one star. You were a child of destiny, born for no other time than the one you found yourself in. Destined to lead your people at the time total extinction was staring us in the face. There was no one else. You gained nothing from it. You used all the resources you had just to wage a war of survival. You fought to keep us alive when we were being slaughtered like rams for no reason. Today, we find ourselves in the same situation but you are not here. You fought that we might live. The truth is finally coming out and even those who fought you now acknowledge that you had no choice. For your faithfulness, God kept you and brought you home to your people.

You loved Nigeria. You spent so much of your waking moments devising ways through which Nigeria could progress to Tai-Two!!! You were the eternal optimist, always hoping that one day, God will touch His people and give us one Vision and the diligence to work towards the dream. It never came to pass in your lifetime. Instead, the disaster you predicted if we continued on the same path has come home to roost. You always saw so clearly. Your words are indelibly preserved for this generation to read and learn and perhaps heed and turn. You always said the dry bones will rise again. But you always hoped we would not become the dry bones by our actions. Above all, you feared for your own people, crying out against the relentless oppression that has not ceased since the end of the war and saddened by the acceptance of this position by your own people. In death, you have awakened the spirit that we thought had died. Your people are finally waking up.

At home, you were the father any child would dream of having. At no point did our children have to wonder where you were. You were ever at their disposal, playing with them, teaching them of a bygone era, teaching them of the world they live in and giving them the total security of knowing you were always present.

In mercy, God gave me a year to prepare for the inevitable. I could never have survived an instant departure. In mercy, God ensured that your final week on earth was spent only with me and that on your last day, you were back to your old self. I cannot but thank God for the joy of that final day – the jokes, the laughter, the songs. It was a lifetime packed into a few hours, filled with hope that many tomorrows would follow and that we would be home for Christmas. You deceived me. You were so emphatic that we would be going home. I did not know you meant a different home. The swiftness of your departure remains shocking to me. You left on the day I least expected. But I cannot fight God. He owns your life and mine. I know that God called you home because every other time it seemed you were at death’s door, you fought like the lion that God made you and always prevailed. In my eyes, even death was no match for you. But who can say ‘no’ to the Almighty God? You walked away with Him, going away with such peace that I can only bow to God’s sovereignty. Your people have remembered. The warrior of our land has gone. The flags are lowered in your honour. Our hearts are laden with grief.

But I will trust that the living God who gave you to me will look after me and our children. Through my sadness, the memories will always shine bright and beautiful. Adieu, my love, my husband, my lion, Ikemba, Amuma na Egbe Igwe, Odenigbo Ngwo. Eze-Igbo Gburugburu, Ibu dike. Chukwu gozie gi, Chukwu debe gi. Anyi ga afu na omesia.

 

Colonel Ojukwu died in the UK last year after a long illness, aged 78. He was given full military honours at his burial following his official pardon.

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Comments (44)

  1. Queen Bianca,
    You said it all.Our mentor,leader,father figure may have died as a mortal ,but his vision is staring us in the face.He lives in our minds and shall never never be forgotten .your tribut is a must read.

  2. Wow! Lady Bianca, this is too much. I love this. You have really shown that you passed through Ikemba. May the Almighty God grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.

  3. Woah!!!!!!this is touching.Lady Bianca you are blessed amongst women.This write-up makes me love you the more.May God give you and your children the fortitude to bear this great loss.

  4. This is such a heart warming tribute to a great hero! Your demise has created an irreplaceable loss in the life of Ndigbo. "Eze igbo gburugburu" May your soul rest in Peace.

  5. This is invigoratingly interesting and well tailored tribute. I almost cried at some point, Ikemba is my role model and the wife is well schooled on the trajectory of Ndigbo. There are no comparison within his contemporaries and he is a rare iconic manifestation of God's design. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

  6. OH MY GOD WOT AN INSPIRATIONAL LOVIN WOMAN,DEAR BIANKA MAY ALLMIGHTY GOD BLESS U MOOR ABOUNDATLY 4DIS N UR REWORD SHALL BE WAITING 4 U.

    I WAS TUCHED ESPECIALY WERE U CALLED HIM UR CHILD WE REALY NO WOT U MENT ONECE AGAIN GOD BLSS U.

  7. That was an eloquent eulogy to the true Eze Ndi Igbo and a husband;He was my idol,so selfless in service. May his soul rest in peace.Bianca I'm so proud of you too, to have stood by him.God bless you and the children;give you the fortitude to bear the great loss.

  8. Bianca is a loyal and noble woman. And erudite too.

  9. We realy miss you our belove brother the God of war may the good lord countunious gand u in ur grave.may God sholl us another way.

  10. Ooooh my God, this is touching. It started well and ended so well though if not not death,I know you would have loved him more to live longer but God knows best.cos he's the one who give and the one who choose to take away too. Thank God you where by his side all day even the day he died to glory, if not you would have been more devastating, take heart Aunty B… The blessings of the Lord will be with you and your children.. Life continues Sis.

  11. what else can I say….Lady Bianca has poured out her whole heart in expression of deep intimacy shared with her God given late husband – The great Iroko of all times, the Lion himself, kwe ndi kwe ndi, odum egwu, the fearless tiger, an Icon, a good man, the pride of the Easthern Nigeria, Dike eji eje mba! Life oh life, Ojukwu came, saw and conquered! His records are on the sands of timeI salute him

  12. What a beautiful tribute to a loving husband.We all missed him,a lot of us disagreed with his believes then,but sadly,we waited for over forty years to see what the great leader saw then,today,we are wishing we could turn back the hand of time.One thing for sure is that it can never happen again,but even if it happens,as an Ijaw son,i know it will never be business as usual,i hope the real enemies of this country are listening,those who's business has always been to divide and rule us like slaves.A word is enough for the wise.

  13. Such beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Its shows how dedicated Ikemba was to his family and clan.

  14. our great father may ur soul rest in peace. I thank God for giving u a woman who is beautiful in face,body and soul. She is my living heroness now. The memory of our great father will always live.

  15. She pre-deceased him…maybe that is why she has not been mentioned.

  16. Where does his first wife feature in all these accolade, being the one who bore him his heir? No disrepect, just saying

  17. This is simply legendary! Indeed, I say that because I could not readily think of a more profound epithet. Queen Bianca, know that you are a phenomenon of love, honour and nobility. A great pride to Nigeria and, doubtless, Africa. Anywhere, any time mention is made of love, honour and nobility, you must always get a robust and generous mention if only on account of your alluring, terriffic and serenading tribute to an icon that your husband was.You have become, for me, a metaphor for brain and beauty of the rarest hue. You have admirably demonstrated vide your tribute that true love is not the exclusive preserve of Arabian tales or folkores. Beyond the betrayal of the romantic counterpane your marriage must have been ensconced in, the tribute has tellingly showcased the profundity of your intellectual worth. Your being tells of a most enviable and elegant synergy between beauty and brain. Without any polemics, you are a true amazon. May the heavens imbue you with the fortitude to bear your situation and grant the soul of the Ikemba, an eternal peaceful repose.

  18. This is simply legendary! Indeed, I say that because I could not readily think of a more profound epithet. Queen Bianca, know that you are a phenomenon of love, honour and nobility. A great pride to Nigeria and, doubtless, Africa. Anywhere, any time mention is made of love, honour and nobility, you must always get a robust and generous mention if only on account of your alluring, terriffic and serenading tribute to an icon that your husband was.You have become, for me, a metaphor for brain an of the rarest hue. You have admirably demonstrated vide your tribute that that true love is not the exclusive preserve of Arabian tales or folkores. Beyond the betrayal of the romantic counterpane your marriage must have been ensconced in, the tribute has tellingly showcased the profundity of your intellectual worth. Your being tells of a most enviable and elegant synergy between beauty and brain. Without any polemics, you are a true amazon. May the heavens imbue you with the fortitude to bear your situation and grant the soul of the Ikemba, an eternal peaceful repose.

  19. Woah. I have seen and read many tributes and eulogies in my days, but never one like this. I must confess that as I was one of those who questioned your marriage on account of age difference. I also confess here that I have eaten the humble pie. This eulogy could not have come from anywhere else but the depth of the heart. Thank you for teaching me that love transends all boundaries including age. Thank you for being resolute and following the path you had charted. Thank you for being a friend, lover, Wife and confidant to my hero. Most of all, thank you for this eulogy that for me, has shattered the glass ceiling. May the powerful and congenial soul of my hero, your husband and friend rest in perfect peace, Amen.

  20. A nice tribute,,,,,,,,may his gentle soul rest well…….

  21. Men are mere mortals,and can be filled with love.

  22. God Bless u Bianca, u r a God Gift to Eze IGBO gburugburu

  23. Sooo sweet and touching, i really feel for you. May his soul rest in peace.

  24. Soo sweet and touching,i really feel for you. May his soul rest in peace.

  25. Bianca, i love your braveness. In summery this is all that started well, that ended well though you would have loved him to live longer God knows best. Thank God you where by his side the day he died, if not you would have been more devastating, take heart my sister. The blessings of the Lord will be with you and your children.

    The piece is heart touching and from a loving wife who will miss her husband a great deal.

    We have lost a hero, i remember so many years ago i visited you Ikoyi home, how both of you played like sister and brother, i was so torched. May his soul rest in peace.

  26. Age isnt a factor in marriage. Your happiness, joy & peace of mind with your partner are more important in one's choice of a life partner. Bianca, you are a legend.

  27. May your gentle soul rest in the bossom of the Lord. You were indeed a rare gem؛.. Adiu Eze ndi Igbo!

  28. God blesssss u BIANCA………..i wept on dat day seriously and may my GREAT GOD protect his soul for his people and for the biafrans xpecially

  29. This is a great write-up. May the soul of Ikemba of Ndigbo and Nnewi rest in peace. Adieu.

  30. may his gentle soul rest with the Lord.

  31. The most powerful of all eulogies i've read in the past 23 years!!

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