(4th November 1933- 26th November 2011)
- Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was born in the northern part of Nigeria to a very rich father. His father was originally from Anambra state; this is located in the South Eastern region of Nigeria. The occupants of this region are predominantly Igbo.
- He attended Kings College Lagos briefly for his secondary school education. In 1944 he assaulted a colonial teacher (British man) for disgracing a black woman. He left for England at 13 where he attended Epsom College and later Oxford University.
- He joined the Nigerian army in 1957 after returning to Nigeria in 1956 with a master’s degree in history. In 1958 he received his commission form Eaton hall in England as a 2nd Lieutenant . He was later assigned to the Army’s fifth battalion in Kaduna. At this time Nigeria was still under colonial rule and only 15 out of 250 officers were Nigerian.
- In 1964 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was placed in charge of the fifth battalion in Kano State.
- In 1966 he was appointed as the military governor in charge of Eastern Nigeria. This is under Aguyi Ironsi, Nigeria’s first military president. On the 29th of July 1966 there was a mass killing of Igbo’s (South Easterners) in the North by the northerners. This was in retaliation of the coup that happened earlier in 1966, which placed Ironsi as head of state.
- On the 30th of May 1967, Ojukwu declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign state called The Republic of Biafra, with himself as president. On the 6th of July 1967, the president of Nigeria at that time (Yakubu Gowon) declared war of Biafra.
- The Biafra war went on for 30 months. Ojukwu and Gowon did not have a good relationship even before the Biafra war. There was a lot of starvation in Biafra and this severely affected the children. A lot of the children suffered from Kwashiorkor.
- In January 1970, after it was clear he had been defeated, Ojukwu handed over to his vice president and left for Ivory Coast where the president (Felix Houphouet-Boigny) granted him political Asylum. He returned to Nigeria, 13 years later.
- He was welcomed by the people of Nnewi (his hometown) and given a chieftaincy title. He dabbled into politics after his return but he was but his political career did not takeoff as expected. He was arrested alongside other politicians in 1984 under the rule of General Muhammadu Buhari. He was released shortly since there were no grounds for his arrest. He played a major role in Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 and he contested as a presidential candidate under All Progressives Grand Alliance.
- He married Bianca Onoh in 1994; the couple had 3 children. He died at 78 from a brief illness. He was awarded the highest military accolade by the Nigerian Army.
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