Lagos â€“ Prominent Igbo leaders, including Chief Jim Nwobodo, Chief Mike Okiro, Chief Maxi Okwu and Dr Orji Kalu on Saturday described the death of Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu as the â€œ fall of an Iroko treeâ€™â€™.
In a telephone interview Sen. Nwobodo, a former governor of old Anambra and ex-minister of sports said: â€œA great Iroko has fallenâ€™â€™.
â€œThe Igbos have lost an Iroko tree. Ojukwuâ€™s death is a loss to Nigeria and to Ndigbo.â€™â€™
Nwobodo said that the death came as a shock, because in spite of his illness, one expected that he would have recovered.
He prayed to God to give the family and Ndi Igbo the fortitude to bear the loss.
In his reaction, Chief Maxi Okwu, the presidential candidate of the Citizens Popular Party in 2007, said: â€œLike a comet that streaks through the skyâ€, Ikemba came and blazed the trail for justice, equality and emancipation.
â€œOkeosisi Adago, the great Iroko has fallen.â€
Okwu lamented that there would not be another person like the Ikemba, who staked all he had including his life for the Igbos.
â€œI served as a boy-soldier in the Biafran Army. Ikemba was a Peoples General who led from the front and the rear.â€
Also speaking, Chief Mike Okiro, a former Inspector General of Police, described Ojukwuâ€™s death as a great loss to the Igbos.
â€œOjukwu was a symbol of Igboland and a symbol of struggle against marginalisationâ€™â€™ Okiro said in a telephone interview.
In his reaction, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, the former governor of Abia, said that â€œOjukwuâ€™s death extinguishes a great light for the Igbos.â€™â€™
Kalu, who spoke through his Director of Media, Mr Emeka Obasi, said that Ojukwuâ€™s death was a very sad moment for Nigeria.
â€œOjukwu was born a Nigerian, he died a Nigerian and the Igbos would never forget his contributions to their well- beingâ€.
Alhaji Fuad Adeyemi, Chief Imam, Al-Habibiyyah Mosque, Abuja, described as shocking the death of ex-Biafran warlord, Chief Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.
Adeyemi on Saturdayd said that his death should serve as a lesson to Nigerians, especially the leaders.
The Imam described Ojukwu as a hero who contributed to the development of the nation notwithstanding some of his flaws.
â€œThis is a very shocking development and this shows that God can take our lives at any time he desires.
Ojukwu was a hero who contributed to national development not withstanding some of his flaws,â€ he said.
He urged Nigerian leaders to use his death to re dedicate themselves to peace and national development.
He said this was very instructive at a time like this when Nigerians are craving for peace and development.