BIAFRAN war veterans, Friday, disagreed with some Nigerians who claim that the former Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared war on Nigeria, saying that Ojukwu only fought in defense of the former Eastern region.
They maintained that Ojukwu declared the Biafran republic in response to the endless massacre of people from the former Eastern Nigeria, particularly the Igbo, by their northern counterparts.
Recalling what they regarded as the accurate history of the civil war, the veterans said that it was the then Nigeria Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon that declared war on the Eastern region in order to force the region back to Nigeria, which Ojukwu stoutly resisted.
The former Biafran soldiers further said that it was the people of the Eastern region who pressured Ojukwu to declare the state of Biafra principally due to the pogrom against the easterners living in the north.
Retired Col. Paul Udeh, Commander of Biafran war veterans, who led the former Biafran soldiers on a condolence visit to Ojukwuâ€™s residence in Enugu, expressed regrets over the demise of the Ikemba Nnewi saying it was people like him who could not contain the injustice and blood letting against Ndigbo that compelled Ojukwu to declare the republic of Biafra, stressing that people should stop falsifying the facts of history.
After signing the register and conducted a brief military parade, the former military officers, declared that the demise of Ojukwu was a great loss to the Ndigbo and Africa in general, stressing that the vacuum created by the late Igbo leader would be difficult to fill.
While praying God to grant Ojukwuâ€™s C soul eternal rest, Col. Udeh however, called on Ndigbo to use his death to unite themselves.
Also speaking after paying a condolence visit to Ojukwuâ€™s residence yesterday, Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah said that the only honour Ndigbo would bestow on Ojukwu was to continue with the virtue and the dream he had for his people.
The oil magnate said: â€œI am saddened by the death of the icon and an iroko. I can only promise that by the grace of God, we will uphold the virtues and the dream you have for our people and it shall manifest in our lifetime.â€
In the same vein, a former member of the House of Representatives, Prince U.S.A Igwesi described Ojukwuâ€™s death as a great loss for Ndigbo saying the vacuum he has left would be difficult to fill.
Igwesi who is also called Ikemba Enugu, told reporters that the passing on of the elder statesman has indeed created a wide gap in the leadership of the Igbo nation.
He noted that the contribution of the late Ikemba Nnewi towards the emancipation of Igbo race would remain indelible in the hearts of Ndigbo, calling on all to take active part in his funeral which is yet to be fixed.
Igwesi expressed support for the resolution of the National Assembly seeking the Federal Governmentâ€™s immortalization of Ojukwu saying no honour would be too much for the ex-Biafran warlord.
He commiserated with Ndigbo all over the world over the death of Ojukwu just as he commended his widow, Mrs Bianca for her strong support for Ikemba throughout the trying period.