Former Biafran leader and leader of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu is dead.
Thisday can confirm that he died late last night. He had been sick for a while and was receiving treatment at a united Kingdom (UK) hospital.More to follow . . .
Ojukwu was born in Zungeru, Northern Nigeria in 1933. His father, Sir Louis Phillipe Odumegwu Ojukwu was a wealthy businessman who made money from the transport industry. Ojukwu was sent to the UK at the age of 13 to study, first at Epsom College and later at Lincoln College, Oxford University where he earned a Masters degree in History.
Upon his return in 1956, he joined the civil service in then Eastern Nigeria. He would later leave the service to join the military, where he was one of the few university graduates.
Ojukwu was appointed Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria by Military Head of State, General Aguiyi Ironsi on January 17, 1966. By May of the same year, Nigeria was facing a serious crisis. A planned pogrom in Northern Nigeria targeting and killing South-easterners presented a problem. He made several assurances to the South-easterners about their safety but the crisis continued. In May 1967, he declared Eastern Nigeria a Sovereign State named Biafra.
In July, 1967, then Head of State Yakubu Gowon declared war on Biafra. A civil war ensued. The war raged on for another 30 months. An attempt at peace during a meeting at Aburi, Ghana did not stop the war. In 1970, Ojukwu handed over power to his deputy Major-General Phillip Effiong and left the country to avoid assassination. He was granted political asylum in Cote D'Ivoire by President Felix HouphÃ¶et-Biogny.
The civilian President of Shehu Shagari granted him an official pardon and he returned in 1982 after 13 years in exile. Ojukwu would later go into politics, forming the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). He was an active member until his death.