Sunday, November 26, 2023 4:12 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Twelve years after Igbo leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu died in the United Kingdom on 26 November 2011, after a brief illness, memories of him are still etched in the minds of his loved ones
And to mark this year’s Ojukwu Memorial Day 2023, which holds in Owerri on Sunday 26 November 2023 and dedicated to former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Ambassador Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, Nigeria’s former ambassaor to Spain has penned an emotional message to celebrate the life and times of this great man.
In that message, entitled “What Goodluck Jonathan Did”, which was posted on her Facebook page on Sunday 26 November, she expressed her appreciation to Jonathan, for his acts of kindness to the late Igbo leader both in life and death.
Among other things, Bianca started dishing out the many unforgettable things Jonathan did to her husband by saying that when after the late Igbo leader “suffered a stroke in September 2010, Jonathan in addition to dispatching medical personnel, flew down from Abuja to Enugu, sat by his bedside, and together with Prof Ike, his physician, prayed fervently for him.
“When he was flown abroad for emergency medical intervention, President Jonathan it was, who sent periodic ‘get well’ messages, and state officials every other month, starting with Hon. Idi Hong ( minister of state for health at the time) to meet with physicians and medical personnel at the London hospitals to check on his progress…”
Read the full message below.
WHAT GOODLUCK JONATHAN DID….
This year’s Ojukwu Memorial Day 2023, is a Tribute edition. As we converge from all walks of life at Owerri today for the celebration of the life and times of this great man, the central theme of Today’s event is gratitude . This edition is dedicated to an uncommon leader, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was Godsent in the twilight of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s times on earth.
When Ojukwu suffered a stroke in December 2010, President Jonathan, in addition to dispatching medical personnel, flew down from Abuja to Enugu, sat by his bedside, and together with Prof Ike, his physician, prayed fervently for him. When he was flown abroad for emergency medical intervention, President Jonathan it was, who sent periodic ‘get well’ messages, and state officials every other month, starting with Hon. Idi Hong ( minister of state for health at the time) to meet with physicians and medical personnel at the London hospitals to check on his progress.
His wife, and the Nation’s First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan was a boulder of strength and hope with her consoling counsel and her prayers. She visited me time and time again in sympathy and solidarity…our Dame, May God bless you abundantly…
When Dim Ojukwu passed away in the early hours of November 26th 2011, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan deployed all necessary efforts towards state preparations, and towards ensuring the necessary formalities and every assistance required from our Embassy in London, with Ambassador Dalhatu Tafida as its High Commissioner and Ambassador Dozie Nwanna as deputy head of mission, was assured.
Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was accorded a Superlative Burial fit for a Warrior King, starting with a Military Ceremony on the grounds of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and a series of funeral events across 28 states of the federation, with lying in state ceremonies in all states of the South East, not to mention funeral masses and events in over 80 countries of the world.
It is to the credit of President Goodluck Jonathan, and his compassionate wife, Dame Patience, who not only threw their weight behind this unprecedented undertaking, but participated fully in the events, all the way down to Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s ancestral home at UmuDim, Nnewi for the final burial rites.
Till date, it is on record that No other individual in this nation’s history has ever received a funeral of the nature of the pomp, splendour and circumstance as was accorded Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
It was Ojukwu who once said,
‘ …for what is the measure of our humanity? How firm is our love and commitment to our fellow man, our neighbour?
The life of a man is sacred; his death, even more so,
Every civilization will ultimately be measured by the discharge of it’s debt of decorum to the departed;
For in death is man at his most vulnerable state;
It’s noblest parting gift remains nothing other than Dignity…’
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Igbo Nation remains indebted to you. That you were able to accord this unprecedented honour and care to our icon and our hero, regardless of tribe or creed, under a leadership uncontaminated by the prejudices of the past speaks volumes of your mettle.
Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu indeed was blessed to encounter a brother across the Niger at that bridge between life and death, and of a truth, you bestowed, not only upon him, but upon the entire Igbo Nation, that parting gift of dignity at their icon’s most vulnerable moments. Your soothing balm spread across the grief of a people.
The Roman philosopher, Cicero it was, who said that ‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others….’
Dr Jonathan, Ndigbo are a grateful nation. We deeply appreciate these precious gestures towards our beloved hero, in life, and in death. it shall always be well with you and your family ; history will be kind to you, and the prayers of the entire nation will always go with you….May Your shadow never grow dim.
Today, on another anniversary of the transition unto greater glory of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, we pray God to continue to rest his soul.
To you, again we say Thank You. We shall never forget.
Iyom Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu
26th November 2023