by Emmanuel Obe
The vice-presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 election, Pastor Tunde Bakare, and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, were among top members of the party that visited Nnewi on Friday to condole with the family of the late Biafran leader, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
Bakare, who led the CPC delegation, said they were sent by former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to convey his condolences to the Ojukwu family.
He said Buhari was recuperating in a UK hospital after undergoing surgery and could not come personally.
The other members of the delegation were the Publicity Secretary of CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin; the party’s governorship candidate in Enugu State, Mr. Osita Okechukwu; and Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin.
Bakare described the late Ikemba as a great man that spent his lifetime fighting for justice, equity and fair play in Nigeria, and prayed God to grant his son, Emeka Ojukwu Jr., who received them, the grace to fit into Ojukwu’s shoes.
He said what Ojukwu stood for would become even more evident after his demise, as the country was still battling with the issues he raised during the Nigerian Civil War.
“We are grateful for the life your father lived. He was a great man. We thank God for the role he played before, during and after the Nigerian Civil War.
“He fought to protect the interest of his own people as a part of a united nation. His desire was that any Nigerian can live in any place of his choice. And many people have come to appreciate him for that,” Bakare said.
He said Ojukwu fought for national integration after he returned from exile and for everyone to be fairly treated wherever they resided and in spite of their state of origin.
El-Rufai said Buhari and Ojukwu were contemporaries in the military and in party politics and were firm and straightforward in their dealings.
He recalled that Ojukwu was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, which sponsored Buhari twice as its presidential candidate.
He said the people would not forget that Ojukwu fought for justice, equality and against discrimination on the basis of state of origin in the public service.
He said, “He was very intelligent, a very wise man with sound sense of balance. Nigerians will miss him because in these trying times in which our unity is being threatened with all sorts of insurgences, we need the wisdom, experience and the sense of balance of Ojukwu, who lived and fought for equal opportunity and justice.”
Ojukwu (Jr.) thanked the CPC delegation for finding time to visit the family.
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