More often than not, the responsibility of being a writer of facts and reality is that the truth sometimes becomes a burden for you to carry.
A writer must have enthusiasm. But above all, a writer must be willing to exhaust all possible angles to a story or narrative. He must put sentiments and personal feelings aside to tackle the matter from a background that would be suitable to all.
Though this is most difficult, it is the price a writer has to pay.
The views which a writer expresses in a book or an article might transform as time goes by; this being as a result of a better understanding or knowledge of the subject matter. But in some cases, a writer’s view is always right from day one.
Fictional writers might not be troubled with these demons, because they live solely and exclusively in their imaginations. Although some fictional writers can paint our reality through the canvass of fiction, their stories can be passed for pure fiction (without an ounce of it relating to a true story), depending on who is reading it.
All these bring me to my subject of discussion today, which is the person of my soul brother, Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu. The roles he played as the Eastern governor before the hostilities of 1966-1967 (the massacre of Igbo people in Northern Nigeria), his role as the Head of State of Biafra during the war, his character as a person, his achievements, his mistakes and very importantly the light in which he has been cast by different circles of the Igbo and Biafran society at large.
I have read books and heard stories (both true and false) which would cloud the mind of anyone, but as a writer, I had to explore all possible literature on Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
The sole reason for this being that a lot of disputes within our people about the issue of a separate state still hangs around his name. Some are quick to say: “Ojukwu did it so we should continue” and others would say “Ojukwu made a mess of things so we should not follow that route”.
But somehow I know better. I know that the issue of a true leader and the future of Ndi Igbo is not a matter to be taken lightly and not one to be discussed on the basis of a former leader’s merits and flaws.
There was a time when I would swear and argue that Ojukwu had no faults or that all he did was best for our people; I would curse anyone who did cast him in a bad light, something I might still do now.
But it is important to note that he was human and so made some mistakes in places where he would have confined in the people around him to gain knowledge and draw wisdom. But again who is to say that if his detractors were to be put in his position, that they wouldn’t have made their own set of human errors?
Ojukwu’s case among his people might just be similar to that of Nnamdi Kanu of our time.
You see I have come to the brazen conclusion that it is often very difficult to lead and rule over a supposed ‘wise people’. A people with such high achievements and intellect, a people with a Republican approach to life. I honestly feel it is most difficult to be a leader in Igbo land than to be a leader anywhere in the world.
Any day and anytime I am called up to write or speak, I would never dare speak evil or with a distasteful tongue about ODIMEGWU OJUKWU or NNAMDI KANU. For since I was born till now, these two men are the only two people I can beat my chest and say: “The Igbo fighting spirit lives on in them. And that they have put their people above personal gains – no matter what their human flaws are.”
So If you are Igbo, and claim to love our people, but can’t say this or come to terms with this statement then please check yourself.
This understanding of the subject matter is not something a university degree or higher learning can afford you, so keep that aside when you reflect on these words. Search your heart, your soul, and your conscience, maybe somehow you might find my analogy true.
As a writer, when you do write about these two men, remember that they are human first and that they were/are driven by one basic human instinct, and that is SURVIVAL – Survival of their people. Remember that a man who does not seek to protect his family does not deserve a seat at the table of men.
Every writer, who is of Igbo origin must look at the sacrifices of these two men, instead of their faults, and in so doing, give them the support they need. For Ojukwu, support of his name, legacy, and a defense of his service to his people. For Nnamdi Kanu, support of his works in actualizing the republic of Biafra, a nation where the Igbo and their brothers will have a chance to express themselves fully in all endeavors of life.
When you write of these two warriors, seek to promote their love for their people, and not the lies their haters have spread about them, through brown-envelope media houses of Nigeria and Europe.
Chukwu gozie unu umu nnem.
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