Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, ex-Biafra leader, has died. This man will be remembered for his pivotal role in the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970).
Born in 1933 in Nigeria, he graduated from Oxford before enlisting the army. Military governor in 1966, he declared the independence of the Eastern Region under the name of the Republic of Biafra. The personal role of Ojukwu in this war is not to be neglected. Obvously, it would be easy to stress other factors which led to the war such as the way the British left an unworkable constitution. It could be also possible to mention the postcolonial ethnic politics in Nigeria or the 1966 anti-Igbo riots in Northern Nigeria. However Ojukwu’s role seemed determinant.
Ojukwu lost the war. In exile from 1970 to 1982, he tried to join the Nigeria political game on his return. Member of the National Party, he founded the All Progressives Grand Alliance and contested the 2003 presidential elections in vain. Hero for some Igbos, main culprit for the war for some Nigerians, Ojukwu represents this first generation of nationalists who challenged he postcolonial State.