OJUKWU trouble and Ikemba titles. By Chido Nwangwu

Ojukwu trouble and Ikemba titles.                                                                                                                        

By Chido Nwangwu

Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com,  the USAfrica-powered e-groups of  Nigeria360IgboEventsUNNalumni,  and CLASSmagazine Houston.


Special & Exclusive commentary.

USAfrica: February 22, 2012: A few days before the March 2, 2012 burial of the late, charismatic leader of the Republic of Biafra, Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, his second biological son, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Jnr., has become embroiled in what I consider an un-winnable, toxic and perennially divisive battle: his hasty and untimely decision to accept and take the title of Ikemba II, from


his maternal kinsmen/chieftains in Nawfia, Anambra State. His great and battle-tested father was given the title of Ikemba (the strength of the community/nation) Nnewi, shortly after his return from 13 years exile in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory coast) in 1982, following a presidential pardon by Shehu Shagari.
First, I believe that this controversial, hasty and untimely chieftaincy award by the Igwe Nawfia Chijioke Nwankwo of the certain and prestigious title of Ikemba II to Emeka Ojukwu Jnr on February 19, 2012 are reflections of unwise local maneuvers, petty tactical gamesmanship and matrimonial political struggles hiding under maternal sentiments and some grandiose Nri claims over Nnewi.
Igwe Nwankwo is the current traditional ruler of Nawfia, the home town of Emeka Jnr’s mother, Njideka, daughter of a previously prominent Nawfia man, Chief C.T Onyekwelu.

Second, it is not surprising that the hurried award of Ikemba II to Emeka Ojukwu Jnr has set off what will be a long-drawn uncivil war of sorts, within the immediate family and among the Ikemba faithfuls. In short order, the three issues are: the timing of the chieftaincy, the title and the issuing chieftaincy authority for the title.

Pointedly, many Igbo activists and leaders of various interest groups consider the award of the Ikemba II title a derogation to the memory of the brave, late Ojukwu.

Third, for valuable context, on what, in part, it means to be the Ikemba, here are the words of The


Ikemba, himself: “For you (the Igbo and eastern Nigerians), I abandoned all ease and embraced pain. For you, I impoverished myself to buy your protection. For you, I walked every battlefront to assure your welfare. For you I stood when every other person crouched. For you, I endured 13 years of bitter exile. For you, I endured 10 months of maximum security prison. For you, I embraced priestly poverty. For you, I continue to struggle…What I have said is not harsh, it is only the naked truth and it reflects only the intensity of the love I habour for my people.”
I believe you have to be the Ikemba to be the Ikemba.

To be sure, any one can take any title. But I know that the Igbo nation, the Igbo tradition and almost every culture make no room for inherited warrior-hood; you can only earn the title of lion killer!

Fourth, Igwe Nwankwo claims, contrary to the facts and living witnesses, that ‘’the Ikemba title did not come from Nnewi; it came from Nri  kingdom and we are restoring it; and, since Ojukwu Jnr’s mother is from here (Nawfia – a part of the Nri kingdom), we have chosen to honour him (Emeka Ojukwu Jnr) with the title.” It came from Nnewi; not Nri. I do know that the Ikemba title was given to the People’s General by his Nnewi community as a measure of respect for his bravery and leadership in war and peace. I was, at the time, a very young staff of the electronic news gathering (E.N.G) team of the Nigerian Television channel 6.

Fifth, I think that the imperial arrogations and condescending tone of Igwe Nwankwo over Nnewi, Nnewi’s chieftaincies and authority constitute a risky overreach of tradition, privilege and slap on commonsense. He undercuts Nnewi as a community deserving of their own independent royalty/chieftaincies.

I believe that the ahisotrical and illogical public square dance by Igwe Nwankwo whereby he stomps, giddily, on the scrotal sacks of Nnewi leaders and royalty is unbecoming of an Igbo king; any king! He continues to kick the Nnewi collective dignity by continuing the untidy argument that he is right to deny the Nnewi people of their basic Igbo canon and privilege of naming titles after their own sons and daughters, in respect of their own town, for example: Ikemba Nnewi, Okosisi Nnewi, Ikenga Nnewi, Oduma Nnewi….

Sixth, without mincing words, Igwe Nwankwo and those who encouraged and gave Emeka Ojukwu Jnr the unwieldy title of ‘Ikemba II’ have failed the Igbo nation, under the present circumstances of the Ikemba’s body still in a land foreign to his ancestors and the Igbo nation.

Recall that it is the same concern millions among the Igbo and million of other Nigerians felt that Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan should have showed more sensitivity and discretion by telling him, bluntly, he was lacking in discretion to announce his nomination of the late Ikemba’s loving wife Bianca for an ambassadorial position a few days following the death of the great Ikemba in London on November 26, 2011; and before burial plans or burial was to occur. I believe Jonathan’s presidency made the announcement on December 2, 2011. To be sure, Bianca deserves many professional appointments; she’s qualified.

Let’s get back to the chieftaincy title palaver, and my seventh point.
If the “Ikemba Nnewi” title came from Nri kingdom which Nwankwo claims “authorized” the Nnewi people to use the name of their own home town Nnewi to come up with “Ikemba Nnewi”, please permit me to say this, in the best possible polite manner, that:
I, Chidozie Nwangwu, have been to Nnewi several times, I have been to Nawfia and several parts of the Nri kingdom, including a memorable 1988 exclusive interview with a prominent Nri king, the Igwe Enugwu Ukwu Osita Agwuna, in his abode (at the direction of the late former President of Nigeria’s Senate Dr. Chuba Okadigbo), No One ever told me that the resourceful, boisterous and enterprising people and royalty of Nnewi, umu Anaedo, as embodied and led by Igwe Orizu III, are colonial outposts and footstools of any of their neighboring Nri chieftaincies and kingdoms, especially Nawfia.
What do I know?

Did I just hear the now humbled and subdued Nnewi colonial citizens of Nri kingdom grind out their deep, loaded words: ehiemewolu….

Sorry, for the land of The Ikemba; the home of Odumegwu….

Eighth, I do know, however, that the triple challenges of tradition, culture and common sense have combined to become a thorny burden on the neck of one of the legendary Ojukwu’s sons, Emeka Ojukwu Jr. Fact is, he remains a young man who is yet to cut his teeth on the frontlines of Igbo struggles, Igbo enterprise, Igbo distinctions and specifically on any of the key defining issues of the younger generation, his generation, my generation.
Hence, the prominent pan-Igbo group which the late Ikemba Ojukwu signally inspired, MASSOB, harshly stated on Tuesday February 21, 2012, that ”Ojukwu Jnr took the traditional title of Ikemba II with utmost disregard and disrespect to Igbo tradition and culture. The Ikemba II title conferred on Ojukwu Jnr by Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo (of Nawfia) is unacceptable to MASSOB and Ndigbo in general…. The Ikemba Nnewi title bestowed on the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was a mark of respect and honour to him by the Igwe Nnewi. It was a result of his outstanding and eloquent performances…. Igbo leadership is not hereditary. Even if it is, Ojukwu Jnr is not the first son.”

As a communications specialist, I know the chieftaincy title awarders/givers in Nawfia/Nri cannot un-ring the bell. Unfortunately, their actions and its consequences will remain an embarrassing disservice to the courageous Odumegwu Ojukwu heritage, to the Nri kingdom, Igbo tradition and a bigger blight on the Nawfia chieftaincy institution. I’m personally concerned — especially — for the fact that Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu whom I interviewed 3 times (in his Villaska Lodge residence and here in Houston) is one of my eternal heroes. He lived a life of definable consequence and rose to history’s challenge; no matter his failings. I spoke to the trans-generational meaning and legacy of Odumegwu Ojukwu at the memorial in his honor on February 2, 2012– at the invitation of the Igbo community in Dallas, Texas. He deserves more respect than the searing shenanigan and games being played by the awarders of the Ikemba II title. 

Equally risky, is what I consider an untimely, needless, personal burden and, without a doubt, an increasingly explosive situation for young Emeka Ojukwu Jnr (whom I chatted with about his late father in December 2011). If he does not properly handle and defuse this hot issue, this Ikemba II title tangle and bungle will follow him like his shadow. If sorted well, he could gain less trouble; otherwise, it seems more like a title that will only yield heavy, episodic rain of arrows and thunder.
Long Live The Ikemba!
Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn. He traveled with and covered U.S. President Clinton’s visit to parts of Africa March-April 2, 1998. He’s writing a book on recent African immigrant experiences in America.

• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

News: At Ojukwu memorial in Dallas Texas, USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu challenges the Igbo nation to say never again like Jews.

Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-group. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

Related insight: USAfrica’s October 17, 2001 special report/alert: Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html



310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html


Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/

News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos

USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin.  By Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/

Tunisia, Egypt . . . Is Nigeria next? By Prof. Rosaire Ifedi           http://usafricaonline.com/2011/02/13/tunisia-egypt-is-nigeria-next-by-prof-rosaire-ifedi/

For racist Soccer actions, Liverpool’s player Suarez should be suspended.  By Chido Nwangwu. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247


  1. fact is that emeka jr is the first son , debe is not ojukwus son, he is an imposter he changed his his name from ude to ojukwu , who is fooling who , he was not around the family when his so called father was buried, ojukwu never took him as a son

  2. get your facts right, emeka ojukwu jr is the first son, debe is not ojukwus son , he could not say that when ojukwu was alive, he is an imposter and was not let into the family compound, he changed his name from debe ude to ojukwu

  3. point of action,he was given the title ikemba of igbo land not of nnewi or nawfia.if u dont like it,go and hug trasformer.what does name av to do with unsteady power in this country?.for ikemba 11,when yaradua died,y will goodluck sworn in even when the president was to be buried in few hours ahead.is very right that emeka will go to uk and bring ikemba with red cap on his own head cos ikemba bu odogwu nwoke.

  4. I agree with writer, Chido Nwagwu. If Emeka Ojukwu Jnr. does not handle this Ikemba issue well, he may not like the outcome and will live with the outcome the rest of his life. Chido, I'll appreciate a one-on-one with u to give u in details, some untold stories of Late Senator Amah Iwuagwu that will blow ur mind. His legacy; his estate, his business, and his family.

  5. Chido, this article is ill-timed too! For God's sake we are mourning Ikemba. We have had a full day at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos for that today. It is our wish to do all we can do to honour the great Ikemba. Any party organised by Igwe Nwankwo and any petty utterances therein cannot distract us! Stop ascribing relevance to utter petty social gatherings!

    However, be corrected. Chief Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu's appointment was before the demise of her husband, the great Ikemba.

    • Dear Mr. Joseph Ndibuagu, the key issue is the timing of the Ikemba II chieftaincy title by Igwe Nawfia Nwankwo and the taking of the Ikemba II title by Emeka Ojukwu Jnr under the circumstances of 4 weeks to his father's burial, as I stated in a timely, fairly and factually accurate and historical manner, above, ref: http://usafricaonline.com/2012/02/22/ojukwu-t

      Sir, I do not know why you chose, instead, to highlight and make your wilfully misleading and false claim with Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu's ambassadorial nomination by President Jonathan– which the President submitted on December 1, 2011 to the Senate. Ikemba died on November 26, 2011. Everyone knows, it is, factually, a few days AFTER (not before) the great Ikemba's death, as you boldly claimed. You wrote: "Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu's appointment was before the demise of her husband, the great Ikemba." False!!!.

      ALL the newspapers inside and outside Nigeria, the Senate of Nigeria, the Presidency of Nigeria KNOW the facts are totally opposite your claims.

      One media house specifically reported, quoting: "Today (December 2, 2011), less than a week after her (Bianca Ojukwu) husband's death, the corpse still in the morgue and the Igbo Ozo council yet to formally announce his death, not to talk of him being buried, our president (Jonathan) has sent the (Bianca's) name to the Senate for confirmation as an ambassador, according to NTA News."

      To further prove you are distorting the facts, see Sun newspaper (Lagos) of December 2, 2011, that's about ONE week after the Ikemba died in London; titled Jonathan nominates Bianca Ojukwu Maduekwe, Arapaja, 24 others as ambassadors, by ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, in Abuja, dated Friday December 02, 2011:
      "President Goodluck Jonathan has forwarded names of 27 new ambassadorial nominees including former foreign affairs minister, Ojo Uma Maduekwe, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, WIDOW of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and immediate past deputy governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja to the Senate for confirmation http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/nation
      The Tribune newspaper report by Ayodele Adesanmi in Abuja, dated Friday, 02 December 2011, noted "The wife of the LATE Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Bianca, Chief Ojo Maduekwe and Yemi Farounbi are on the list of ambassadors-nominees nominees sent to the Senate for confirmation on Thursday by President Goodluck Jonathan…."

      Sir, respectfully, first get your facts together, speak and write the truth and then make your opinion, any way. We welcome your views on USAfrica.

      Chido Nwangwu
      Publisher, USAfrica multimedia networks
      (February 23, 2012)

  6. Chido,calm down. You are going too far. You have made a salient point,the disrespect in awarding Emeka Ojukwu Jnr the Title of Ikemba 11 or any title for that matter before the funeral rites of his father have been concluded.Our people say that he who rushes into war lacks the given knowledge that war is a forerunner of death.This does not open up a schism between Nawfia and Nnewi. Emeka is by unwise decision the Ikemba 11 of Nawfia not of Nnewi by Igbo custom and tradition. Again,it is only wisdom and discipline that can prevent uproar,when an Iroko falls.You have all sorts in a thick forest but it remains the right and privilege of citizens to choose whom to honour,moreso in the Igbo Nation.Howbeit, it is wise counsel which says,the man who hastens to grab the ofo (the staff of the family) is bound to wrestle with the ground,for the ofo knows to whom it belongs to. A word to the wise.