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Ojukwu’s will, Bianca and fight over property.

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Ikemba Ojukwu-n-bianca-ojukwu--hug_usafrica-file-pix

Ojukwu’s will, Bianca and fight over property.

By Ogbuagu Anikwe

Exclusive & Special to  USAfricaonline.com,  the USAfrica-powered e-groups of  Nigeria360IgboEventsUNNalumni,  and CLASSmagazine Houston.

Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247

USAfrica, Dec 2, 2012: The will of the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (former President of the defunct Republic of Biafra, 1967-1970) –

Ikemba Ojukwu-n-bianca-ojukwu–hug_usafrica-file-pix

as read out at the Probate Registry in Enugu on Friday 30 November 2012 – is a fine example of how to walk the tightrope between traditional customs and modernity. Regrettably, journalists invited to the event failed to grasp the customary nuances and paternal subtlety that late Ikemba displayed in crafting the will.

Let us first dispose of the modernity part.
A standard will contains five major elements: appointment of executors, appointment of trustees, appointment of guardians (where there are child survivors), bequeathing of specific gifts to individuals, and issues of residuals (other property not specifically mentioned in the will.) Although what the press provided is quite sketchy, we can still find these five elements: the appointment of Ojukwu’s widow, first son, and family friend as executors of the will; appointment of Mrs. Ojukwu as a trustee in the Ojukwu Transport Ltd (OTL); bequeathing of specific assets to ALL recognized children; and the not-so-obvious nomination of his widow as guardian of the younger Ojukwu children.

Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu_in-white_USAfrica-file-pix

It is noteworthy how Ojukwu incorporated Igbo customs and traditional practices into the will. Among the Igbos, the first son inherits the father’s obi, while other children (especially sons) are given plots of land on which to construct their individual homes. This was reflected appropriately in the will: Chukwuemeka Jr. got the family compound at Umudim while the other children, we were told, were each bequeathed a plot of land to build. Two such plots were reserved for Mrs. Ojukwu, which betrays the guardian role allocated to her; the plots are obviously meant for her two sons. The late Ikemba ensured that these two plots remain a family inheritance by stipulating that they be taken away from the widow if she remarries.

The will also betrays a discernible anxiety on the part of Ikemba to provide for Bianca’s younger children. This is understandable. Should a squabble ensure over property, Bianca would certainly lose; without a will, she would have to queue behind the sons of wives who came before her, and it would have been a safe bet that she would get very little. The resentments harbored against her, even while her husband was alive, were common knowledge.

Keen watchers of the Ikemba Nnewi, after his 1989 publication of “Because I am Involved,” must have noted his marital evolution. His life as a married man can be divided into two phases: pre- and post-Bianca. The post-Bianca phase was arguably the most stable and balanced, either because he had become wiser with age or because love for his young beautiful bride tempered the exuberance that defined his previous adventures. Whatever it was, we saw Ikemba for the first time consciously making attempts to earn a living, and to become a more responsible husband and doting father. He was ably supported and encouraged along this path by the lady that he worshipped and adored. Bianca, as daughter of another aristocrat, easily blended into the role of business partner, gaining access to political contacts, from the south east to the north-central regions, to represent her husband and provide for their young children.

On his return from exile, most of the attempts made by the Ikemba to found businesses hit the rocks. He also reportedly looked down on the vocation of making money as a businessman.

His marriage to Bianca, the daughter of a lawyer and real estate mogul, significantly changed this orientation. Who would be surprised that real estate featured prominently in the will that was read? Most of his money-making ventures, post-Bianca, had his widow’s imprints all over, as she functioned either as messenger or as the business proposer and manager, hence the decision to leave the bank savings and Abuja property to the one who helped him accumulate.

Pre-Bianca, the Ikemba depended for his survival mostly on his father’s wealth and the lavish goodwill of adoring Igbo businesspeople. We are told that the famous Sir Louis Ojukwu’s wealth has been consolidated in the OTL (Ojukwu Transport Ltd). If this wealth is managed prudently, none of the descendants of Sir LP Ojukwu need ever work. This wealth, however, belongs to the larger Ojukwu clan, which includes four other brothers of Ikemba. The challenge before him would have been who to nominate – between his first son and his wife – as his replacement on the board of trustees of OTL.

This is the place where, in my view, sentiments could have played a part in his choice; it could not have been a light decision to choose a wife over a grown up matured son to act as trustee. The choice he made could have been influenced by the nature of the relationship between father and son at the time the will was written or the fact that the wife is a lawyer. We may never know.

What we do know, and the only consolatory part, is that whatever benefits from OTL would automatically

Ogbuagu_Anikwe-pix

accrue to his estate which is managed by both Bianca and Emeka Jr. as joint executors.

The final subtlety displayed in the will was that of a gentleman who worked very hard to be recognized and accepted as Ojukwu’s son but ended up not being mentioned at all in the will. While Ikemba ignored the gentleman, he nevertheless bequeathed property to another daughter that never publicly claimed his paternity nor was known to members of his family!
•Anikwe, former Technical Adviser (Media & Communications) for the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on Power, has joined USAfrica multimedia networks as a contributing editor.

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; 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.

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USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).

I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.

To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.

We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood…. •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.

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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 Nwangwuhttps://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html

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• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including USAfrica at googlegroupsFollow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChidoFacebook.com/USAfrica247 n Twitter.com/Chido247 


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

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

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

http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

Trump looks foolish and crazy screaming about Obama’s birth certificates, college records and Muslim connection. By Raynard Jackson

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Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChidoFacebook.com/USAfrica247 n Twitter.com/Chido247

—- 

• Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttps://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 https://usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/ 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 http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

Jonathan’s Boko Haram problem and firing of Ringim. By Chido Nwangwu https://usafricaonline.com/2012/01/25/jonathans-boko-haram-problem-and-firing-of-ringim-by-chido-nwangwu/

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

News archives related to Jos, here https://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos 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 http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

 

Trump looks foolish and crazy screaming about Obama’s birth certificates, college records and Muslim connection. By Raynard Jackson

——

In the light of an icon, my mentor Stanley Macebuh (1942-2010). By Chido Nwangwu  https://usafricaonline.com/2011/03/07/stanley-macebuh-tribute-by-chido-nwangwu/

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