Last weekend, I joined the blitz that invaded Owerri down to Ogwa to attend the last rites and witness the befitting funeral accorded to the late Guru of the Fraternity of the Pen, Chief Innocent Mpidike Oparadike.
At the Ogwa family home, I was pleased to re-unite with my former schoolmate at St. Teresa’s, Nsukka, Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe. The great scientist and authority in African diseases and former Independent National Electoral Commission boss, Prof. Maurice Iwu, was holding court before a galaxy of Imo top brass and leaders of thought.
He was at the family home before most of us and was, as usual, the chief comfort of the family. Earlier, I had shared my table with Dr. Madubuike, former Minister of Health, and we talked about the last time we sat down in deep reflection. Yes, it was at Harvard University, and we were on the panel to discuss the impact of Chris Okigbo’s poetry and global literature. That was the last time I saw Chinua Achebe in his wheel chair.
At the Ogwa home of the Oparadikes, I was in my full regalia as the Ogbueshi Attahnigala of Asaba and was free to greet others slapping their backs with the special, beaded ostrich royal fan from the Igwe Nri as the respected Onye amuma Igbo from the Nri closet cabinet. There were many other absorbing spectacles and unforgettable, endearing re-unions.
I saw my former NAN colleagues, Concord and Satellite Fraternals of the Pen. Good old John Ndukauba came all the way from Umuahia, Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya, who had virtually seized the back pages of the Concord, is now the paramount royal father of the kingdom of Uturu, the host community of the Abia State University.
I was not able to move to the church after my final view of the late Innocent Impidike Oparadike. I returned to my table and, for the first time since my sister’s death, I was transfixed, silenced to very long sobering hours. Two hours later I asked my Asaba Ohaneze delegation to return to Asaba without me. Most of my sports, football, tennis colleagues … fellow members of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Ikeja Country Club, Ikoyi Tennis Club all would want me stay longer at Owerri Oke Mba. Where I would sleep would not be my concern!
Few days after we wrote … Owerri Oke Mba, I am still at Owerri and I have seen a lot of my old friends and others who visited my hotel from Uzuakoli, where I was born.
In the coming week we would be writing about the views, the support thread and also the anti-Governor Okorocha stand of these people who live and vegetate in the country home of the last colossus Igbo minstrel, Israel Nwoba, who had his tongue cut off in Lagos in the 1950s.
What the people say
I also hope you note it is the same Sir Chris Nwegbu Ike that challenged your perspective on Zik’s Civil War interventions, part of which you published “On the Niger.” Excerpts:
“Emma, excellent historical retrospection! But, on the Nigerian side, was there ever a time, before, during (at Niamey, Kampala, Addis Ababa et al) or after the Civil War and thereafter, and up to this very moment that Gowon or any other Nigerian leader offered to the East (or Biafra) a revisit of the Aburi Accord in whatever form as you alluded to? Point of correction of historical fact: Zik visited Nigeria (or made contact with Gowon) long after the Addis Ababa conference, not before! Secondly, did Zik confer with Mandela at Roben Island prison?… And, lastly, the war ended as an outcome of Biafra’s absolute military conquest, not on the basis of any peace resolution! Take note as you publish part 2 or 3 of your script.
Lastly, you should not be part of the crass fallacies of historical narration common with the Nigerian intelligentsia. The Gowon-Murtala-Danjuma coup sought to take power from the Ironsi-Ogundipe-Fajuyi, etc., regime, not from a non-existent Nzeogwu regime. Nzeogwu failed in his bid to take power and was safely in detention. Hence, Col. Fajuyi, a pillar of the Ironsi regime then (not as Nzeogwu loyalist or comrade) never offered to die with Gen. Ironsi, because he was never given the option of freedom by their assailants. As a matter of fact, the plotters targeted to have them together for the hit, an opportunity they seized.
— Sir Chris N. Ike.
Since May 24, 2015, Buhari sold his government and became assignment president, according to the Union, page 24 to 25, and he agreed to be the small president. Please APC, don’t be deceived.
— Mustapha Isah