Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of Biafra by Colonel Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu popularly known as ‘Ikemba’.
Following the declaration, in July 1967, the head of Nigeria’s military government, General Yakubu Gowon declared war and attacked Biafra for 30 months.
After three years of non-stop fighting, in fear of being assassinated, General Odumegwu-Ojukwu in 1970 handed over power to his second in command, Major-General Philip Effiong and traveled to Ivory Coast where he was in exile for 13 years.
In 1982, the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari granted an official pardon to Odumegwu-Ojukwu and opened the road for a triumphant return for him.
He contested as a presidential candidate three times under his party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) but lost. Until his illness, he remained the party leader.
Ojukwu died in a London Hospital in 2011, at the age of 78.