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Ojukwu's Corpse at Abuja International Airport Nigeria

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Uploaded on Feb 28, 2012

EXACTLY 430 days after he was flown out in coma to a London Hospital for intensive medication and 91 days after his demise, the remains of late elder statesman and defunct Biafra Republic Leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was flown back to Nigeria, yesterday, to a rousing reception and ocean of tributes.

Given a full military funeral parade, President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika and Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, were among eminent Nigerians, who showered tributes on the revered Igbo leader, yesterday.

Economic activities came to a halt in Owerri, Imo State capital, which stood still as the corpse of Ikemba Nnewi arrived the state.
Ojukwu was flown out of the country in a military ambulance on December 23, 2010. He battled for life for almost a year and died on November 26, 2011.

While Jonathan described Ojukwu as an advocate of a united Nigeria, Ihejirika said he was one of the architects of modern Nigerian Army and Aliyu said Ojukwu could have been made the Nigerian Head of State in 1966 after the second military coup, if intellect, qualification and finesse were the yardsticks.

Triumphantly, Ojukwu's corpse arrived aboard a British Airways plane at exactly 5.09am accompanied by members of his family, including his wife Mrs Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu and some of his children. It was taken to the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja where a colourful military parade, the type reserved for heads of state, was held in his honour.

The casket was draped in the Nigerian flag complete with a green army cap. The ceremony was nearly turned into a political event as politicians from across the political divide thronged the arena to pay their last respects.

Roll call
After the ceremonial parade, witnessed by Vice President Namadi Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan; Dame Patience Jonathan; Senate President David Mark; Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Deputy House of Representatives Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha; Justice Chukwudifu Oputa (rtd); Governor Peter Obi; Chief Tom Ikimi; Chief Jim Nwobodo; Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; Lt. General Chris Obiakor (rtd); and FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, the corpse was carried into Nigeria Airforce C-130 aircraft registered NAF 917 and flown to Owerri.

Other eminent Nigerians at the funeral parade were Senators Uche Chukwumerije, Chris Ngige and Andy Uba; Labour Minister, Chief Nwogu; Comptroller-General of Customs, Mrs. Uzoma; Prof. ABC Nwosu; Senator Authur Nzeribe; Chief Ojo Maduekwe; APGA Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh; Mrs. Josephine Anenih; Chief Ben Obi, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu and Bishop Hilary Okeke of Nnewi Diocese.

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