Meaning of OJUKWU, ODUMEGWU in English

born November 4, 1933, Nnewi, Nigeria in full Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu military governor of the Eastern region of Nigeria (196667) and head of the secessionist state of Biafra (196770) during the Nigerian civil war. The son of a successful Igbo businessman, Ojukwu graduated from the University of Oxford in 1955. He returned to Nigeria to serve in the administration but after two years joined the army and was rapidly promoted thereafter. In January 1966 a group of junior army officers, many of them Igbo tribesmen, overthrew Nigeria's civilian government. Lieutenant Colonel Ojukwu was appointed military governor of the Igbo homeland, the Eastern region, under the new military government. But army officers of Hausa or Yoruba descent (who were concentrated, respectively, in the Northern and Western regions) feared the preponderance of the Igbo in the new government, and in July 1966 Northern officers staged a successful countercoup in which Colonel Yakubu Gowon became the new head of state. Ojukwu retained his command of the Eastern region under Gowon's rule. But the rising tide of feeling against the Igbo, especially in the Northern region, led to large massacres of Igbo civilians by Northern soldiers in September 1966. The Eastern region felt increasingly isolated and alienated from the federal military government under Gowon. Ojukwu's main proposal to end the intertribal strife was the creation in Nigeria of a weak federation-type government, which would permit the Igbo and the other principal ethnic groups substantial political autonomy. The federal government tentatively agreed to this solution at a conference in January 1967 but then rejected it soon afterward. Ojukwu responded in MarchApril 1967 by separating the Eastern regional government's administration and revenues from those of the federal government. Mounting secessionist pressures from his fellow Igbo finally compelled Ojukwu on May 30, 1967, to declare the Eastern region an independent state under the name of the Republic of Biafra. Federal troops soon afterward invaded Biafra, and civil war broke out in July 1967. Ojukwu led Biafra's unsuccessful struggle to survive as an independent nation throughout the civil war (196770), and on the eve of Biafra's surrender he fled to Cte d'Ivoire, where he was granted asylum. Ojukwu remained in Cte d'Ivoire until 1982, when he returned to Nigeria. He joined the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in January 1983 and subsequently attempted to reenter politics by standing as an NPN candidate for the Senate in Onitsha, but he was unsuccessful.

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