The icon, general and freedom fighter was born on the 4th of November, 1933 in the northern Nigerian town of Zungeru to Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu , an Nnewi businessman and one-time richest man in West Africa. He joined the Nigerian army in 1957, rising to become its first indigenous Quartermaster. Following the January 1966 coup that toppled Nigeria’s maiden independent civilian government, Colonel Ojukwu became the military governor of the old Eastern Region.
Following the failure of the Aburi accord in Ghana and the ceaseless pogroms of ethnic Easterners in some parts of Northern Nigeria, Ojukwu, in accordance with the demands of the elders of the Eastern Region, declared the Republic of Biafra and became its first leader. Overlapping the territory of the Eastern Region, the Republic was reabsorbed by Nigeria following a bitter civil war.
Ojukwu passed away in the United Kingdom on the 26th of November, 2011. He was accorded one of the most elaborate burial ceremonies in the history of Africa by the Nigerian army, his Igbo people and the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government. He is widely considered a legend, icon and freedom fighter, especially by his native Igbo people who see him in the same light as the Americans see George Washington, the Britons see Winston Churchill, the Indians see Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi and the Chinese see Mao Zedong.