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“Adieu, My Love, My Husband, My Lion” – Bianca’s Stirring Love Letter/Tribute to Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu

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When they began their relationship, the odds were stacked against them. A 22 Year Old Law Graduate and reigning beauty queen, an ex-soldier and Biafran leader in his mid 50s.
No one thought it would last.
I remember years ago, I would ask my mum why Bianca would have married and stay married to “an old man”. She laughed and told me that they loved each other. She told me about the epic poems and love letters Ojukwu would pen for his wife.
In his autobiography “Because I am Involved”, published in 1989 (shortly after they met), Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu describes Bianca “I am wont to comment more on her phenomenon than her person for I feel more at ease with this. If after looking at her photographs in the newspaper or viewing the repeat broadcasts of her Intercontinental triumph, if after seeing this I exclaim with all men that she is beautiful, it would be like standing in front of the Empire State Building in New York and exclaiming that the building is high

Now, in his death, it is Bianca’s turn to write her love letter to her “Dim Oma!”.
***
How do I sum up 23 years in one page? I don’t know. How do I describe you? I cannot. Not in any depth. Not for anybody else – you were my husband, my brother, my friend, my child. I was your queen, and it was an honour to have served you.

You were the lion of my history books, the leader of my nation when we faced extinction, the larger-than-life history come to my life – living, breathing legend. But unlike the history books, you defied all preconceptions. You made me cry from laughter with your jokes, many irreverent. You awed me with your wisdom. You melted my heart with your kindness. Your impeccable manners made Prince Charming a living reality. Your fearlessness made you the man I dreamt of all my life and your total lack of seeking public approval before speaking your mind separated you from mere mortals.

Every year that I spent with you was an adventure – no two days were the same. With you, I was finally able to soar on wings wider than the ocean. With you I was blessed with the best children God in heaven had to give. With you, I learnt to face the world without fear and learnt daily the things that matter most. Your disdain for money was novel – sometimes funny, other times quite alarming.

It mattered not a whit to you. Your total dedication to your people – Ndi-Igbo – was so absolute that really, very little else mattered. You never craved anybody’s praise as long as you believed that you were doing right and even in the face of utmost danger, you never relented from speaking truth to power – to you, what after all, was power? It was not that conferred by the gun, nor that stolen from the ballot box. No. You understood that power transcended all that. Power is the freedom to be true to yourself and to God, no matter the cost.

It is freedom from fear. It is freedom from bondage. It is freedom to seek the wellbeing of your people just because you love them. It is the ability to move a whole nation without a penny as inducement nor a gun to force them. When an entire nation can rise up for one person for no other reason than that they love him and know he is their leader – sans gun, money, official title or any strange paraphernalia – that is power.

To try to contain you in words is futile. You span the breadth of human experience – full of laughter, joy, kindness and sometimes, almost childlike in your ability to find something good in almost everyone and every situation. You could flare up at any injustice and in the next instant, sing military songs to the children. You could analyse a situation with incredible swiftness and accuracy. In any generation, there can only be one like you. You were that one star. You were a child of destiny, born for no other time than the one you found yourself in.

Destined to lead your people at the time total extinction was staring us in the face. There was no one else. You gained nothing from it. You used all the resources you had just to wage a war of survival. You fought to keep us alive when we were being slaughtered like rams for no reason. Today, we find ourselves in the same situation but you are not here. You fought that we might live. The truth is finally coming out and even those who fought you now acknowledge that you had no choice. For your faithfulness, God kept you and brought you home to your people.

You loved Nigeria. You spent so much of your waking moments devising ways through which Nigeria could progress to Tai-Two!!! You were the eternal optimist, always hoping that one day, God will touch His people and give us one Vision and the diligence to work towards the dream. It never came to pass in your lifetime. Instead, the disaster you predicted if we continued on the same path has come home to roost. You always saw so clearly. Your words are indelibly preserved for this generation to read and learn and perhaps heed and turn.

You always said the dry bones will rise again. But you always hoped we would not become the dry bones by our actions. Above all, you feared for your own people, crying out against the relentless oppression that has not ceased since the end of the war and saddened by the acceptance of this position by your own people. In death, you have awakened the spirit that we thought had died. Your people are finally waking up. At home, you were the father any child would dream of having. At no point did our children have to wonder where you were. You were ever at their disposal, playing with them, teaching them of a bygone era, teaching them of the world they live in and giving them the total security of knowing you were always present.

The Ikemba Goes Home
In mercy, God gave me a year to prepare for the inevitable. I could never have survived an instant departure. In mercy, God ensured that your final week on earth was spent only with me and that on your last day, you were back to your old self. I cannot but thank God for the joy of that final day – the jokes, the laughter, the songs. It was a lifetime packed into a few hours, filled with hope that many tomorrows would follow and that we would be home for Christmas. You deceived me. You were so emphatic that we would be going home. I did not know you meant a different home.

The swiftness of your departure remains shocking to me. You left on the day I least expected. But I cannot fight God. He owns your life and mine. I know that God called you home because every other time it seemed you were at death’s door, you fought like the lion that God made you and always prevailed. In my eyes, even death was no match for you. But who can say ‘no’ to the Almighty God? You walked away with Him, going away with such peace that I can only bow to God’s sovereignty. Your people have remembered. The warrior of our land has gone. The flags are lowered in your honour. Our hearts are laden with grief.

But I will trust that the living God who gave you to me will look after me and our children. Through my sadness, the memories will always shine bright and beautiful.

Adieu, my love, My husband, My lion,
Ikemba, Amuma na Egbe Igwe,
Odenigbo Ngwo, Eze-Igbo Gburugburu,
Ibu dike. Chukwu gozie gi,
Chukwu debe gi. Anyi ga afu na omesia.

**
Bianca & Ojukwu – A Love Story in Life…and in Death

Photo Credit: The Sun | PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images
Source: The Sun Newspaper

55 Comments

  1. Dee Nina

    March 5, 2012 at 5:33 am

    May his soul rest in peace. Thank you, Lord, for using him as an instrument of blessing to his people. God bless his family, and may God have mercy on Nigeria.

  2. Chikalaka

    March 5, 2012 at 5:34 am

    *tears*

  3. Margaret

    March 5, 2012 at 6:05 am

    *wipes tears*

  4. Baby

    March 5, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Wow! Bianca you are a priceless & rare Gem 🙂

  5. Bolaji mustapha

    March 5, 2012 at 6:49 am

    May God grant our great Nigeria Daddy enternity home amen……….bye bye Daddy.

    • notaweisst

      March 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      lmao. *sorry i just had to laff..God forgive me

  6. Madun

    March 5, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I have an inkling feeling Ikemba himself wrote this .

    • Gidi

      March 5, 2012 at 8:19 am

      your badness no get part 2.

    • Ijeoma

      March 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

      As in! Madun are you freaking kidding me? I don’t know which is worse, your callousness or your timing.

    • Madun

      March 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      i m just saying….i can’t believe how we are all pretending there aren’t three ex wives in this same “movie”. i guess 4th time can be charm

  7. sweetie

    March 5, 2012 at 7:30 am

    What a beautiful woman!! to truly love a man and tell the whole world to be damned takes an immense sort of bravery…i admire her for that…and to the person that said ikemba/ojukwu wrote this himself, you need more people

  8. kay

    March 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Ikemba was born to protect his people during those dark days…He was great in life and even greater in death…Open the gates of heaven for Eze gburugburu,The lion of all time!!!

  9. Raliah

    March 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Wow dat is quite deep. *tears*

  10. Ernesto

    March 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Dim Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu, an aristocrat, a charismatic leader, a selfless leader of leaders – may your soul find rest.

  11. Chacha

    March 5, 2012 at 9:38 am

    This is a truly deserving tribute! Im sure she could have gone on and on. I have nothing but respect for the man Ojukwu was..who at a mere 33yrs stood up for his people and got them to believe in him. Ikemba Nnewi..Ga n’udo!!!

  12. lolly

    March 5, 2012 at 9:43 am

    am really fighting back the tears…

  13. lolly

    March 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    God grant your family the strength to uphold the great name you left behind, God keep your Bianca forever strong and beautiful. Amen.

  14. sandra

    March 5, 2012 at 9:52 am

    hummm so so touching

  15. kem

    March 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

    awwwwwwwww

  16. Marock

    March 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I don’t really know this man but I’m fighting tears. God bless….

  17. Personal Shopper

    March 5, 2012 at 10:42 am

  18. ij

    March 5, 2012 at 11:14 am

    really sad about his death ,but on a good note , she does sound like she has a lot of good memories of him , she can hold on to that , a lot of people can’t boast of that , lucky her and she is a real beauty wow!

  19. dimma

    March 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

  20. Sugabelly

    March 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

    But why do Nigerians say “Adieu” to someone who has died? Are we French? Why can’t we just say “Kachifo” to Ojukwu? Half the people who go around saying “Adieu” can’t even speak French if their lives depended on it. It’s so ridiculously pretentious. But this is Nigeria after all. Why am I even surprised?

    • Ijeoma

      March 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      Plus “Adieu” is old French, isn’t it? I don’t think the French even say it anymore. It’s always bugged me too.

    • Jennifer

      March 29, 2012 at 6:18 am

      French is, after all, the ‘language of love’.

  21. Bunmi Lawal

    March 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Hmm! So deep. I have been following their love story for years and I bless God it lasted. Take heart Queen Bianca. I pray the Lord will give your the fortitude to bear the loss.

  22. mariamah

    March 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Wow, this is the best write up a woman can give to the one she loves, shows that Bianca is not just beautiful , she is deep.

  23. Rubby

    March 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Bianca is a real epitome of a beautiful woman. Eze igbo gburugburu, ikemc nnewi, amuma na egbeigwe u’re a true igbo man of culture n clout. Farewell till we meet 2 part nomore.

  24. lol

    March 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    mariamah…rightly put………Ojukwu defines leadership…

  25. cathy

    March 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Hmmm my God i cant stop the tears, my heart aches for her wow what an unspoken love. Th Lord is her strength and i pray that i will experience that sort of love in my lifetime in JESUS name Amen. Ikemba may you rest in perfect peace

  26. Enuff said

    March 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    if this isn’t true love then i dont know what is. I pray the good lord fill that empty vacuum.

  27. Kenny

    March 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    What a remarkable tribute for a great man who touched so many lifes…. i don’t expect less anyway because Ikemba blew her mind with love. May his osul continue to rest in the bossom of our good God.

  28. tosin

    March 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    This a great, wonderful love story. Made here in Nigeria! Goodbye Dim and God almighty shud give Binaca the strength to stay strong. I love this love story!

  29. Janefrances

    March 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    A virtous woman who can find her? But i tell u, dat is what Bianca stand for, an epitome of beauty and a worthy wife, nwannem o ga diri gi mma! To Dim Ojukwu, Kpakpando/ Onwa uwa ji ahu uzo, nna n’udo, Ka Chukwu nye ezumike ndu ebebe R.I. P Nwannem, ka emesia!

  30. Jemibee

    March 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    May the good Lord console u and ur children!!

  31. Diva

    March 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Sorry Bianca for ur loss, Ojukwu is a true hero and a real man of the people, sadly we r in d part of the world wen heroes are celebrated afta dey r gone, but in a positive note I appreciate Biancas undoubted love fr her husband in life n in spirit. May God give you d fortitude to bear d loss and may ur children grow in love n strenght

  32. Uchechi

    March 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    RIP Ojukwu!

  33. mekhi phifa

    March 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Everyone in Nigeria said 22yrs ago “this kind love na wa o”. But to be honest it started like a Big joke when so called Lagos Big Gals hardly show public display affection to their Sugar Daddys. But this Lady Bianca Onoh :The Realest of all beauty queens in Nigeria took the Bull by the Horn not minding her Family, her cousins, her friends, her lecturers, not 4geting her Wahala with Silverbird group to do what d likes Nike Oshinowo did 15yrs later, and so many oda queens that married much older men in today Nigeria.
    Bianca abeg take heart d 22yrs u spent with Ikemba (with 60% of all Guiness shares) is worth more 40yrs boring marriage with age mate.

  34. Ikenna Edson

    March 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    RIP Ikemba! We shall forever remain proud of you, and appreciative of your accomplishments. I read this work with rapt attention, and every concentration I could summon; and after all, I can affirm, with certainty, that Bianca is just not stunning in beauty, but also deep and poetic in intellect. May The Good Lord strengthen you and the kids, and grant you all fortitude at this time. It is well. Once more, R.I.P IKEMBA!!!

  35. tatafo!

    March 6, 2012 at 6:50 am

    this is very touching.

  36. shayina

    March 6, 2012 at 8:15 am

    i wish u a happy life through out the year.

  37. clairebaby

    March 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I’ve always admired the marriage btw the insanely beautiful bianca and the heroic general. The way they seemed to defy all odds. Was it love? Yes I believe it was a brand of love. Even though ojukwu had married 3 times prior to this marriage, he had divorced all d previous wives long before he married bianca. Infact, he never lived with 2 at the same time, he was not a polygamist, he married them one at a time. There is also much to be said about the fact that bianca was the only wife ojukwu married in the church. They had civil, traditional and catholic marriagies. He married his previous wives in traditional or civil ceremonies. He also lived with bianca the longest, though this may be because he was older,wiser and more accomodating. I also often wondered what possessed bianca- a young beauty queen, a well-educated lawyer from a prominent family, a girl who literally had the world @ her feet- to pick ojukwu as her husband when she cld have any man she wanted. Older people have told me though, esp ones who knew the ikemba personally, that ojukwu was a master in the art of pursuing a woman, he was a flamboyant lover given to romantic poem writin and lavish gifts, things a younger man may not be able to do for bianca. No doubt, it was a difficult marriage, bianca most esp had a lot to contend with- ikemba’s other children most of whom were older than her, the previous wives, the estrangement from her family, his public life, his many battles, later on the burden of taking care of a decrepit old husband while she was still in her sexual prime. Bianca once remarked that while she did not regret marrying het husband, she wouldn’t advice her daughter to marry a much older man. The most important thing at the end of the day is that they rose above the situation and made their marriage work, that she was to all appearances a good wife to ikemba till his death, for this she should be applauded. Adieu ikemba, agu ndi-igbo, our hero, ka mkpulu-obi gi zuru-ike na ndokwa , amen!

    • jacqueline

      April 3, 2012 at 2:16 am

      RE: I also often wondered what possessed bianca- a young beauty queen, a well-educated lawyer from a prominent family, a girl who literally had the world @ her feet- to pick ojukwu as her husband when she cld have any man she wanted…

      SHE ACTUALLY SAID IN AN INTERVIEW THAT SHE MARRIED OJUKWU BECAUSE BEFORE HIM, NO ONE HAD EVER PROPOSED TO HER!

      BEING A BEAUTIFUL GIRL MYSELF, I CAN COMPLETELY RELATE: IN SUCH A SITUATION, GUYS ARE SCARED THAT THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COPE/ OR THAT IF THEY MARRY YOU THEY WILL NEVER HAVE PEACE AS OTHER RICHER MEN WILL BE AFTER YOU ALL THE TIME, AND YOU MAY EVENTUALLY FALL FOR THE TEMPTATION…OR THEY MAY DIE OF JEALOUSY/ OR THAT YOU WILL REJECT THEM… the list goes on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN ARE VERY LONELY PEOPLE, AND THATS WHY THEY SETTLE WITH OLDER MEN WHEN THEY GATHER ENOUGH COURAGE AND COME FOR THEM — MOST MEN JUST WANT TO ‘TEST THE MICROPHONE’ AND THEN RUN AWAY…THATS THE TROUBLE*

  38. Tobe

    March 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

    When beggars die, no comets are seen. Heaven proclaims the death of princes! My Hero, My Leader, My Motivator – Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, you will continue to live on! Indeed, the man does not die, who lives forever on the side of history! We will continue the fight for Justice, Fairness and Equity in this corrupt nation. May you Rest in the bossom of the Lord….IKEMBA!! Gaa nke oma!

  39. jczgrl

    March 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Behold the new face of the fashionista widow….traditions have truly changed. Before dem go shave your hair, put ashes on your head, and put some wretched cloth on you. These days you accessorize with designer glasses, expensive lace or custom made ankara, lb shoes. etc. Ikemba of Nnewi…chai I remember being so scared of you when you come by the house and you will order someone to go and fetch me from my hiding place and place my frightened body on ur laps. Ga na udo. Ngi Igbo will miss you. You were truly loved.

  40. toocute

    March 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    but didnt a lot of people die because of the Civil war Ojukwu started back then? am lost oh!

  41. stella.m.w.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    @jczgrl of course tradition has changed.mourning comes from the heart not from appearance.appearance can be deceiving you know.r.i.p ojukwu.

  42. star

    March 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    bianca really love this guy.l cant believe is becos of money, she came from a rich family.she is educated,a learned friend.if not true love,l know people and their parparizer,they would hv seen one and write on d paper.l still belive,dir is true love.Age is nothing but a number.take heart my dear bianca.ls painfull.lwould’t say l know how u feel,becos l have not been in that position.God wil console u. my advice to you,take everybody at ikemba family as your children.you are their mother and father no matter the difference in age.God will give you the stregthen.ls well with you.people can say wateva they like,lt is only between u,ojukwu and God.l love u my queen. take care of your children.

  43. Jennifer

    March 29, 2012 at 6:12 am

    My husband, whom I adore, is away on business much of the time. I, as a writer, have nearly run all pens on earth dry writing him love notes. I had been searching online for writings which reflect the beauty of true love when I came upon yours… the ultimate love letter. Your heart, strength, and dedication, are a true inspiration. I wept because my worst fear is for him to pass from this world before I do. I feel, in reading your love letter, I know love even better now. I love your late husband through your words, and I love you for loving him. Thank you for the degree of love you’ve expressed; for I now know – though I thought my love for my husband was fathomless – there are depths yet to explore. And, my love, Jah guide all home – no exception

  44. ugo

    March 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    he was a man of his word and a greate leader may he soul rest i perfect peace

  45. THOMPSON DAEBI SAMUEL

    July 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

    It is only ‘BIANCA’ that saw what a lot of females only imagine in a man. She saw in ‘IKEMBA’ a partner, a friend, a companion and above all a lover. Love is not only defined by the physical attributes or prowess of the other person, but the depth at which each other complement one another. Adieu Ojukwu! Adieu Ikemba!! ADIEU

  46. DR CHUWUEMEKA IFEGWU EKE

    January 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    WHAT AN EPIC STORY! IT HAS SEVERAL INSIGHTS AND VITA(MINS)

  47. Ozonna

    April 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Take heart my sister?

  48. Finian

    July 8, 2017 at 10:00 am

    what a wonderful farewell..RIP Ikemba

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