Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu was born in northern Nigeria in 1933 to extremely wealthy parents.
He was born in the early years of the world wide depression, and everything he was able to do resulted from him nimbly jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone over the fast moving events of the 20th century: the second world war (started when he was 5, ended when he was 11); the end of British colonial rule in 1960 when he was 26, had completed his Oxford education and had completed his British Army officer training.
He was primed to be a leader in the new Republic of Nigeria, and lead he did.
His father took off before his birth. As a young boy, the General was taken away from his mother by his father, who decided that he was to have the education of a British gentleman. Which meant first, boarding school in Nigeria.
When he was 12, after the second world war had ended, he was sent to England for boarding school and then Oxford University. He was a baccalaureate, and later, a master of arts.
He rapidly rose to the top of all professions he tried, and he always tried very hard to star at the bottom. After a year or so in the Nigerian Civil Service, during British rule, he joined the army as a private.
He was the second ever university graduate in the Nigerian Army, and was pulled out of the ranks and commissioned an officer, and the British Army trained him well in England.
The General's later years astonished me when I first heard about them. He was given a military pension by the Nigerian government, and after a lingering illness and long hospital stay, he died in a hospital in England.
RIP Colonel Ikemba. You did well. You tried, and I have heard scholars say that if you had not declared the Nation of Biafra, far more, far more Igbos would have been murdered, holocausted, genocided. Say a prayer for the 3 million who died before and during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970.