MESSY WAR IN OJUKWU’S FAMILY -Bianca cries out as Ikemba’s brothers move to push her out!
Life, lately, has been dealing Mrs. Bianca Odinakachukwu Ojukwu unpleasant blows. It began with the traumatic death of her darling and doting husband, Ezeigbo Gburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, on Saturday, November 26, 2011, in the United Kingdom.
The latest is that her brothers-in-law and some of her step children are scheming to push her out! In a recent interview with Saturday Sun, the ex-beauty queen, businesswoman and lawyer narrated her travails since the demise of her husband thus:…
“It’s something that has been there for a while. The only sad aspect is that my husband and his brothers are directors in their company and they have a management ration in the management of their companies. The eldest brother manages all the properties, about nine of them here in the East; they also manage 12 of the properties in Lagos; my husband manages five of the properties. So, they all had their agents managing these properties; each person had his individual agent managing the properties on his behalf. Of course, with the demise of my husband, I have found that without consultation with me, one of the sons of my husband’s elder brother just turns up, decides that he has become a director of the company, which we are not aware of and has decided that he wants to take over the properties being managed by my husband in addition to the properties being managed by his own father. This, I find strange, because I have been in Ojukwu family for 23 years and I have never met him. The time I met him was when my husband died, during the funeral, and after the funeral when he came up to me asking about my husband’s Will and of course, I informed him that he has no right to ask about my husband’s Will.
My husband has children and has brothers, he only just happens to be a son to one of the brothers. So, he has absolutely no locus in what he is doing and I think it’s nothing but a plan to cause mischief. I have told them severally that their actions are very premature. In Igbo custom, you wait at least six months before you start broaching issue like that and then my husband’s Will is yet to be read. When the Will is read, then hopefully, the Will should be able to provide a pointer as to who replaces his interest in the company. But in the absence of all that, they are too keen to jump into fray and annex the properties he was managing. I think it’s very wrong that they chose to do so through the backdoor. In any case, I have refused to join issues with them. I have informed them that as his widow, I have rights as his children also have rights. So, they cannot plan on negating those rights. But it would be prudent for them to wait until his Will is read and at least give some grace.
We had had an ugly incident when he was in the hospital early in 2011, when a rumour filtered in that he had passed on in London. His younger brother invades our residence in Lagos with thugs ostensibly to take it over. It took the intervention of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike to restore some kind of order. He had to ask him: “Why do you have to rely on rumours? You hear that your brother is dead, your brother who is in London, who you have never gone to see for one day in hospital and then you decide to invade his house”.
He told him that it was an abomination in Igbo culture and that such an incident should never repeat itself. So, these are things that are part and parcel of certain family situations. But I am hoping that these are things that will be resolved amicably, because these properties, when the time comes, you leave them and go. In all honesty, the Ikemba himself was a very fair man and he didn’t try to lord it over his brothers; he was always very accommodating. I see no reason they should try and take advantage of the situation just because he is no longer there. Yes, he is their brother, but they have no right to inherit what is his; he has children and they should wait for the Will to be read.”
It would be recalled that the war in Ojukwu’s family had been raging for long. Even before the remains of the defunct Biafra warloard was committed to earth, his two eldest sons – Emeka (Jnr.) and Debe – had also been bickering over who indeed is Ojukwu’s first son. While Debe is older, Emeka (Jnr.) had been holding on to the first child position because his own mother (Njideka) was officially married by his father unlike Debe’s. The name of Debe’s mother is Margaret. The war then almost led to the disruption of Ikemba’s burial extravaganza on Friday, March 2, 2012. But like Debe later explained in an interview: “Due to my nature, I decided not to allow the hostility impede the burial activities of my father, a man I still respect so much, even in death…Despite all they tried to do to me, I was actively involved in the funeral activities. I was visible in all the states where my father’s corpse was taken to for full military honour. The only place I was not actively involved was the burial in our home town, Nnewi. That day, I had to attend to some private issues…”
Interestingly, beyond the war in Ojukwu’s nuclear family is that of the extended family – which involves him and his brothers – and which had been lingering even before his death. The brothers: Joseph, Emmanuel, Lotanna, Edward, Ike and Lotanna want their late father’s properties (on 29, Queen’s Drive, Ikoyi; 30, Gerrad Road, Ikoyi; 4, Macpherson Avenue, Ikoyi; 13, Ojora Road, Ikoyi and 32, Commercial Avenue, Yaba, Lagos) shared.
Although they couldn’t do much while Ojukwu lived, now that he is no more, the battle has assumed another dimension with all of them uniting forces to ease out the lawyer managing the properties (employed by Ojukwu) with theirs. The old lawyer is Omuojine and Associates and the new one – Emeka Onyemelukwe and Associates.
Ojukwu’s father, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was a billionaire businessman. In fact, he was one of Nigeria’s richest men in his time, with multi-billion investments here and there. The Nnewi, Anambra born businessman is even reputed to have ‘borrowed’ the Federal Government of Nigeria his Rolls Royce to chauffeur the Queen of England during her visit to Nigeria. He died in 1966, leaving behind a Will which only very few people in the family allegedly sighted before its disappearance. His vast estate had been enmeshed in controversies and litigations since then. And now it is beginning to assume another dimension.
In response to Bianca’s bombshell, Dr. Ike Ojukwu, a grandson of Odumegwu Ojukwu who spoke on behalf of the family said: “The property belong to Ojukwu Transport Limited. They do not belong to Ikemba; they do not belong to Bianca. They belong to Ojukwu Transport Limited…In the Ojukwu Transport Company, his (Ojukwu) individual shares amounts to about seven percent. He is not the only son of Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu…”
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