By Uchendu Precious Onuoha
This is an excerpt of a dirge from the book ‘Mnemonic Verses’ dedicated to, one of the greatest men ever born of a woman, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the people’s General, who departed this world on this day 8 years ago.
A Hero’s Dirge – Bianca Ojukwu
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
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 dream 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…
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
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,
You are a Hero.
God keep you.
We shall see after.