Zik's wife calls on those agitating for Biafra to honour her husband's memory and support one Nigeria

FORMER Nigerian president Nnamdi Azikiwe's widow has appealed to her fellow Igbos to abandon calls for the recreation of the defunct republic of Biafra and keep faith in the unity of the country in honour of the memories of the nation’s founding fathers.


Professor Uche Azikiwe, the wife of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria's first president, who was in office between 1960 and 1966, has called on those demanding the dismemberment of the nation to honour the legacy of her late husband. She noted that the late Azikiwe and his contemporaries like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and others, would turn in their graves if the country disintegrated.


It was Dr Azikiwe who took over as Nigeria's first ever governor-general at independence in 1960 and who later became president in 1963 when the country became a republic. A passionate believer in one Nigeria, Azikiwe briefly supported Biafra when it was first declared in 1967 but by may 1968, he abandoned the cause and asked the then Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu to surrender.


Speaking at the Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State during the institution’s second convocation lecture with the theme National Reconciliation and the Role of Universities,’ Mrs Azikiwe said the founding fathers sacrificed a lot for the unity of the country and as such Nigeria must not disintegrate. She also called for reconciliation among various warring groups in the country to ensure the desired peace.


Mrs Azikiwe said:  “The country should not be allowed to disintegrate during our time because if it does, my husband and his contemporaries would turn in their graves. These founding fathers sacrificed a lot for us to be one irrespective of their differences and this should make us to collectively find solutions to the problems threatening to disintegrate us.


“We should call upon God in solving the problems and seriously address issues of injustice, inequality, among others which threaten our corporate existence as an entity. The nation’s political class should also be called to order because we gave them the mandates to lead us but unfortunately, they are not doing so rightly.”


Popularly known as Zik, Dr Azikiwe was seen as a true Nigerian, as he was born in the north, grew up in the west and originated from the east. Zik was first elected as a member of the Western House of Assembly, representing Ajegunle in Lagos State.