By Olisemeka Obeche
Tributes have been pouring into the Nwobosi family home in Obosi, Idemili North local government area of Anambra state, following the death of Colonel Emma Nworah Nwobosi, one of the surviving architects of the January 1966 coup d’état and a hero of the Nigeria civil war.
Nwobosi, a young captain in the Nigerian army, participated in the January 15, 1966 coup and, later, became the chief of staff to the late Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and led Biafran troops in different battles in defence of the young Republic of Biafra during the civil war, died on October 24, 2020, aged 82.
His passage at his country home, Obosi, after a brief age-related illness was confirmed by his son, Emmanuel Nwobosi (Jnr) on behalf of the family. The junior Nwobosi, a special assistant in Governor Willie Obiano’s cabinet, further disclosed that the family would later give details of his funeral arrangement.
Orient Weekend gathered that, shortly after the news of the Nwobosi family patriarch’s death reached the Anambra Government House, Governor Obiano, accompanied by the state commissioner for health, Dr. Vincent Okpala, the special adviser to the governor on diaspora affairs, Tony Muonagor, among others, headed to Obosi where they were received by the deceased’s family members and kinsmen.
Obiano, paying his condolence, described Nwobosi as a legend whom he enjoyed working closely with, in his lifetime especially during the ‘Ozoemezina’ mass burial for Nigeria/Biafra war victims, held at Dr Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka.
Similarly, the House of Representatives representative for Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, Chris Emeka Azubogu, described Nworah Nwobosi as a trusted leader who lived a life worthy of emulation.
In a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Emeka Onyia, the lawmaker, disclosed that Nwobosi, apart from being the most trusted companion of the late Biafra warlord, Ojukwu, was a blessing to Nigeria and Ndigbo.
Nwobosi’s exploits as a Biafran military officer and continued clamour for Biafra made him a popular figure among the Igbo, especially Biafra agitators. Speaking with Orient Daily in an exclusive interview as a Biafra survivor last June, Nwobosi had confessed his undying wish for Biafra (interview on pages 26 & 27).
When asked if he could give his blessing for the continued clamour for separation from Nigeria for Biafra, the octogenarian was affirmative. “Of course, I do. From the way people of the south east are being treated in the present-day Nigeria, it becomes evident that we are rejected.
As an Igbo adage would say, a rejected man does not reject himself. We cannot reject ourselves. We should rather work hard to achieve our own independence. I did the coup; I fought the war; I also want to see Biafra realizsd.”
He went further: “This agitation led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a step in the right direction. He needs to be supported. I just wish our people would be focused enough to speak with one voice; not this person saying this today and, tomorrow, another person will start saying a different thing.”
Expectedly, the social media has been awash with tributes from people for Nwobosi.
Francis Duru wrote: “He was among the IDEALISTIC group of Army officers who, in 1966, thought they had a country that could be salvaged. They staged a bloody coup which was badly managed and tragically misinterpreted as an Igbo coup. Events spiralled out of control, eventually leading to loss of millions of Igbo lives in a GENOCIDAL war that Britain supervised.
“Emma trained in the best traditions of the British military at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. He was an artillery officer and played his role in the ensuing war to save his people.”