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Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, (Born 1933) a Lt. Col in the Nigerian Army, was instructed by a meeting of customary chiefs in the Eastern region of Nigeria, held at Umuhia, to declare Independence under the name Biafra. He agreed to lead the new country which was the first nation in West Africa formed by Africans. Basically, this conflict was caused by a pogrom in the Northern Moslem Region against Christian/Animists from the eastern region. The Northerners were unhappy that the Sarduna of Sokoto, the leader of the Northern region and Nigerian Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafewa Belawa were killed in the Jan 16th, 1966 coup, led by an Igbo lieutenant, and that no Igbo leaders were killed. General Johnson T.U.Agui Ironsi, who commandeered the coup straight away, was also an Igbo. Gen. Ironsi appointed Lt. Col. Ojukwu as military leader in the Eastern Region.

Colonel Ojukwu, a very competent commander survived the war and returned to Nigeria where he lives now. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of Nigeria in the 2003 election.