The President-General of the Nnewi Town Union, Nzuko Ora Nnewi, Chief Ugochukwu Udemezue, on Saturday, confirmed the death of Debe Ojukwu, the first son of the late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Initial reports on Saturday indicated that the 60-year-old son of the Biafran warlord died in a Lagos hospital in the early hours of the day.
Confirming Debe’s death to journalists, Udemezue said Debe had told some of his kinsmen earlier in the week that he had high blood sugar.
Describing the death as a rude shock, Udemezue said the community had been thrown into mourning since the news broke.
He stated, “Anaedo, Umudim and indeed the entire Nnewi will miss Debe and will all be involved in his burial.
“My heart is broken and those of the people of Nnewi too. Yes, he is dead. He died on Friday.
“He spoke with some people on Monday and Tuesday where he complained of high blood sugar. When the time comes for his burial, everybody will be fully involved because he is our son.”
When contacted on the telephone, Ojukwu’s widow, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, told SUNDAY PUNCH that it was not her role to make announcements about dead persons in the Ojukwu family.
“According to our tradition, it is not my role to make such announcements. We have elders in the family who have such duties and functions. It’s not part of my duties,” she stated.
Calls to Emeka Ojukwu for a confirmation of the death were not answered.
Debe, who was said to been born in1958, had had a running battle with the family over his paternity.
During the burial of his late father in 2011 at Nnewi, some family members stopped Debe from active participation in the funeral at the family compound.
He had to relocate to a nearby space from the family house to host his visitors, a situation that nearly triggered an uproar amongst the elders of the community who it was gathered had high regard for Debe as the first son of Ojukwu.
When Ojukwu’s will was read in 2012, Debe’s name was not mentioned in the document, a situation the late Debe challenged in court, describing the will as a concocted document.
Describing himself as the “clone” of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Debe at several times called for a DNA test to confirm his paternity to end the entire controversy.