The family of the late Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, has again denied having any relationship with late Sylvester Debe Ojukwu, who before his demise laid claim to being the first son of Ojukwu.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Nnewi, Anambra State, spokesman of the Ojukwu dynasty, Mr. Ifeukwu Ojukwu, described Debe, who died in Lagos on November 3, 2018, as an impostor, saying that “the man’s real name before he changed it was Mr. Sylvester Udeh.”
He maintained that the funeral of Sylvester is not their business but entirely the affair of his family.
Ifeukwu said: “He was born Sylvester Udeh. He later changed his name to Ojukwu at the age of 21 years. Ikemba never accepted him as his child. Even now, his Will where he listed all his children, his name is not there.
“Members of the Ojukwu family have not been notified of his death and they are not aware of the burial. This man that was claimed in the obituary poster as the first son of Ikemba, had his family buying a land where they buried him.
“How can Ikemba’s first son buy a land where he would be buried? Ikemba never accepted him even in his death. He said it is the father that knows the son not the other way round. If Ikemba was a poor man, will Sylvester be coming out to claim him? He was just trying to force himself on him. So these are the questions that we should be asking.
“How can you claim to be the first son of Ikemba and there is no provision for where you will be buried? How can you change your name and the document you went to school with? He was answering Sylvester Udeh in the secondary school at Federal Government College Umuahia. People that went to school with him know him as Sylvester Udeh. That is why he can’t bring his Birth Certificate.”
While explaining that in Nnewi culture, when somebody dies, the kinsmen would be called with kola nut and drink to formally make the announcement, Ifeukwu said nothing like that has happened, “so, the family has nothing to do with the burial”.
Responding to a question on whether Barrister Debe Ojukwu should have put in more efforts while Dim Ojukwu was alive to press home the point of his sonship, Ifeukwu replied: “It’s just that we don’t consider him as one of the sons of Ikemba. After the burial of Ikemba, he sued the family, but he lost the case. Justice Abba told him that the onus is on him to prove his paternity through DNA.
“Ikemba brought Emeka to Nnewi and introduced him to his Umunna (kindred) as his first son. He did it when he was alive. When somebody writes his Will and list all his children and says anybody that is not here is the not my child, it should be taken that way.
“Sylvester Udeh, which I call him, is a complete conman. If you ask him, he will tell you that his mother was Ikemba’s first wife. His mother never married Ikemba. So how can he say his mother is Ikemba’s first wife?
“I can tell you who Ikemba’s first wife is. The first wife was a nurse, but she did not have a child for Ikemba. The second wife was Emeka Jnr’s mother. Bianca is the fourth wife because he also married Stella Onyeador from Arodinzuogu.
“Sylvester was a DSP in the police and Ikemba called former Nigerian Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, and told him that there is an impostor using his name. They later transferred him to Sokoto and a few months later he was forced to resign from the Police. After his resignation, the family became sympathetic. If someone says you are not his son, it can affect you psychologically but if I were him, I would have just gone my way. So the family became sympathetic and asked him to go and collect rent and manage the family estate on the basis of 30%. He was supposed to remit 70% to the family. This is unheard of. This guy collected the rent 100% and did not remit a dime. It is part of the reason why this happened. This case was dragged to court and judgment was given against him. It is rumoured that the judgment affected him and he died of heart attack.”
Ifeukwu noted that late Ikemba did not raise Debe in any way, neither did he pay his school fees, adding: “Sylvester met Ikemba when he was an adult. Ikemba claimed the daughter of a Hausa woman as his child, so there must be a reason best known to him why he should disown Sylvester.”