Widow of late Biaf-ran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odu-megwu Ojukwu, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, and her children were said to have been more favoured than their other relations in the sharing of their father’s property as Ojukwu’s Will was read at the Enugu High Court.
The Will which was expected to have brought peace to the family now wrangling over who should control the assets left behind by the late Ikemba Nnewi since his demise on November 26, last year, has however been rejected by some of the beneficiaries through Emeka Ojukwu jnr.
In rejecting the Will which was read at the High Court by the Chief Registrar, Enugu Judiciary and Probate, Mr Dennis Ekoh, Ojukwu jnr called it a ruse.
They accused Bianca and her lawyer of allegedly causing trouble with the issue.
’’What I have to say about the Will is my position on it. It is Bianca and the lawyer that are doing what they are doing. We are waiting for the Will to be read; then I can make a statement on it. For the Will to be read, all of us, my brothers and all the beneficiaries would have to be present. And if the Will does not reflect the wish of my father, which we all know, we shall go to court,’’ he said.
Earlier, Bianca and her two sons had dragged Ojukwu’s brothers before the Lagos High Court over the control of Ojukwu Transport Limited’s, OTL’s, property situated at No. 29 Queen’s Drive, Ikoyi,Lagos, where Ojukwu once resided. The Will which was read by Mr. Ekoh also threw up some surprises when an ‘unknown’ name Tenny Harman was mentioned as number one among the late Ojukwu’s children.
There were to be more shockers as the name of Sylvester Ojukwu popularly called “Dede” was conspicuously omitted from the list endorsed by Ojukwu himself as his children just as Emeka Ojukwu (Jnr) only got a property in Umudim Nnewi, Ojukwu’s hometown as his entitlement.
After appointing Bianca, the late Igwe of Oraukwu, Emeka Ojukwu and James Chukwuneme as trustees and executors of the will the names of the children were next; and the late Ikemba stated that only the eight listed and no other person should be regarded as his children.
The eight children listed are Tenny Harman, Emeka Ojukwu, Mmegha, Okigbo, Ebele, Chineme, Afam, and Nwachukwu.
Bianca who arrived the Enugu High Court premises in a black Prado Jeep at about 8:30 could not hide her surprise when the strange name of Tenny was mentioned among Ojukwu’s children as she started whispering with family members in the registrar’s office with her.
Apart from Bianca, other family members who were in court to listen to the Chief Registrar included Mr. Mike Ezemba and Mr Val Nwosu; Ojukwu’s first cousin. They however declined comments on the matter as they left in different vehicles that brought them to the court premises.
Bianca, who is currently Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain would be all smiles later as the will awarded her Ojukwu’s Enugu mansion ‘Casabianca’ located at No: 7 Forest Crescent GRA, which the late Ikemba Nnewi had named after her. She is to also replace Ojukwu on the board of the Ojukwu Transport Limited, OTL, or appoint a representative in the management board.
Bianca heaved a sigh of relief as the Will clearly gave her a stake in the controversial OTL. The company was founded by Ojukwu’s father, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu who died in 1966, but left several assets behind for his children especially in Lagos under the OTL.
Ojukwu according to the Vanguard transferred his interest in the company to his widow and children in the Will, which reads inter alia, “Bianca and her children should take over my place at my transport…she may also wish to appoint somebody to represent her at the board…”
Bianca also got two properties located at plot 20 Jabi Abuja, with Certificate of Occupancy number 4405, as well as another property located at Kuje,Abuja.
The late Eze-Igbo also willed all his personal effects, monies and cars for Bianca and her children’s upkeep.
He also allotted to Bianca two hectares of land at Umuezeani Umudim Nnewi, ‘’If she does not remarry.’’
Ojukwu’s strange daughter Tenny, who was said to be unknown to members of the family before now, was allotted Jubilee Hotels,Zaria; but when the will was read it was observed that the hotel had been sold thus she would receive the proceeds from the sale.
For the former Commissioner in AnambraState, Emeka Ojukwu, who was generally regarded as Ojukwu’s first son, it was not a fair deal as he got only a house in Umudim Nnewi. Ojukwu further willed a hectare of land each to all his daughters but directed that his Nnewi property is “to remain a binding legacy to us for generations to come.“
As the controversy over the Will of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu continues, his son, Mr. Emeka Ojukwu Jr., a former commissioner for special duties and transport in Anambra State, has said he did not need any Will to take over his father’s house in Nnewi.
Speaking, Ojukwu Jr. said he had taken over the house according to Igbo tradition that stipulates that the first son should automatically and traditionally inherit his father’s house and compound in the event of the father’s death.
The Nnewi mansion was given to Emeka Jr in the controversial Will read last week in Enugu, while Ojukwu’s multi–million naira commercial property located at Sokoto road, Onitsha, was given to him to manage, while the Ikemba was still alive and it was not reflected in the Will.
Emeka, however, said other contents of the Will were subject to challenge at the law court, adding that it was left for his father’s lawyer who prepared the original Will to take action before he (Emeka) contacted his own lawyer for any possible litigation.
Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the family over the Will took a new dimension with a director in Ojukwu Transport Limited, OTL, one of the companies mentioned in the Will, saying the late Ikemba’s wife, Bianca, had no stake in the company.
A director of the company, Mr. Ifeukwu Ojukwu, who is based in the United States of America, USA, said the company, owned by their late father and grandfather, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was a different property from the private property of late Ikemba Nnewi, arguing that Bianca could not claim the trustee of the company as conferred on her in the Will.
It would be recalled that the will had given the trustees of the company belonging to the late Ojukwu to Bianca which the eldest son to Ojukwu Emeka Jr. described as untrue and improper.
Ifeukwu Ojukwu said: “Bianca was neither a trustee member, nor a director of OTL and it is good to note that OTL is a different property from the things late Ikemba Nnewi left behind because the directorship cannot be transferred through a Will.
“I attended a meeting of OTL directors and Bianca was not there and she is not even a member of the board of directors and she cannot lay claim to that.”
He explained that all the directors of OTL were in full support of Emeka Ojukwu (Jr.) as the head of the Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu’s family, recalling that the late Ikemba told him that Emeka was his first son and head of the family in the event of his death.
He added that members of the family would support him in whatever he decided to do.
In a report by the Nation, missiles were fired again in the battle ignited by the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s Will.
His lawyer, Mr. Emeka Onyemelukwe, joined issues with Mr. Emeka Ojukwu Jnr.
Ojukwu Jnr had disowned the lawyer, saying he was never counsel to the late Ikemba Nnewi and vowed not to respect the Will read by him.
The Will has generated much controversy since it was read in the High Court of Enugu.
Defending his long-standing relationship with the late Ikemba of Nnewi with documents yesterday, Onyemelukwe said he prepared Ojukwu’s Will in July, 2005 and the CODICIL which gave details of the contents and corrections of what was missing on the original Will, with Ojukwu on July 24, 2009.
He insisted that the late Biafran warlord had no other Will and that the one read in the court last week was incontestable.
Onyemelukwe said: “It was a blatant lie for Emeka Ojukwu Jr to say that he did not know me and that I was not his father’s lawyer. When I was the person that prepared the legal documents for Ojukwu’s commercial property at No 26, Sokoto Road, Onitsha, yielding millions of naira, which Emeka Jr is managing and collecting rent and was the lawyer that handled Ojukwu’s case against the Federal Government from the High Court to the Supreme Court.
“I was also the Master of Ceremony (MC) when Emeka Jr. wedded the daughter of the late Chief Cyprian Ekwensi at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu. The reception was held at Nike Lake Hotel, with Justice Iguh, formerly of the Supreme Court, as the chairman of that wedding.
“Before Ojukwu’s Will was read, I was the one that sent text messages to all the parties concerned, including Emeka Jr.
“I got his two telephone numbers from Mr. Val Nwosu, the late Ojukwu’s nephew. The text reads: The Will of your late father will be read on Friday, 20th November, 2012 at the Probate Registry at the Enugu High Court. Kindly inform Okigbo and Mi Mi (Ojukwu’s other children).
“I also sent the text to Ebele, who is the late Ojukwu’s daughter from Stella Onyeador, Mark Ezemba, who was Ojukwu’s best man during his wedding with Bianca. So, the pretence by Emeka that he was not informed about the reading of the Will did not hold water.
“His claim that I was not his father’s lawyer is also not true. On 24th July, 2009, I was the person that registered the power of attorney for the late Ojukwu for the property at No 7 Forest Crescent, Enugu.
“ I am also in possession of the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the late Ojukwu’s landed property contained in the Will.
“There were even other documents which Ojukwu gave me. In the Will, which I prepared with Ojukwu, the following persons were named as Ojukwu’s children: Tenni Hamman (daughter), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (son), Mmegha Odumegwu Ojukwu (daughter), Okigbo Odumegwu Ojukwu (son), Ebele Odumegwu Ojukwu (daughter) Chineme Odumegwu Ojukwu (son), Afam Odumegwu Ojukwu (son) and Nwachukwu Odumegwu Ojukwu (son).”
The lawyer also debunked the insinuation that Ojukwu’s widow, Bianca, had pre-knowledge of the contents of the Will before it was read.
He said: “What I knew was that Ojukwu asked Bianca to bring all the documents when I was going to prepare the Will and anytime we were writing the Will, I was doing it with Ojukwu in his library at the Forest Crescent in Enugu.”
Onyemelukwe said he was shocked by the late Ikemba’s decision to Will the mansion at Nnewi to Emeka Jr because, according to him, it was Bianca who pressurized her late husband to build a house in Nnewi.
The lawyer said: “That was when Ojukwu was managing toll gates during the regime of Abacha and the person managing it for Ojukwu was asked to design and build the house at Nnewi.
“Before then, Ojukwu’s bungalow had burnt down and Ezeigbo had no place to stay whenever he came to Nnewi.”
He claimed that Ojukwu Jnr. benefited so much from his late father.
The lawyer said the Sokoto Street lock-up shops, consisting of more than 30 stalls under the mangement of Emeka and yielding millions of naira, was not included in the controversial Will.