That ‘valedictory slap’ on a First Lady



Among several highpoints of Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo’s inauguration as the new governor of Anambra state, none rivaled it. Nothing, perhaps, could have. The incident was an ‘inauguration drama’ of sort. The show of ‘feminist superiority’, which yours truly will prefer to dub the ‘ugly incident’, manifested in a ‘rain of insults, fire and fury.’

On the day Soludo, a former governor of the Nigerian Central Bank, CBN, had a date with history, by taking over the mantle of leadership from Governor Willie Obiano, a better-forgotten event welcomed him to his new abode, the Government House in Awka.

By noon of Thursday, March 17, 2022, reports of how Ebelechukwu Obiano gave Bianca Ojukwu, a ‘hot’ (if not dirty) slap at the Government House inauguration venue of Prof. Soludo, had already filtered in. It was the staple item for a barrage of insightful commentaries, not only on social media platforms, but also on various electronic media, beer parlour joints and group gatherings.

However, it was reliably gathered that Bianca, contrary to earlier reports, was actually the one who flashed some rounds of hot slap(s) on the face of Ebelechukwu, the immediate-past First Lady of the state.

It will surely be a grueling task carrying out an investigation on what may have caused the no-love-lost relationship between Bianca, a former Nigerian beauty queen, and Ebelechukwu, ex-Governor Obiano’s wife, who is already eyeing a senatorial seat in Anambra, in the next general election.

But one thing this writer knows about Bianca, first, is that she is the widow of the legendary ‘Igbo warlord’, and one of Nigeria’s most iconic personalities of all time, Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who passed away in 2011.

Well, if everyone is familiar with her relationship with Ojukwu, the self-styled ‘rebel’ who fought for the liberation of the Igbo race from Nigeria in the late 60s, many are unaware of the fact that Bianca is actually ‘a chip off the old block’.

Like her father, Christian Chukuwuma Onoh, popularly addressed as CC Onoh, Bianca, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Spain, is a no-nonsense lady. She brooks no challenge to her ‘majesterial’ authority. Hiding behind her stupendous beauty is that fiery and fearless nature she took from her father, who was once the dreaded lion and enfant terrible of Nigerian politics.

The late CC Onoh was a successful businessman and lawyer who became governor of Anambra State, in controversial circumstances, in 1983, at the end of the Nigerian Second Republic. He was a thorn in the flesh of the South East political class in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Armed with a bulldozing courage to stand up to superior authorities, Onoh’s political ideology and ethical convictions about issues were solely responsible for the running battles he had with many Igbo and South East elders, during the First and Second Republic.

Extremely obstinate, cerebral and iconoclastic, the late C.C Onoh was an interviewers’/journalists’ delight but was a consistent source of worry to the establishment at state and national levels. He once told a journalist in an interview that being a patriotic Nigerian was never his priority, describing himself first as a Waawa (a sub-Igbo tribe) man, then an Igbo man before being a Nigerian.

Many of his contemporaries saw Onoh as an arrogant personality. Even in his old age, the extreme self-confidence he was known for in his youth never left him. He once attacked a sitting President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on national television for nominating him for a national honour he considered unbefitting of his status. He wanted the President to give him one of the highest honours in the land and not the one meant for “small boys”.

Bianca apparently took the DNA of obstinacy from her late father, and a no-nonsense attitude from her late husband; the Biafran warlord who she married in controversial circumstances in the 1990s. Damning all consequences, Bianca married Ojukwu, her father’s friend and contemporary despite the strong objections from Onoh to their union.

Ojukwu, the late Ikemba of Nnewi, was over thirty years Bianca’s senior. The Ojukwu-Bianca romance was a national talking point in the early 1990s. Bianca has tough skin and she has seen it all. She has fought battles all her life and has never lost. She demystifies the unbeatable and makes her enemies appear clueless. She defeated her own extremely stubborn father, beat other beautiful contestants to become Miss Nigeria, conquered Ojukwu’s heart and has fiercely put her husband’s (step) children in their place ever since Ikemba died.

On the day of the historic slap, the former First Lady actually left her seat to go and attack Bianca who was calmly seated far away from trouble, and challenged her for attending the ceremony after she had allegedly bragged that Obiano would never become governor. The rest is now history.

What baffled and still baffles many Nigerians is how and why Ebelechukwu embarked on that walk of shame, knowing full well the kind of blood that runs in Bianca’s veins.

Whatever historians write about Soludo’s inauguration – which was meant to be low-key until the two warring ladies made it the talk of the town – it will be difficult if not impossible to leave out or forget the rain of slaps which was provoked by an overbearing, arrogant and restless misfit, and appropriately delivered by a real beauty queen whose face displays elegance, innocence and class but whose belly contains the fire, venom and poison she inherited from her forebears.

Mahmud, an Abuja-based media practitioner, writes via [email protected]