By Anayo Okoli – Enugu
Widow of late Biafra Leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu has embarked on a project to immortalize Bruce Mayrock, the 20-year-old man who set himself ablaze on May, 29th, 1969 in front of the United Nation Building in New York in order to draw the attention of the world to the plight of the Biafran people who were being massacred by the Nigerian troops.
The young man had never met any Biafran but through what they were passing through, he believed they were at the brink of extermination hence the need to engage in a desperate war for survival.
He paid the ultimate prize for them, set him ablaze in front of UN Building in New York, United States of America and died in the early hours of 30th May, 1969.
No doubt the project located few meters away from the Umudim Nnewi native home of late Dim Ojukwu will be a world attention.
According to Ambassador Ojukwu, the issue of immortalizing the young man had been in Dim Ojukwu’s mind till he passed on. It was very passionate for him as reflected by the widow in post she put out: “In the days following the stroke which would eventually take his life, one issue weighed heavily on Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s mind.
That ‘issue’ was the immortalisation of Bruce Mayrock, the 20-year-old man who set himself ablaze on May, 29th, 1969 in front of the United Nation Building in New York in order to draw the attention of the world to the plight…
Unfortunately, he could not make it but knowing how dearly he held the dream, the widow stepped in to ensure that the dream id fulfilled.
According to Bianca Ojukwu, “steadily I embarked, stage by stage, upon Project Mayrock which, to the Glory of God, is nearing completion and slated for commissioning by the end of the year”.
Giving an insight into the project, Mrs. Ojukwu said, “the Mayrock is a three story edifice including a conference hall with Projectors, an exhibition floor that will house artistic depictions, iconic photos and historic scenes of our 30 month long heroic battle for survival. Sculptures of Bruce Mayrock will adorn the landscape and memorial hall.
“Pupils from various schools will have an opportunity to visit and learn more about our struggle. The buildings and some of the artworks as shown here are still in process, however since these particular anniversary marks 50 years of the end of the Biafra War -a momentous milestone, I thought it timely to share this initiative.
“The only input you are required to make into this project is to pass on the story of this selfless sacrifice, and that of so many others to our struggle, to your children. ‘A nation which forgets it’s defenders will itself be forgotten’ (Calvin Coolidge)”.
“My appreciation goes to to the architects and Arcon builders, the sculptors, artists as well the curators working with me on this project, to my children for their research and assistance and very importantly, my profound thanks to Chief C. Martins Ndujepu.
We started this journey together. ?To our departed Leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu…., On yet another anniversary of the self immolation and death of Bruce Mayrock, it is my honour to affirm to you – Ikemba Igbo nine, General Of the People’s Army, Odum n’eche
Igbo…that we have not forgotten; and the promise is fulfilled.
“The memories of our Martyr Bruce and of all those who gave their lives that we may live are enshrined in our hearts and minds. Generations yet unborn will be reminded of their sacrifice. The Mayrock Memorial Building stands as a monument and tribute to uncommon courage and heroism.
“Brother Bruce, the people of Biafra, Land of rising Sun, today raise their trumpets in your honor. Again, we say thank you. We will never forget you”, Bianca assured.