The biggest news out of Nigeria this week is undoubtedly the altercation between Bianca, the widow of the late Biafran leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu and Ebele Obiano, the immediate past First Lady of Anambra State, on Thursday afternoon in Awka, the Anambra State capital.
The occasion was the inauguration ceremony of Governor Charles Soludo, an incident that momentarily disrupted the swearing-in ceremony.
Mrs Ojukwu slapped Mrs Obiano after the latter stood up from her seat and walked up to where Mrs Ojukwu.
Setting the records straight on Friday, Mrs Ojukwu said her action was an act of self-defence against Mrs Obiano, who attempted to remove her headgear in public.
Mrs Ojukwu, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, explained that she ignored several provocative verbal and physical assaults from the former first lady, whom she alleged were intoxicated by alcohol. Mrs Obiano is yet to comment on the matter publicly.
Following the incident, Mrs Ojukwu has once again found herself suddenly thrust into the limelight.
At the same time, the term ‘Inaugural Slap’ continues to generate debate and trends on several social media platforms.
But long before the infamous slap, Mrs Ojukwu has always been a media darling because of her strides in pageantry, her well-celebrated affair, marriage to Mr Ojukwu, and her political leanings.
Just in case, you have you need a refresher; this PREMIUM TIMES article revisits ten times Mrs Ojukwu has made headlines.
10. 1987- 1989 Beauty queen with many crowns
From the early 1990s till date, Bianca’s name has become synonymous with beauty. A multiple international pageant titleholder, Bianca emerged as the winner of Miss Martini in 1987 and the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 1988.
She reigned through most of 1989, mainly when she emerged as Miss Africa 1989 at the pageant held in The Gambia.
Bianca represented Nigeria at the Miss World in Hong Kong and Miss Universe in Mexico following her win.
In the same year, she achieved success when she won Miss Intercontinental and was named Miss Congeniality at the now-defunct Miss Charm International in Russia, where she was also a semi-finalist.
She made history as the first Nigerian and African to win Miss The Intercontinental pageant.
9. 1989 – Affair with Ojukwu, the warlord
Her high profile and fame ensured that she was the toast of many, including her father’s close political associate, Odimegwu Ojukwu.
In no time, the news of her romantic relationship with Mr Ojukwu, who was 34 years older than her, spurred controversies and was a topic of national discussion in the 1990s.
8. 1989 – Renouncing her Crown
Amidst their controversial relationship, a young Bianca was under immense pressure, which was increasingly unbearable as the day went by, causing her to resign as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN).
However, since the MBGN holders are restrained from having public love affairs, she decided to relinquish her crown despite not acknowledging or debunking her affair with Mr Ojuwku at the time.
The first runner-up, Regina Askia, assumed her position and completed Bianca’s tenure as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria.
Her main concern for the young beauty queen was completing her education as a Law student, and no beauty crown was worth letting go of Mr Ojuwku, who was madly in love with her.
7. 1994 – Wedding
Although Bianca and Ojukwu had been in a relationship since 1989, they formally married on November 12, 1994.
The wedding was the talk of the town in those days; it was a lavish wedding ceremony in Abuja. Bianca was 22, while Mr Ojukwu was in his 50s.
Their union is blessed with three children Chineme, Afamefuna, and Nwachukwu.
6. 1994 – Mission Impossible
Her father, Christian Onoh, never supported her decision to partake in beauty pageants and had banned her from coming home after she emerged the MBGN winner in 1988.
Although it took him a while to come around, Bianca’s marriage to his political associate, Mr Ojukwu, was an even more bitter pill to swallow.
Mr Onoh gave his inlaw an arduous task.
Mrs Ojukwu, who regularly shares her personal stories on her Facebook page, recently revealed that her father requested that her husband present ‘100 pre-independence copper coins’ as her bride price.
She wrote, “He demanded a bride price of 100 pre-independence copper coins (those old coins with a hole in the middle), and where could anyone readily find these scarce coins, and in such quantity in 2001?
“And so, he dispatched people to various parts of the country in search of the old coins. But unfortunately, it cost so much more to source the coins than they were worth. Years later, when I asked my father what informed his request, he said I had to make it quite difficult for him. If it were purely a matter of paying money…Being a man of great means, he would have been prepared to pay any amount, no matter how huge, as bride price. That would have been easy for him. But in your marriage, anytime he makes you upset, and you threaten to head back home to us, he will remember the difficulty in procuring your bride price!”
5. 2011 – Ojukwu’s Widow
After almost 17 years of marriage, Mr Ojukwu died in the United Kingdom after a brief illness, aged 78. He was buried in a newly built mausoleum in his compound at Nnewi.
The legendary beauty queen focused on her marriage and business, despite political offers that kept knocking on her door.
4. 2012 – Fights with family
Following the death of her husband, Bianca was thrust into a lengthy legal battle with Ojukwu’s first son, Debe Odumegwu Ojukwu.
The battle, characterised by a series of court cases, spurred a great deal of controversy about the late Biafran leader and the chaos in his family.
At the end of the court battle, which ruled in her favour, Mrs Ojuwkwu had the lion’s share of her late husband’s will.
3. 2011- 2012 – Appointments
Shortly after her husband’s death, she had some diplomatic appointments that brought her to the forefront of politics.
In 2011, she was appointed Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs by President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2012 she became Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ghana. In the same year, she was appointed the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Kingdom Of Spain.
2. 2013 – Alleged affair with Fani- Kayode
After she was appointed Ambassador to Spain, another controversy surfaced.
In his controversial piece ‘A Word For Those Who Call Me A Tribalist’, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation, claimed he had a “long-standing and intimate relationship” with Mrs Ojukwu while she was unmarried.
The piece stirred a brief media frenzy as journalists reached out to her for a reaction.
Mr Fani-Kayode would later apologise, saying he regretted naming three of his former girlfriends – one of them Bianca Ojukwu, as evidence he was not anti-Igbo.
1. 2022 – Infamous inaugural slap
Mrs Ojukwu has maintained a low profile save for her ambassadorial duties and her political leanings not until Thursday’s ‘inaugural slap’ that has once again thrust her into the spotlight.
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