Buhari, Jonathan, Gbajabiamila, SGF, Atiku, Obi, Tinubu, Okowa Mourn Late Ohaneze Leader, Obiozor
*Say his death immeasurable loss to NigeriaDeji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale, Udora Orizu in Abuja, Amby Uneze in Owerri and Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
President Muhammadu Buhari; former President, Goodluck Jonathan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; Labour Party, Peter Obi; All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, have joined millions of Nigerians to mourn the demise of the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, worldwide, Prof George Obiozor.
Buhari expressed deep sadness over the incident.
The president in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, extended heartfelt condolences to Obiozor’s family, the government and people of Imo State as well as Ndigbo, at home and in the Diaspora.
Describing his demise as an immeasurable loss to the country, the president noted that the former Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States, High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus, Ambassador to the State of Israel and former Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) exemplified leadership skills and values as a thoroughbred diplomat.
The president believed that the contributions of the unique leader and strong proponent of peace and a stable polity, who also held other strategic public positions would never be forgotten.
Buhari trusted that all who mourn the demise of the statesman, who commanded great respect among his peers in the academia and foreign policy arena, would honour his memory by actively embracing his beliefs and ideas geared towards uniting Nigeria beyond geo-political considerations.
The president said he has fond memories of meeting Obiozor on several occasions, and values his endearing sense of patriotism.
He joined the Igbo nation in mourning the irreparable loss of this great son of Nigeria, even as he prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of the deceased.
Also, Jonathan expressed sadness over the passing of Obiozor, describing his death as a huge loss to the nation.
Jonathan stated this in a condolence message to the Obiozor family and the government and people of Imo State in which he recounted Obiozor’s contributions to the growth and development of the nation.
The former president stated: “On behalf of my family, I commiserate with the Obiozor family, the Government and People of Imo State and Ndigbo in general on the passing of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Professor George Obiozor.
“Professor Obiozor was a great patriot whose love for the nation and his people knew no bounds in his selfless service towards the unity and development of our country.
“He was an accomplished diplomat, globally acclaimed scholar and prolific author with a reputation for charming intellectualism and boisterous engagements in international relations and academic research.
“He was a foremost nationalist and Igbo leader who continued to make remarkable impact even in retirement, having robustly deployed his wisdom, knowledge and experience in the last two years towards advancing the cause of Ndigbo and enhancing national integration, while serving as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“Professor Obiozor left enduring legacies and would be missed not only by his family and friends but by the diplomatic, academic and cultural communities across the world,” the former president was quoted to have stated in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ikechukwu Eze.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives commiserated with the Igbo nation.
Gbajabiamila, who expressed sadness over the passing of the elder statesman, said the late Obiozor was a role model to many.
While noting that he received the news of Obiozor’s death with shock, he sent heartfelt condolences to all Igbo sons and daughters and indeed all Nigerians around the world over the painful loss.
The Speaker prayed to God to give his family and the entire Igbo people the fortitude to bear the loss.
On his part, Atiku in a statement he personally signed, stated that he received the news of Obiozor’s death with rude shock. Atiku noted that the late former Nigerian ambassador to several foreign missions was a huge loss for the country.
Atiku added: “Prof Obiozor was a charismatic personality. He was much at home in any part of Nigeria. He was a consummate diplomat who believed in consensus and had a stabilising influence.
“His wide experience in diplomatic foreign missions garnered over decades and across diverse postings came in very handy in making him a pan-Nigerian.
“Professor Obiozor taught us the essence of large-heartedness because he was generally accepted by even those who were not in support of his candidacy during the election that saw his emergence as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“He was a master of political consensus. A writer famous for his ‘politics of precarious balancing’ in which he espoused balancing the diverse interests in the country. He was a promoter of the unity of the nation. Igbo nation will miss him. The whole nation will miss him.”
Atiku said he shared his condolences with the entire body of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the South-East part of the country and the country as a whole, “over the fall of an Iroko.”
Obi also expressed deep sadness over the death of the Igbo leader and described it as a colossal loss to not only the Igbo nation, but Nigeria as a whole.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor. He was a dear elder brother and friend. Prof. Obiozor was a patriot, renowned academic and diplomat, who served Nigeria and Ohanaeze selflessly and diligently.
“He was witty, well-heeled in history and effusive in his personal charm and warmth. The death of this foremost Igbo leader is a huge loss to the entire Obiozor Family, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nigerians in general.
“On behalf of my family, I commiserate with his family and all who mourn him. May God grant him eternal rest and grant those he left behind the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
Tinubu in a statement issued yesterday, by his Media Office and signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, paid tribute to Obiozor for his distinguished life of service to Nigeria and Igbo race.
The APC Presidential candidate in his condolence message to the family, government and people of Imo State, Ndigbo and Nigerians noted that Obiozor served the country with pride and distinction.
Tinubu however lamented that death has once again robbed Nigeria of one of its finest statesmen.
He said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Ambassador George Obiozor, President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide. This great Igbo leader and Nigeria’s elder statesman was a distinguished academic and diplomat who served his people and entire country with honour, dedication and distinction.
“Ambassador Obiozor’s death at this time has again robbed our dear country of one of its finest public servants and committed leaders.
“As the leader of Ohaneze, Ambassador Obiozor championed the course of national unity and economic development while seeking a more equitable and even-handed federation where all the constituent units and ethnic groups can live together in peace and harmony.
“The ideals of a better and more inclusive country where justice and equity would prevail, which Ambassador Obiozor lived for, will forever be cherished. On behalf of my family, I commiserate with the family of our departed statesman, the Federal Government of Nigeria, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, government and people of Imo State and the entire Igbo people over the passing of Ambassador Obiozor. May God Almighty comfort his loved ones and all those he left behind and also grant his soul eternal rest.”
In his condolence message, Okowa described the deceased as, “an erudite scholar, renowned diplomat, epitome of selflessness and statesmanship.”
In the condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, the governor described the departed as an accomplished and erudite scholar, renowned author and seasoned diplomat who represents an epitome of selflessness and statesmanship.
Nigerians would sorely miss his unblemished services to the nation and to the international community, Okowa noted while praying that God would raise more citizens in the mould of Prof Obiozor to bestride Nigeria’s political and socio-economic firmament.
Okowa stated, “On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I condole with the deceased’s family, the academia, ndi Igbo worldwide, particularly Imo State, on the passing of the renowned diplomat and Igbo leader, Professor George Obiozor.
“We received the news of his passing with shock, but thanked God that he lived a life of great impact and contributed immensely to the international diplomacy and national development.
“As a great patriot and elder statesman, Prof. Obiozor made significant contributions to the growth and stability of our nation through his selfless service to the country and humanity.
“As President-General of Ohanaeze Nd’Igbo Worldwide, he displayed an uncommon wisdom and irrepressible courage in his service to the Igbo nation.
“He would be greatly missed by those whose lives he impacted and inspired in very many ways.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, also expressed shock and sadness over the death of the Ohanaeze boss.
SGF, in a statement signed on his behalf yesterday, by the Director, Information OSGF, Willie Bassey, described Obiozor as a diplomat extraodinaire having served as Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States of America, Israel and Cyprus, distinguished academic, quintessential statesman and a remarkable lover of his people who believed in the unity of the country as well as harmonous coexistence among the people.
He said Obiozor died at a time the country was in dire need of his contributions towards the strengthening of all ethnic nationalities for a cohesive national growth and development.
He condoled with the Government and people of Imo State, Obiozor’s family, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and friends, and prays to God to grant eternal repose to the soul of the departed.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide yesterday officially announced the passage of its president, who died at the age of 80.
In announcing the demise of the leader of the group, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, said: “It is with pain and sorrow in our hearts that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and indeed all the Igbo sons and daughters received the news of the passing of Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor (Ugwumba). Until his death, he was the President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
“Obiozor was a prodigy and an enigma of some sorts: an erudite reflective scholar of world renowned, prophetic intellectual, astute resourceful administrator, sagacious plebian political submarine, seasoned diplomat, cultural reservoir, detribalised patriot, jovial cerebral discussant, among others.
“The most endearing of the Obiozor mystique can be summarised in character; the courage of his convictions, steadfastness and uncompromising commitment to his goals,” he said.
Ogbonnia maintained that Obiozor was sometimes misrepresented and misunderstood because of the silent cautious strategy and tactics with which he pursues his goals but behind the great achiever was an uncommon and perfect gentleman of immense proportions.
The Obiozor life trajectory, according to him, was one of the most enviable.
“He started as a child in Awo-Omamma, went to the USA for further studies, acquired a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), taught in the world class universities and promoted to the rank of a professor of International Relations, served Nigeria in various capacities without blemish as the Director General, Institute of International Affairs, Lagos; Nigerian Ambassador to three countries, Israel, Cyprus and the USA; articulated the Return of Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu with Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and Joe Asogwa in 1982; led the Igbo delegation to the 2014 National Constitutional Conference and ultimately, was elected the President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
He said “Above all, Obiozor in his first world press conference as the President General, at the headquarters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, assured the Igbo that time has come for the age-long collective aspiration of a Nigerian president from the South East of Nigeria.
“He demonstrated his unassailable commitment to the Igbo by leading delegations to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, British Embassy, Chief E. K. Clarke, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sultan of Sokoto, among others. The Obiozor led advocacy assumed an irreversible, unquenchable and irresistible national charm, resonance and unprecedented crescendo.
“During the last meeting of the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide held at Owerri, Obiozor spoke emotionally about the candidacy of Peter Obi and pointed out that it would have been a major catastrophe if Obi were not in the race. He expressed satisfaction that Peter Obi has changed the political dynamics of the country and created a pathway for Nigerian new beginning.
“Obiozor will be remembered as a man who displayed an uncommon intellect, irrepressible courage, candor, tolerance, large heart and equanimity; he sacrificed his personal comfort in the service of Igbo nation. What stands Obiozor out among his peers is his unique intellectual wizardry, profound sense of humour, extraordinary creative imagination, rationality, clear-headedness, unwavering determination and incandescent passion with which he pursues his views even in most hostile or complex circumstances.
“While we condole the wife, children and the immediate family, we take solace in the fact that when a chronicle of Igbo personages will be launched, some leaders will appear in footnotes while some chapters will be devoted to Ambassador Professor George Obiozor,” he added.
The octogenarian held the position of President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo from January 9, 2021 until his death.
Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Mourn Ohanaeze Ndigbo Late President General, Obiozor
In addition, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) said it received the news of the passing on of the President General of Ohanaeze with profound sadness.
The forum, expressed its grief in a statement signed on by its leaders, Messrs Chief Edwin Clark, (South South/PANDEF); Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere); and Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt Forum).
Part of the statement read, “We are greatly pained by this incident; we have not just lost a trusted and dependable ally, but a good friend, a true patriot, and a highly esteemed Statesman.
“Professor George Obiozor was an exemplary, unpretentious and self-effacing leader; and a first-class gentleman.
“He is a thorough bred scholar, who firmly and committedly, in tandem with his Compatriots, maintained our common stance on the fundamental principles of equity, justice and fairness, and inclusivity, in the quest for a better Nigeria.
“He was a man of peace who will be remembered for his candor, open-mindedness and civility. His life and works will remain an inspiration to present and forthcoming generations on the lessons of tolerance, unity and peaceful co-existence.
“He is renowned academic and foremost diplomat.
“Ambassador Obiozor was a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
“He was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Israel, with concurrent accreditation as High Commissioner to Cyprus, before becoming Ambassador to the United States.
“Obiozor was elected as the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide on 10th January 2021.
“His death is a monumental loss not just to SMBLF and the Igbo Nation but the entire Country. Nigeria has, indeed, lost a true patriot, an exceptional diplomat, an intellectual giant and a visionary statesman.
“Though death is a necessary end, it is saddening that George departed at a time when Nigeria was in dire need of patriots and leaders like him as the country struggles with various internal conflicts and traverses a puzzling phase in its history.
“We commiserate with the Igbo Nation and the Nigerian State, and extend our deepest condolences to the Government and people of Imo State, the Obiozor family of Awo-Omamma in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State.
“We also commiserate with the leadership and membership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on the passing of this celebrated leader, friend, brother and father.”
Anyim: Obiozor a Rare Patriot
Former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim also expressed shock over the death of Obiozor.
In a condolence message, he signed, Anyim said when the late Igbo leader took ill, “we all prayed and were hopeful that he would recover. His passing, therefore, is indeed a very huge loss, not only to his immediate family, Ndigbo and Nigeria but also the International diplomatic community.”
He added, “Prof. Obiozor, an erudite scholar, intellectual and diplomat, served Nigeria, Ndigbo and humanity with uncommon dedication, commitment, integrity and selflessness. He was one leader who had the courage of his convictions and always expressed his views on national issues with boldness, clarity, candour and high sense of responsibility.
“He was a very amiable and pleasant gentleman, with an exceptional sense of humour. He had a way of making people, irrespective of their social standing, comfortable around him.
“As President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, at a very challenging time in the history of Ndigbo, Prof. Obiozo brought his incisive intellect, capacity, resourcefulness, deep understanding of issues, exposure and wide contacts to bear on the management of the affairs of Ndigbo.
“He, together with his compatriots from other parts of Nigeria, elevated, to a national agenda, the discourse on the imperatives of justice, equity, fairness and inclusiveness as the foundation upon which a peaceful, stable and egalitarian society must be built.”, Anyim stated.
According to Anyim, Ndigbo, Nigerians and his numerous colleagues and associates in the International Diplomatic Community will miss him sorely.
Accordingly, he prayed that the good Lord would comfort his family and give them the strength to stand at this trying moment”.