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South-East Govs Threw Obiozor Under the Bus
George Obiozor was buried two weeks ago after a poorly attended requiem mass at Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri. Straight from the Cathedral to his grave at Mgbidi. There was no evening of tributes as is the norm for such dignitaries. The Chairman of South-east Governors Forum who boasts that he was a billionaire at 23 and all that is verifiable in that he has a diploma from I.M.T Enugu. Nigerians will certainly like to know the source of this flaunted wealth. He could not organize government funds from five states to send George home properly.
Barely two weeks after his burial, there was a slot on Channels metro file which showed that the hearse for George was a Rolls Royce. perfect example of medicine after death. The only governor present was Hope Uzodimma of Imo State and his deputy Placid Njoku.
My grouse is that knowing George, if any of our friends were to die, George will be at the forefront of funeral arrangements. When our good friend; Arthur Nwankwo died a couple of years ago, George Obiozor and Osita Chidoka provided the initial seed money of N500,000 each before the rest of us sent in contributions. I believe Arthur was well pleased at the way we saw him off.
George had paid his dues and respected his elders and was adequately compensated first as High Commissioner to Cyprus, then ambassador to Israel and ultimately ambassador to the States. He also served as Director General of Nigeria Institute for International affairs. Ohaneze is a strong Sociocultural Organization committed to the welfare of Ndigbo in a multicultural, multi-ethnic diverse country that Nigeria is. The other ethnic nationalities will only assess and rate Ohaneze based on the pedestal we place our leadership.
I had occasion to disagree with George when I felt Ohaneze was going comatose and to his credit, he listened to me. In the colonial and pre-independence days, the Ibo State Union under the able leadership of Chief Z.C. Obi commanded so much respect that any matter they got involved with ended up with Justice and their word almost had the force of law.
After the war, the Igbo had a kind of focal disorientation and it took the vision of these men among others; Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Ikemba Emeka Ojukwu, Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe, Prof. Joe Irukwu, Chief Jerome Udoji, Chief Mathias Ugochukwu, Prince Emeka Onyesoh, Dr. Joe Nworgu, Prof. Ben Nwabueze. The name; Ohaneze was suggested by Dr. K.O Mbadiwe and was unanimously adopted. Governor Okwy Nwodo donated the Secretariat.
In discussion with other Nigerian nationalities, some exuberant young men were pushing the so called Handshake across the Niger. Some of us had serious doubts as recent events have shown. Zoning to me is a retrogressive step as it does not bring out the best in any society. The Americans rejected it after their civil war. Taking into cognizance the level of under development in Nigeria, we can gloss over it for now. One hopes it is not a permanent arrangement
However, when Nigerian political parties decided that the Presidency should be zoned to the South, Senator Bola Tinubu shocked most when he introduced ‘emilokan’ into the political vocabulary to justify his ambition. If anybody should be shouting ‘emilokan’ from the roof tops, it is people from the South-east. As events unfold, we hope people of the South-east will become a lot more circumspect in their relations with other Nigerians.
The South-east governors owe Ndigbo an explanation and an apology for the shoddy treatment given to their late President, George Obiozor.
Rt. Hon. Dr. Eddie Mbadiwe wrote from Abuja.