By Victor Nwachukwu, Owerri.
The Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Igbo nation, has expressed grief over the death of its President-General, Prof. George Obiozor.
Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo State on Wednesday announced the death of the former Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., aged 80.
The group’s reaction to Obiozor’s death is contained in a statement signed by the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Alex Ogbonnia, and made available to newsmen in Owerri, on Thursday.
Ogbonnia stated that Ohaneze received the news of Obiozor’s passing on “with a heart overtaken by pain and sorrow”.
He described Obiozor as “a prodigy and an enigma of some sort, an erudite, reflective scholar of world renown and a prophetic intellectual”.
He also described him as an “astute, resourceful administrator, sagacious phebian, political submarine, seasoned diplomat, cultural reservoir, detribalised patriot and jovial cerebral discussant”.
Ogbonni stated that “the most endearing of the Obiozor’s mystique could be summarised in his character; the courage of his convictions, steadfastness and uncompromising commitment to his goals”.
He added that the deceased demonstrated his unassailable commitment to interests of the Igbo.
He said: “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.
“Obiozor was sometimes misrepresented and misunderstood because of the silent cautious strategy and tactics with which he pursued his goals.
“But behind the great achiever was an uncommon and perfect gentleman of immense proportion.
“The Obiozor life trajectory is one of the most enviable.
“He started as a child in Awo-Omamma in Imo, went to the U.S.A for further studies, acquired a Doctor of Philosophy, taught in world-class universities and wa promoted to a professor of International Relations.”
Ogbonnia recalled that during the last meeting of the group’s National Executive Committee in Owerri, “Obiozor spoke emotionally about the candidacy of Peter Obi.
“He pointed out that it would have been a major catastrophe if Obi were not in the race.
“Above all, Obiozor in his first world press conference as the President-General assured the Igbo that time had come for the age-long collective aspiration of a Nigerian president from the South-East of Nigeria.”
Ogbonnia noted that the global academic community had lost a lot with the passing of Obiozor.
He stressed that Obiozor stood out among his peers “for his unique intellectual wizardry, profound sense of humour, extraordinary creative imagination, rationality, clear-headedness, unwavering determination and incandescent passion”.
He conveyed the group’s condolences to Obiozor’s wife, children and 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 Prof. George Obiozor,” he added.
During his lifetime, Obiozor served Nigeria in various capacities, such as Director General, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, and Ambassador to Israel and Cyprus.
He also led the Igbo delegation to the 2014 National Constitutional Conference.
He was elected the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide on Feb. 9, 2021.