The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has formally announced the death of Professor George Obiozor, its President-General.
The organisation in a statement on Thursday described Obiozor as a “great achiever and perfect gentleman of immense proportions.”
In the statement ttitled ‘Igbo titan bows out’, issued by its National Public Secretary, Dr Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze said the “most endearing of the Obiozor mystique can be summarised in character; the courage of his convictions, steadfastness and uncompromising commitment to his goals.”
“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 Professor George Obiozor, CON, (Ugwumba). Until his death, he was the President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation,” the statement said.
“Obiozor was a prodigy and an enigma of some sorts: an erudite reflective scholar of world renowned, prophetic intellectual, astute resourceful administrator, sagacious phebian political submarine, seasoned diplomat, cultural reservoir, detribalized 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.”
“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 proportions,” the statement added.
Recounting his achievements in academic, political and diplomatic spheres, the supreme Igbo group accorded its late helmsman with “irreversible, unquenchable and irresistible national charm, resonance and unprecedented crescendo.”
It continued, “The Obiozor life trajectory is 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.
“He 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.
“He 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.
“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 a Nigerian new beginning.
“The Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, while announcing the death of the Igbo leader stated that “the death of this foremost Igbo leader and former Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States of America and the State of Israel, is a big loss to Imo State, the South East and entire Nigeria.”
“One can also add that the global academic community has lost a lot with the passing of Obiozor.
“Obiozor will be remembered as a man who displayed an uncommon intellect, irrepressible courage, candour, tolerance, large heart and equanimity; he sacrificed his personal comfort in the service of the 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.”