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Buhari, Peter Obi, others mourn as Ohanaeze Ndigbo national leader George Obiozor dies at 80

President Muhammadu Buhari, Peter Obi, and others have mourned the passing of Professor George Obiozor, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, worldwide.

Recall that the Ohanaeze leader was confirmed dead by the Imo state Government in statement signed by the state governor, Hope Uzodinmma on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, after being rumoured to have died since Monday, December 26, 2022.

Obiozor emerged as the leader of the Igbo socio-cultural group in January 2021, scoring 304 votes to beat two other contestants to emerge the winner in the election at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, the Imo State capital.

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Born August 15, 1942, according to available public records, the professor and diplomat, at a point in his career, was the director-general of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) as well as being the high commissioner to Cyprus.

In addition, the late octogenarian was the Nigerian ambassador to Israel, from 1999 to 2003 and was a prolific writer on international affairs.

Some of his books included: Uneasy Friendships: Nigeria-United States Relations; The politics of precarious balancing: an analysis of contending issues in Nigerian domestic and foreign policy and Nigeria and the World: Managing the Politics of Diplomatic Ambivalence in a Changing World.

He started his early education at  Awo-Omamma Comprehensive Secondary Schoo, Imo State, and later the Institute of African Studies Geneva Switzerland, University of South Tacoma Washington USA as well as the Columbia University, New York. He was also the Ugwumba 1 of Orlu  and was a recipient of several local and international awards.

In an obituary personally signed by Governor Hope Uzodinma last night, the Imo state government described Obiozor’s death as a big loss to the state , the country and the international community.

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“On behalf of the government and people of Imo state, I, Sen Hope Uzodimma, the Executive Governor of Imo state, sorrowfully announce the passage of a great son of Imo state and Nigeria, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, worldwide, Prof George Obiozor. A renowned academic, an exceptional diplomat and statesman and a tenacious patriot, Prof George Obiozor  passed on recently after a brief illness.

“The death of this foremost Igbo leader and former Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States and the State of Israel, is a big loss to Imo state, the South-east and the entire Nigeria. I have no doubt that both Nigeria and the international community will miss his profound intellectual contributions and wise counsel on national and global issues,” Uzodinma noted.

In addition, the statement stressed that Obiozor’s burial arrangements will be announced in due course by the family, while praying for the repose of the soul of the professor.

In his condolences message, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said he was “deeply saddened” by the passing of Professor George Obiozor, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, worldwide.

The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, condoled with Obiozor’s family, the government and the people of Imo State as well as Ndigbo, at home and in the Diaspora.

Buhari, who described his demise as an immeasurable loss to the country, said 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 of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) exemplified leadership skills and values as a diplomat.

The President said 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.

President Buhari expressed hope that all who mourned 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 who had fond memories of meeting Prof. Obiozor on several occasions and valued his endearing sense of patriotism, joined the Igbo nation in mourning the irreparable loss of this great son of Nigeria and prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of the deceased.

Also reacting to the death of the Igbo leader, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate for the forthcoming 2023 election, Peter Obi says he’s deeply saddened by the news of the passing of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide, Prof George Obiozor.

Obi noted that Obiozor’s death is a huge loss to the entire family, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nigerians.

“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.

“The death of this foremost Igbo leader is a huge loss to the entire Obiozor Family, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nigerians in general,” part of his statement read.

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