President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday expressed sadness over the passing of the President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, describing it as an immeasurable loss to Nigeria.
Buhari, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, extended his heartfelt condolences to Obiozor’s family, the government and people of Imo State as well as Ndigbo, at home and in the Diaspora.
The statement read, “Describing his demise as an immeasurable loss to the country, the President notes 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 believes that the contributions of the unique leader and strong proponent of peace and a stable polity, who also held other strategic public positions, will never be forgotten.
“President Buhari trusts that all who mourn the demise of the statesman, who commanded great respect among his peers in the academia and foreign policy arena, will honour his memory by actively embracing his beliefs and ideas geared towards uniting Nigeria beyond geo-political considerations.
“The President has fond memories of meeting Prof. Obiozor on several occasions, and values his endearing sense of patriotism.”
“Buhari joins the Igbo nation in mourning the irreparable loss of this great son of Nigeria, even as he prays for the peaceful repose of the soul of the deceased,” the statement added.
Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, reacting to the demise of Obiozor, described it as a huge loss.
According to him, the late Obiozor was a firm believer in democracy and justice.
In a statement through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo said, “The good work he did while he served as Nigerian Ambassador to Israel and the United States of America was a fitting complement to my administration’s painstaking efforts to re-make the international profile of our dear country,” Obasanjo said in the statement.
“Indeed, for the enviable and sensitive positions he occupied both at home and abroad, and the developmental roles he played while in active service, Ambassador Obiozor would be fondly and proudly remembered as a foremost multilateralist, an erudite scholar, a passionate nationalist, and a diplomatic legend of international repute. He was an icon and a true Nigerian.
“It is also worthy of note that Ambassador Obiozor acquitted himself as a peace-loving, unassuming and committed patriot. He was a firm believer in democracy and participatory governance.
“Until his death, he built for himself an impressive profile of immense goodwill and affection among his people. He was imbued with an undying love for his people which informed his acceptance to serve as the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo so as to assist in ministering to, and advocating for their needs and truly, he was committed to the development and global vision of his people and the entire South-Eastern region of Nigeria till he breathed his last.
“The finality of Ambassador Obiozor is painful, especially as he still had a lot to contribute to community and national life, but we can draw some solace from knowing that he left his mark indelibly in whatever he was called upon to do. In all the assignments he was given, quality and integrity were his imprint and legacy”.
He commiserated with the Imo State Governor, Obiozor’s family and the entire good people of Imo State and pray that “God, in His mercy, will comfort you all. May God, in His mercy, grant him the reward of the faithful”.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma confirmed the death of Professor Obiozor, in a statement on his Instagram page on Wednesday night.
He said, “On behalf of the Government and people of Imo State, I, Senator 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.
Other prominent Nigerians have expressed their sadness over the Igbo leader’s death.