…Leaders pour encomia for late Obiozor
The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Amb. (Prof.) George Obiozor was on Friday laid to rest at his Awo Omamma country home in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State, with President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Hope Uzodimma agreeing that Nigeria, the diplomatic community and Ndigbo will miss him sorely.
President Buhari and Governor Uzodimma spoke in their separate remarks at the Maria Assumpta Catholic Cathedral, Owerri where the burial Mass for Prof Obiozor conducted by Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese, His Grace Moses Chikwe, was held.
The Governor said that “Nigerians, the Diplomatic Community will miss Prof. George Obiozor greatly,” a position President Buhari reiterated in his condolence message read on his behalf by the Minister of State, Mines, Chief Henry Ikoh.
Governor Uzodimma who described death as “very very wicked” said “the Igbo race has ’’lost a gem, Nigeria has lost a star, and the world has lost a man that can be described as a global encyclopedia.”
The Governor added that “the entire South East has lost a consummate and compassionate leader, Imo State has lost one of her illustrious sons, a pacesetter, erudite scholar, advisor, councilor, and one of the pillars of the 3R government.”
The Governor therefore enjoined the bereaved family, the Igbo race and Ohanaeze Ndibo in general to take heart, noting that “it is difficult to believe that Prof. Obiozor will die but it is the will of God that all mortals will one day join him in his bosom.”
Governor Uzodimma said that Prof. Obiozor represented a solid rock of support to his government, “the kind only a father provides to his son.”
He noted that as a rare breed academic, Prof. Obiozor attained the pinnacle of his career, served Nigeria as an Ambassador to three countries of Cyprus, Israel and United States of America as well as playing a key role in mid-wifing the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs to a global phenomenon, thereby helping to put Nigeria on the global map for positive reasons.
“Yet he was as humble as they came,” Uzodimma said.
He enjoined the family to have faith in God and encouraged everyone to pray for the deceased family, noting that “only prayers will console them.”
The Governor who reminded the deceased family that the Bible tells us not to mourn like those without hope said “the legacies of Prof. George Obiozor will guide all who knew him to always remember him as a man who came and conquered his environment in all ramifications.”
Governor Uzodimma thanked those who attended Prof Obiozor’s burial and condoled with the friends of Prof Obiozor over the pain his death had caused them.
The Governor said every Nigerian and Ndigbo in particular have lost a great man. He agreed with everyone that spoke at the reception in the of Prof. Obiozor that the latter has not died.
In his condolence message, President Buhari represented by Chief Iko also described Prof. Obiozor’s passing as a “great loss to Nigeria, the diplomatic Community, Ndigbo and particularly the Igbo people.”
Buhari told the congregation that “Prof. Obiozor was a renowned academician, a diplomat par excellence who served Nigeria in different capacities as an ambassador in three countries where he gave a good account of himself.”
The President added: “Late Prof. Amb. George Obiozor was a Nigerian Patriot of the highest order and a famous Igbo Leader who, when it mattered most, led the Igbo socio-cultural group called Ohanaeze to carter for the interest of the Igbo Nation.”
He then concluded that the deceased left “an indelible mark in the sands of time,” emphasizing that “the Igbo Nation will indeed miss Prof. Obiozor, Nigeria will miss him and the diplomatic Community will miss him a great deal.”
President Buhari urged the Government and people of Imo State, Ndigbo, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and Nigerians in general to bear the irreplaceable loss with fortitude.
In a brief homily, the Auxiliary Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Owerri, Bishop Chikwe reminded the congregation that “as Christians death is the beginning of a new life, what we owe ourselves is to be always prepared for the last day, because the world we are into is ephemeral since we are going somewhere.”
He added: “We should always trust in God because our hope is in him. God is always interested in us and to be sure of us making heaven. Besides prayers we should reconcile with all now since we don’t know when the day will be.”
He thanked those who came to honour the late Prof Obiozor and his family.
He thanked, especially, Governor Uzodimma, the Owerri Diocese and all the people for their prayers, their financial and moral support.
The Bishop also thanked the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the different arrangements they made “that culminated in the befitting burial of their husband, father, brother and uncle Amb. Prof. George Obiozor CON.”
The burial Church Service and reception ceremony of Prof Obiozor which was held at the Rockview Hotel in Owerri, attracted the who is who in the South East regardless of political persuasion.
They included but not limited to the wife of the Governor of Imo State, Barr. (Mrs.) Chioma Uzodimma, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Emeka Nduka and his colleagues, and members of the Imo State Expanded Executive Council.
Others include, the Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice Theresa Chikeka and senior members of the State’s Judiciary.
Former Military Administrator of Imo State, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ihejirika, elder statesman, Chief (Engr.) Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, former Senate President Adolphus Wabara, former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo World-wide, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, former INEC National Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Sen. Ben Obi, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Dr. Ijioma Aregbuogu, APC governorship candidate in Enugu, Chief Uche Nnaji, APC senatorial candidate for Orlu, Sen Osita Izunaso, amnon others.
The past and current leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr. ABC Orjiakor, founder of SEPLAT Petroleum, Eng. Ben. Alake from the Middle Belt Forum, representatives of the PANDEF, among others.
Members of the clergy include His Grace, the Most Rev. (Dr.) Augustine Ukwuoma, the Bishop of Orlu Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Gilbert Alaribe, the Chaplin Government House, Chapel Owerri, and other clergymen.
Members of the traditional institution were represented by the Eze Imo, HRH, Eze EC Okeke, the Chairman of Imo State Elders Council, HRM Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, among others.
All the leaders who attended the reception and made remarks about him agreed that the late Prof Obiozor was a rare gem who served humanity and God with all that God endowed him with.