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General News of Thursday, 29 December 2022


2023: What late Ohanaeze leader said about Peter Obi’s candidacy before his death - Ohanaeze

George Obiozor George Obiozor

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has lamented the passing of its President-General, George Obiozor.

Mr Obiozor, a professor, died “recently” after a brief illness, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State announced in a statement, Wednesday night.

In a statement on Thursday by its spokesperson, Chiedozie Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it received the news of Mr Obiozor’s demise with great pain and sorrow.

“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,” the group said in the statement.

“Obiozor was a prodigy and an enigma of some sorts: an erudite reflective scholar of world renown, prophetic intellectual, astute resourceful administrator, sagacious phebian political submarine, seasoned diplomat, cultural reservoir, detribalised patriot, jovial cerebral discussant, among others,” it stated.

Ohanaeze lauded Mr Obiozor for “courage of his convictions, steadfastness and uncompromising commitment to his goals,” pointing out that the late leader was “sometimes misrepresented and misunderstood because of the silent cautious strategy and tactics with which he pursues his goals.”

It said Mr Obiozor will be remembered “as a man who displayed an uncommon intellect, irrepressible courage, candor, tolerance, large heart and equanimity” and who “sacrificed his personal comfort” in the service of Igbo nation.

“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,” Ohanaeze stated.

The group said the late leader “articulated” the return of late Biafra warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu, after the Nigerian civil war, alongside two others – Chuba Okadigbo and Joe Asogwa – in 1982, before leading the Igbo delegation to the 2014 National Constitutional Conference.

“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,” the group said.

What Obiozor said about Peter Obi’s candidacyMr Obiozor, during the last meeting of the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide held at Owerri, Imo State, spoke “emotionally about the candidacy of Peter Obi,” Mr Ogbonnia, the Ohanaeze spokesperson, said in the statement.

Mr Obi is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election.

He hails from Agulu, an Igbo-speaking community in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.

The Ohanaeze president-general, according to the statement, pointed out that “it would have been a major catastrophe if Obi were not in the race.”

The statement said Mr Obiozor also “expressed satisfaction that Peter Obi has changed the political dynamics of the country and created a pathway for new beginning.”

BackgroundThere have been calls from South-east leaders that the region should be allowed to produce a president for the first time in 2023.

But the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the two dominant political parties in Nigeria, picked their candidates outside the region during their separate presidential primaries in May.

The two parties subsequently ignored the region in the selection of their vice-presidential candidates.

Some leaders in the region have argued that the emergence of the Nigerian president from the South-east would end the Biafra agitation in the region.

Since the emergence of Mr Obi as the LP candidate ahead of the 2023 general election, there has been growing support for his candidacy mainly in the South-east and South-south regions of the country.