Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and Chief Tom Ikimi have expressed shock and sadness over the demise of the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador George Obiozor.
A statement on Friday issued by Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Director, Publicity and Advocacy (NEF) and Chief described Obiozor as “a great Nigerian whose life captured the truism that most of us can serve the nation and our cultural identities with distinction and honour.”
Baba-Ahmed said Obiozor had given Nigeria his best and had died on his feet in the search for solutions to its multiple contemporary challenges.
According to the statement, “It is even sadder that Ambassador Obiozor died when he was leading his organisation towards a historic rapprochement with the rest of Nigeria.
“It will be difficult to fill the shoes left by Ambassador Obiozor, but Northern Elders Forum prays that the organisation will find someone who will continue with his inspirational leadership.
Chief Ikimi, a political colossus in a statement on Fridays said “I received, indeed with great shock and disbelief the news of the passing away of Prof George Obiozor. This sad inevitable departure has left me pondering over the warm and cordial relationship I shared with Prof Obiozor, whom I fondly referred to as ‘Georgy’.
“Georgy had been a close acquaintance for over three to four decades; a truly reliable and committed professional and intellectual. For all of us, it’s such a sad way to bring 2022 to an end. I can attest to the fact that Georgy was made of impeccable qualities.
“He was an erudite scholar, an exquisite diplomat, and a man of vast public knowledge which is displayed by the deluge of tributes flooding the media from across the world.
“A distinguished graduate of Columbia University, DG NIIA, Ambassador to Israel and to the USA, he brought his scholarship into everything he did. Notwithstanding his depth of knowledge and interest in writing, he remained an unassuming intellectual who was beholding to a life of pleasant expository laced with humor.
“On the 11th of June 2021, I congratulated the Igbo Nation for the perfect choice they made of Prof. George Obiozor as President General of Ohanaeze.
“The heroic zeal and diplomatic finesse with which he has maneuvered through the last eighteen months or so of a very challenging tenure has without any doubt confirmed the confidence that I have in this man. His gaze was fixed on the ball and he was as usual working earnestly towards achieving the desired wish of his people.
“My personal memories recall with nostalgia the wonderful contributions Prof George Obiozor made to me during my tenure as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister at a most difficult time in our Nation’s history.
“He accompanied me to various International summits under very challenging circumstances providing me all the time with very impeccably worthy advice. I will of course not forget his kind hosting of me and some of my family members in Israel during a holy pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
“Professor George Obiozor possesses a vast array of noteworthy friendships and connections across Nigeria and his contributions to the much-desired unity of our country were immeasurable. This irreversible withdrawal of Georgy is an incredible loss not only to the Igbo Nation but to our country Nigeria,” Chief Ikimi stated.