President Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of George Obiozor, president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, worldwide, as an immeasurable loss to Nigeria.
Hope Uzodinma, governor of Imo state, announced Obiozor’s death on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, there were reports that he had died but the Igbo social-cultural organisation said he was alive at the time.
Tributes have been pouring in for the late Obiozor, who was elected president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide in January 2021.
In a statement signed by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson, Buhari extended his condolences to Obiozor’s family and the people of Imo as well as Ndigbo at home and in the diaspora.
The president said Obiozor had exemplified leadership skills and values as a thoroughbred diplomat.
He added that his contributions as a strong proponent of peace and a stable polity would never be forgotten.
Also paying tribute to the deceased, Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), described him as “a dear elder brother and friend who was a patriot and served Nigeria and Ohanaeze selflessly and diligently”.
“He was witty, well-heeled in history and effusive in his personal charm and warmth. The death of this foremost Igbo leader is a huge loss to the entire Obiozor Family, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nigerians in general,” Obi said.
Atiku Abubakar, in a condolence message, described the late Obiozor as “a charismatic personality and a consummate diplomat who believed in consensus and had a stabilising influence”.
“His vast experience in foreign diplomatic missions garnered over decades and across diverse postings was very handy in making him a pan-Nigerian,” Atiku said.
“He will be dearly missed, also his voice of wisdom and reason, which is needed at this crucial time of our socioeconomic and political evolution. His was a purposeful life well lived.”
‘DEATH HAS ROBBED NIGERIA OF ONE OF ITS FINEST’
In his tribute, Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Obiozor’s death has robbed Nigeria of one of its finest public servants and committed leaders.
Tinubu noted that Obiozor’s career made him one of the foremost patriots who served the country with diligence, honour and integrity.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Ambassador George Obiozor, President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide. This great Igbo leader and Nigeria’s elder statesman was a distinguished academic and diplomat who served his people and entire country with honour, dedication and distinction,” he said.
“As the leader of Ohaneze, Ambassador Obiozor championed the course of national unity and economic development while seeking a more equitable and even-handed federation where all the constituent units and ethnic groups can live together in peace and harmony.
“The ideals of a better and more inclusive country where justice and equity would prevail, which Ambassador Obiozor lived for will forever be cherished.”
‘HE WAS A ROLE MODEL TO MANY’
On his part, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, said he received the news with shock.
The speaker described the late Obiozor as a role model to many.
Ben Murray-Bruce, a former senator representing Bayelsa east, said he is saddened to hear of the death.
“Prof Obiozor was my very good friend. He was incredibly smart and intelligent. My condolences to his family and loved ones, and may his soul rest in peace,” he said.