The newly elected President-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, has revealed how he and former President of Nigeria’s Senate, late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, facilitated the granting of presidential pardon and amnesty to late Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, by former President Shehu Shagari in 1983.
Obiozor who made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, at his Enugu residence said he originated a memo to Shagari who eventually pardoned the late Igbo leader.
“I’m George Obiozor, unknown then, the man in white suit, dark glasses, who did the negotiation to bring Ojukwu home from Ivory Coast; with my friend Chuba Okadigbo. Anybody telling you he knew what happened is telling lies.
“It began in 1972, Ojukwu’s return began in 1972, ten years later in 1982 we were close to accomplishing it; by 1983 we got amnesty. Nnia Nwodo is privy to how the memo that got Shagari to grant Ojukwu amnesty came about.
“Chuba Okadigbo and I originated the memo, why? Shagari had just granted pardon to Gowon. Myself and Chuba Okadigbo went to him, and told him if you don’t want to do any single thing for Ndigbo, do this. He agreed without informing anybody because he was full of fear. And that fear was that ahh! on the eve of Ojukwu’s return a coup threat,” he recalled, noting however that Ojukwu eventually returned to the country based on Shagari’s pardon.
While expressing gratitude to Ekweremadu for his support during the election that brought him in as Ohanaeze president-general, Obiozor, who was accompanied by other members of his executive, including the Secretary-General and former Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, Okey Emuche and the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said it was God’s design that the first person he was visiting after his emergence as President-General of Ohanaeze was Ekweremadu.
“Since I’m Augustinian Catholic, we believe in the doctrine of predestination. I believe that God plans everything and it happens in accordance with God’s time. Now, it is not surprising to me that the first place that I will come to receive blessing for this office is frm Ekweremadu.
“I want to tell you something about my own feelings about the Igbo. We are a people of destiny, the similarity between Igbo spirit and that of the Jews is amazing to me; as an academician, I wrote about it, read about it and as an Ambassador in Israel, I saw it happen. The greatest revenge against injustice is success,” he said.