…Ekweremadu, Abaribe, Ozonweke, others speak
…Buhari, Ikimi, PDP, others hail Obiozor
By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Henry Umoru, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Dirisu Yakubu
THERE were showers of tributes, yesterday, for the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor as Igbo leaders gave reasons they chose him as Chief John Nnia Nwodo’s successor.
According to them, the Igbo Nation is at the cross roads now and needs an experienced hand to steer her to safety of which Obiozor is eminently qualified and experienced to undertake.
Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe; and Secretary of Lagos State chapter of Ohanaeze were among Igbo leaders who marshalled reasons Obiozor is the best man for the Ohanaeze job
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Tom Ikimi; and the main opposition Peoples Democratic, PDP, were among those who congratulated Obiozor and urged him to use his new position to deepen Nigeria’s unity.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, had shortly after Obiozor’s victory on Sunday, congratulated him and promised the South-East geo-political zone inclusive politics and to further mainstream the zone in the workings of the party.
Obiozor has track record of integrity, honour, courage intellectual capacity—Abaribe
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) said the emergence of Ambassadors George Obiozor and Okey Emuchay as president-general, and secretary-general of Ohaneze respectively would sustain the progressive trajectory, which the immediate past executive built.“In a statement yesterday in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom in Abuja, Senator Abaribe noted that Professor Obiozor who is widely acknowledged for his track record of excellence, honour, intellectual capacity and courage in public service, qualities that greatly qualify him as the preferred choice to lead the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, will no doubt inject such attributes to further reinvigorate and build an activist-driven Ohanaeze in the face of current realities in Nigeria.
“I am confident that the new executive, known for their consummate love for the Igbo race, particularly the President-General who has been at the front line in articulating interest of Ndi-Igbo, would continue to exhibit courage and forthrightness in not only pursuing our collective interest in Nigeria, but also weave Ndigbo as a nation bonded in love, peace and unity,” he said.
Obiozor has what it takes to lead Ndigbo —Ekweremadu
Speaking in like manner, Senator Ekweremadu said Obiozor was elected because the new Ohanaeze leader has what it takes to lead Ndigbo.
Ekweremadu, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, described Obiozor as a man of “uncommon pedigree, unimpeachable integrity as well as a bridge-builder with national and international clout and appeal.
“I believe the former university don and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, the former Nigeria’s Consul-General to South Africa and newly elected Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Emuchay, and others constitute a formidable and dependable team for harnessing and advancing Igbo interest worldwide at this crucial time in our history.
“They have proved their mettle over the years and we trust them to bring their antecedents of quality leadership, national and international reach, and diplomatic finesse to bear in advancing the Igbo course in Nigeria and globally.”
We’re presenting our best team —Ozonweke
On his part, Ozonweke, who is also special assistant Special Duties to the Ohanaeze President-General, said: ”Obiozor is eminently qualified and has all it takes to lead Ndigbo. The Igbo nation is at cross roads like Nigeria.
We need a seasoned statesman. The Igbo are not going to war but dialogue with other ethnic nationalities. We need somebody who can improve on what Nwodo did. When other ethnic nationalities leaders such as Professor Ango Abdullahi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Edwin Clark meet, the Igbo leader should not be a house boy to them but some one with clout, who can hold his own.”
Use your new position to forge greater unity of Nigeria —Buhari
President Buhari felicitated with Obiozor and urged him to deploy his immense experience within and outside government to forge greater unity of the country and be a “unifying force beyond his immediate constituency.”
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the eminent diplomat and scholar, who was Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, has a lot to offer Ndigbo and Nigeria
“Given Prof. Obiozor’s rich background, especially in international affairs and pan-Nigerian commitment, I have little doubt that his election is well-deserved and will serve not only the interest of Ndigbo but also that of his fatherland. We need all hands to be on deck for this country to move forward in peace and unity.”
Obiozor should lead crusade to rescue Nigeria —PDP
The PDP in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, also extolled the leaders and the people of the South-East for their democratic credentials “evinced in the successful election of a new leadership of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization.”
“Prof. Obiozor is a seasoned administrator, excellent diplomat, courageous nationalist and a firm voice in the fight for the entrenchment of democratic tenets of the rule of law, social justice, equity, fairness, mutual respect, true federalism and a credible electoral process in our country.
“The PDP notes the choice of Prof. Obiozor to lead the Ohanaeze Ndigbo at this critical time in the history of our nation, particularly given his doggedness in fighting for constitutional all-inclusiveness as well as elimination of all forms of social injustice, divisiveness, nepotism, sectional marginalization, constitutional violations and disregard for the sensibilities of the Nigerian people.
“Our party therefore urges Prof. Obiozor to use his new assignment to further rally compatriots in our collective determination to rescue our nation from misrule and return her to the path of peace, national cohesion, mutual respect, adherence to the rule of law, social justice credible elections, economic prosperity and political stability.
Igbo have made better choice —Tom Ikimi
Hailing Obiozor on his victory, Ikimi said the Igbo nation has made a better choice with Obiozor’s election in this crucial period of the nation’s history.
According to Ikimi, the Igbo’s quest to play significant role in Nigeria will find appropriate leadership in Obiozor, who has over the years established very robust contacts across the country.
Ikimi also congratulated the outgoing President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo on completion of an exciting and eventful tenure.
He said: “I have received with utmost pleasure the news of the election of Ambassador George Obiozor as the new President General of the Apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The Igbo nation could never have made a better choice, particularly at this time of our nation’s evolution other than this erudite scholar and exquisite diplomat, who has earned my respect over the past three to four decades of our association.”