The remains of the late President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, were laid to rest on Friday in his Awo-Omamma country home, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that eminent Nigerians who attended the funeral service held at the Assumpta Cathedral Owerri took turns to pay tribute to the late Igbo icon.
In a tribute, President Muhammadu Buhari described Obiozor as a “renowned academician, diplomat, statesman, patriot and foremost Igbo leader.”
Buhari, represented by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Chief Henry Ikoh, said Obiozor’s passion for Nigeria propelled him to return to the country to serve in various positions.
He said: “Prof. Obiozor’s outstanding public service career left indelible marks on the sands of time.”
Also, Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo said with the death of Obiozor, Nigeria had lost a walking encyclopedia of foreign policy and diplomacy.
Uzodimma said: “With the death of Obiozor, the entire South East has lost a consummate and compassionate leader, whose inclusive, insightful, decisive and innovative style was beginning to bear enormous fruits in our relationship with our neighbours and allies.
“We may have our differences. We may have disagreed in the past but the best thing that can be given to a man like George Obiozor is the last respect and honour.
“The Igbo race has lost a gem. Nigeria has lost a star and Imo has lost a man that can best be described as a global encyclopedia.
“But we take heart knowing full well that as generous as he was on earth, as God-fearing as he was, that Almighty God will have mercy on him.”
Uzodinma also urged the late Obiozor’s family to take heart and put their trust in God.
In a condolence message, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described the deceased as an outstanding diplomat who brought his unique knowledge and experience to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the international community.
“Amb. Obiozor had no doubt come a long way in his multi-faceted career as a political scientist, policy analyst, administrator and diplomat.
“It is instructive that his name, in the last four decades, has become something of a recurring decimal in our foreign affairs and international relations.
“Obiozor would be fondly and proudly remembered as a foremost multilateralist, an erudite scholar, a passionate nationalist and diplomatic legend of international repute,” Obasanjo stated.
In a tribute, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also described Obiozor as “a keen intellect, a sharp wit and a gifted observer of the Nigerian condition.”