After it was speculated that the three major political parties in the South-East geo-political zone scrambled to take control of the election of the President-General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, two prime movers in two of the political parties, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have sent their felicitations to Professor George Obiozor on his election as the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
No word has been heard yet from the leadership or any prominent leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which together with PDP chieftains in the South-East, allegedly withdrew support for Obiozor on account of his been cornered by APC forces.
With Atiku still eyeing the Presidency in 2023; and APC looking to have a foothold in the mainly Igbo speaking area of the country, the presidency of the Igbo socio-cultural group came into political contention.
Welcoming Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the United States, Israel and Cyprus, the President urges the eminent diplomat and scholar to deploy his immense experience within and outside government to forge greater unity of the country.
According to President Buhari, “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,” the President adds.
While wishing the former Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) a successful tenure, President Buhari enjoins Prof Obiozor to be a “unifying force beyond his immediate constituency.”
Atiku, on his part, urges cooperation by the Ohaneze Ndigbo with other ethno-social groups
He adds: “Yesterday, I spoke with Prof. George Obiozor, newly elected President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. I congratulated him on his election.
“I am elated that the process that led to his election and that of the new executive was concluded in line with established democratic tenets.
“Like many, who have followed with keen interest the goings-on, I had wondered how the group will pull through the process of the election and still come out unscathed and still remain a cohesive and strong force with its integrity intact.
“By the outcome of this election, Ndigbo have not only proved the pundits wrong, but have shown that they are real democrats.
“I have known Prof Obiozor since his days as Director-General of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, and a one-time Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States of America, Israel and Cyprus.
“I can attest to his brilliance, wisdom and experience, qualities that I am confident will come to bear as he pilots the affairs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“I also take note of the “big shoes” left behind by Obiozor’s predecessor, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who elevated Ohanaeze Ndigbo to enviable heights such that he was appointed as the Coordinator of all the notable socio-cultural groups in the country.
“I know that Obiozor will tap into his experience and the networks he had built to further push the group to higher heights.
“My prayer is that God should grant Obiozor the needed wisdom, strength, boldness, strong character, good health, protection, candour, maturity and capacity for the assignment.
“All eyes are on you to see the value you will bring to the table especially as it concerns the reconciliation of the groups and individuals who felt offended by the outcome and process leading to your election.
“They should be brought back to the fold and fully integrated for the sake of harmonious relationship between members of the group in particular and Ndigbo in general.
“Meanwhile, I urge you to sustain and improve upon the cooperation between Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other ethno-social groups across the country to ensure that the unity of Nigeria is stronger and that peace reigns across the country.
My mind tells me that you have the inter-personal skills and enough group dynamics experience for the job and to weather the storm.
“I will keep praying for you and your management team. Once again congratulations”.