THE answer to this question will be sought for a long time; why was the late president general of the Igbo apex socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor not honored in death by governors of the South East?
Obiozor, the renowned diplomat and scholar, who was the pride of the South East, and Nigeria, died on December 26, 2022 and was buried in his hometown in Awommama community in Imo State on February 10, 2023.
Granted his stature and accomplishments in the country, he died as the president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yet he was not accorded the reverence he deserved in death; he led Ohanaeze, the organization that was more revered than political party, the spiritual organization of the Igbo race.
According to various reports, it was shocking that governors from the South-East boycotted the funeral of the Obiozor as the burden was left on the doorsteps of the Imo State governor Hope Uzodimma.
The best that they did was that the South East Governors’ Forum, (SEGF) led by its chairman and governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, on behalf of colleagues, conveyed a condolence message to sympathize with the people and Government of Imo over his passage.
Despite elaborate efforts put in place by Uzodinma’s Government, Obiozor’s family and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to make secure travel arrangements to the funeral, the governors still stayed away.
The absence of Chairman of the SEGF, who should have led the guard of honour, was the most conspicuous.
The duo of the Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of and the Enugu State, governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, members of G-5 governors, couldn’t take off time to bury Obiozor.
Said a report: “Incidentally, Enugu hosts the headquarters of Ohanaeze. Even Anambra State governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, an egg head, who shared part of the academic limelight with Obiozor refused to remember that kinship.”
Many believe that the behavior of these governors was political and against the spirit of “nobody should abandon his brother” for which the Igbo are known for. The absence of these governors during Obiozor’s burial has further extended the argument of how that Igbo stand disunited on politics. But what politics tore apart their relationship with Obiozor that his death couldn’t mend?
Another question is whether the governors will extend the same treatment they gave Obiozor to the demised head of any apex socio-cultural cum political organization in any zone in the country, like the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ijaw Nation, Middle Belt Forum or Afenifere.
Wouldn’t they be caught falling over one another to be noticed at the burial ceremony?