George Obiozor is a reputable academician and a two time Nigerian Ambassador to Israel (1999 to 2003) and the United States (2004 to 2008). Obiozor has also served as the director-general of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs; and was also a high commissioner to Cyprus.
Personally, Obiozor says he is of the opinion that Nigeria needs to be “politically” restructured. Not just in order to give justice to the evidently marginalized South-east region but also for the economic, socio-cultural and religious interest of a plural nation like Nigeria.
Recently the 75-year old diplomat was interviewed by Vanguard. In it he gave his honest views to the demand for either restructuring Nigeria or granting the secession calls of the Igbos.
Prof. George Obiozor blames Nigeria’s problems on the current one-sided federal system accompanied by poor leadership.
For him restructuring Nigeria means “political self-determination, control of one’s resources, development at your own pace, respect for the cultural and religions interest of the different people of Nigeria.”
Adding to that he also notes that some past Nigerian leaders were “abysmal failures”. Hence the despair and rebellion of the Nigerian youth.
He believes that the old generation of Nigerian leaders are loosing grip of the young generation as seen in the current views of MASSOB, IPOB, Arewa boys or the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC.
The renowned South-east born leader identified both the old and young Igbo generation as victims of the marginalization of the south-east region.
In fact he agrees that the Civil War never really ended. A proof is the agitation of Igbos to bring to fulfillment, a course their fathers died for in 1966.
In a class of their own, the old generation fear a repeat of history while the youth want an end to the fright and intimidation that has lingered on after 50 years of the genocidal war.
When asked if the Igbos were justified in their marginalization claims, he gave his reply in these picked excerpts:
“Look at the appointments in the country and you should see for yourself the issue of marginalisation.”
“Every zone has six states but South-East has five. Is that good? And if they speak ,you’d say they are talking about marginalisation.”
“People are asking what Igbos want in Nigeria and I tell you, Igbos want justice. People who ask what Igbos want are so prejudiced and narrow-minded.”
“How many states do we have in the country? We have 36 states and Abuja. Nineteen are in the North. How many local governments do we have in Nigeria? 774. 416 of them are in one place (North). See for yourself that the general application of the law of decency does not exist in the governance in Nigeria.”
Obiozor stresses that Nigeria should re-adopt the old Federal constitution “that gave regions the legitimacy and the authority to act”.
“After that war, nothing else we ever had was a federal constitution but constitutions done under the military regime which actually has its limitations in creation of democracy or a democratic society.”
By way of incompetence and ethnic prejudices, he says Nigerian leaders have failed the people. In a case where divisive traits are found, it is expected that the leaders should try to bridge the divide and not fan more division. Sadly the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
George Obiozor urged the FG needs to re-address the lopsided structure of affairs in the country. He also did well to remind the government that stability cannot be created with intimidation and force.
Contrary to the notion that an Igbo president will save day, Obiozor says it will be the same old story if he is prejudiced and lacks good leadership qualities.