Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Selonnes Consult Ltd.® a management and strategic policy advisory entity and OHO & Associates, a good governance advocacy outfit. He assumed duties on June 9th, 2015. Born on 9th April, 1955 in Ogidi, Nigeria, he is a native of Ochuche Umuodu, in the Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State.
Mr. Obaze was the Secretary to the State Government (Anambra State, Nigeria) from 29th June, 2012 to 8th June, 2015. H.E. Governor Peter Obi appointed him initially as Secretary to the State Government (SSG), in January 2012. He left his United Nations post consequently to join the Anambra State Government on 29 June, 2012. Obaze resigned his position on 12 August, 2013 to contest for the governorship of Anambra State. After he was disqualified by All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) on voters’ card technicality, he was re-appointed to the position by Gov. Peter Obi, on 19 August, 2013. H. E. Governor Willie M. Obiano re-appointed him as Secretary to the Anambra State Government on 17 March, 2014. As Secretary to the State Government (SSG), his remit was ensuring policy coordination and coherence and problem solving.
Mr. Obaze is a former United Nations official (1991-2012) and also a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service (1982-1991). A seasoned international civil servant, diplomat, strategic policy advisor, administrator and literary critic, Mr. Obaze has a diverse and substantial background in political processes and a wealth of diplomatic, political and administrative experience, in national and international affairs, including direct experience working on countries facing complex challenges in Europe and Africa.
Mr. Obaze was born to Anthony Chukwunweike “A.C.” Obaze, (1920-1969), a Senior Local Government Administrator in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, and Rosemary Omuluzua Obaze (1928-2009), an educationist. He is the second of six children. His early childhood was spent in Onitsha, Ogidi, Aguata, Central Anang, Umuahia, and Uzuakoli, where his father served as the Chief Executive Officer of the various County Councils. For his high school education, he attended the prestigious, elite Catholic legacy school, Christ the King College Onitsha (1967-1973)-(his education was briefly interrupted by the Nigerian civil war, from 1967-1970). He also attended the equally prestigious and renowned Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha (1973-1974).
American trained, Mr. Obaze studied Political Science and International Relations and holds a Master of Arts in Political Science (M.A.) from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (1980); and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science (B.S.) from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE (1979). He also holds a of Certificate in Diplomacy from the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Lagos, Nigeria (1983); Certificate in Peacekeeping and Preventive Diplomacy, from the UNITAR/International Peace Academy Course, Burg Schlaining, Austria (1996); Certificate in Early Warning and Preventive Measures, from the UN System Staff College, Turin, Italy (1999); and a Certificate in Facilitation of Dialogue Processes and Mediation Efforts, from the Folke Bennadotte Academy, Sandon, Sweden (2007).
Federal Government of Nigeria
During his tenure in the Nigerian Diplomatic Service (1982-1991), Obaze was a member of various Nigerian delegations to bilateral and multilateral conferences. He served as First Secretary, Bilateral Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, 1991; Second Secretary and Special Assistant /Policy Adviser to Major-General Joseph N. Garba, in his various capacities as the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, 1987 to 1989; President of the 44th United Nations General Assembly and Minister of State in the Nigerian Presidency; 1989 to1990 and Ambassador-at-Large of Nigeria, New York, Oct.-Dec.1990. He was Third Secretary (Political) Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria, 1983 to 1986; and External Affairs Officer, Grade VIII, Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria, 1982-83.
Mr. Obaze led the Nigerian team that worked closely with former President Thabo Mbeki, then Foreign Secretary of the African National Congress (ANC) and Gora Ebrahim, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) Secretary for Foreign Affairs in negotiating the UN Declaration on Apartheid, and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa, during in the 16th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in December1989. He was also a member of the Nigerian delegation that negotiated the outcome documents of the 17th and 18th UN Special Sessions in February 1990 and April 1990.
Mr. Obaze was appointed to the United Nations Secretariat by Secretary-General Javier
Perez de Cuellar Javier on 1 March 1991, as a Political Affairs Officer in the Department of Political and Security Council Affairs (PSCA) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. As an International Civil Servant, he served in the U.N. with distinction for twenty-one years, and under four different U.N. Secretaries-General, before separating from the Organization in 2012.
From 2007 to 2012, Mr. Obaze was a Senior Political Affairs Officer and Policy Adviser with the United Nations Headquarters in New York and a senior member of the managerial team in the Security Council Secretariat Branch, which services the U.N. Security Council. In that capacity, for five years, he served as the Secretary of the Security Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa and Trip Coordinator for Security Council Missions.
From September 2005 to February 2007, he served as policy adviser to Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, U.N. Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and deputized for the Special Assistant to Under Secretary-General in providing strategic support on policy and management of political and strategic risks and personnel. In that capacity he was also the focal point and adviser on policy matters to pertaining to Africa, U.N.-Africa Union cooperation, Security Council (thematic and sanctions panels); DPA Field Presences, Security, Documentation and Electoral Assistance matters pertaining to Africa. Additionally, he represented the Under Secretary-General and DPA at in-house, inter-departmental and inter-agency meetings and consultations where formulation of policy issues and options were discussed before being presented to the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee, the highest decision-making body within the U.N. Secretariat or the Senior Management Group. He served as liaison for the Under Secretary-General with other departments, as well as the Offices of the ASG’s, Directors and Executive Office of DPA and provided the Under Secretary-General policy options and guidance in support of the work of U.N. political offices, in Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Central Africa Republic and West Africa (UNOWA) on Peacebuilding, democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
Over the course of his distinguished diplomatic career spanning three decades, he was involved in various aspects of, preventive diplomacy and post-conflict peace building work, which required extensive assessment and writing of strategic policy, political, early warning papers. He has also been involved in the conceptualization, drafting and finalizing various strategic policy papers and reports of the Secretary-General to the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council. He has worked on the African and Europeans dossiers and most notably, on Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and Georgia.
Mr. Obaze was a member of the United Nations Interdepartmental and Inter-Agency Task Force that drafted and negotiated the UN-AU Declaration, which was signed in November 2006. He was a member of the U.N. mission that reviewed the streamlining of the mandate of UNOGBIS (Guinea Bissau) in May 2006 and the UN Technical Assessment Teams that reviewed the mandate of UNFICYP (Cyprus) in September 2004 and May 2005. He was a member of the multidisciplinary and first ever Joint UN/UNDP/Commonwealth Mission to South Africa, in January 1994.
On the management side, Mr. Obaze served on the U.N. National Competitive Examination Political Board and the G to P Examination Board; the U.N. Joint Appeals Board (JAB) and the Central Review Committee (CRC), as a member appointed by the U.N. Secretary General. He participated in UN/DPA Management Retreats, Security Council Workshops and worked with the UN Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) in its evaluation of various U.N. Special Political Missions.
Mr. Obaze was a member of the United Nation’s Secretary-General’s delegation during his various official visits to Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2005. He has accompanied the U.N. Security Council on its missions to Kosovo and Belgrade (2001), and coordinated missions to Africa (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012). He was one of the organizers and participants in the first Kofi Annan Legacy For Africa Conference co-hosted by the U.N. and Georgetown University in October 2006. He served in various backstopping capacities for the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoys and good offices missions on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Northern Uganda. He was the leader of a U.N. Electoral Observation Team in Angola in 1992 and in South Africa (Natal/Kwazulu Province) in 1994.
Publications and Writings
Mr. Obaze is the co-author of Joe Garba’s Legacy, (Xlibris, 2012); Regarscent Past, (2015); Here To Serve, (2016) and Prime Witness, (2016) and working on a novel titled “Happy Eulogy”. He has published numerous articles on governance, political and social, and development issues, on journals, websites and newspapers, including “Ogbaru – The Development and Governance Challenge” (2006). He has collaborated or made acknowledged research contributions to several published works including The Honour to Serve (1993), Fractured History (1995) and contributed a chapter titled, “Rethinking Nigeria’s Foreign Policy on The Eve of the 21st Century” in Nigeria: Visions of the Future, (Ed.) Ngozi A. Nwaneri, (1998). He is co-founder of the Kwenu.com Book Review Forum, which is dedicated to the promotion of books with Igbo and Afrocentric themes. He has published Literary Book Reviews on Kwenu.com since 2002.
A reputed gifted speaker, Obaze’s varied and most recent good governance speeches include “Improving Governance in Government”; “Overcoming A-Do Nothing Politics”; “We Are Called to Serve So that Our Posterity May Be Enriched”; “Ethics And Transparency In Governance — Perception Trumps Reality”, “Enhancing The Bond of Performance Between The Three Arms of Government”; “Imperatives of Etiquette, Integrity, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency In Local Government and Grassroots Governance” and “Grasping the Essence of International Communication and Diplomacy.”
Extracurricular, Social and Community Activities
Mr. Obaze is also a supporting Member of the African Writers Endowment (AWE). From 1999 to 2005, he served on the editorial board of INYEAKA, the journal of Songhai Charities, Inc., a New Jersey community-based charity founded and run by Nigerians based in New York Tri-state area in the United States, first as its founding Publisher and later as the Editor-At-Large. He has been on the editorial board of The Amaka Gazette, the journal of the Christ the King College, Onitsha Alumni Association in America since 1998. He is the founder and pioneer editor of Amaka’s Voice, the quarterly newsletter of the Christ the King College, Onitsha Alumni Association in America. Along with his fellow C.K.C. Onitsha alumni, he was instrumental to the long campaign for the return of C.K.C. Onitsha and other mission schools in Anambra State to their rightful owners and raising over N25 million towards revitalization projects at C.K.C. Onitsha.
Mr. Obaze is member of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Food Pantry Volunteer, St. James Catholic Church, Woodbridge, NJ (1995-2015); Member/Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Songhai Charities, Inc. of New Jersey (1997-2005); National Secretary, Christ the King College Onitsha, Alumni Association In America, Inc. (1998-2012). He is on the Advisory Board of RDF Com-munications and on the Sa¬vannah Centre for Di¬plomacy, Democracy and Developments (SCDDD) Council on Democracy, Stability and Media Account¬ability Project (DES¬MAP). He serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ochuche Umuodu & Patron of the Ochuche Umuodu Town Union.
Mr. Obaze did his National Youth Service (NYSC) in Lagos State from August 1981-August 1982, briefly at the Defence Headquarters, Lagos, before being re-deployed to the Nigerian Institute Army Education, Ilupeju, Lagos where he served as a Research and Publication Officer under the direct supervision of Col. Adedotun Gbadebo, (now, HRM Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland). Due to his superb NYSC performance, in he was recommended to the Military Secretary (Army) for a Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) into the Nigerian Army. He was selected by the DSSC Board chaired by then Brigadier-General Solomon Omojokun, in Kaduna in February 1982, as one of the top candidates for DSSC Course 10, but opted to pursue diplomacy, his first career choice. While in the service of Ankara State, Mr. Obaze served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anambra State Flood Disaster Emergency Fund, and Chair of the Anambra State Flood Disaster Relief Coordination Committee and Member of the Anambra State Emergency Management agency (SEMA); He was a Delegate to the South East Zonal Review of the 1999 Constitution held in Enugu on 15-16 November 2012; Delegate to the Southern Leaders’ Summit Meeting, 24 February, 2014 Calabar, Cross River State, and Chairman, Anambra State Government Handover Committee, February-March 2014.
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (Anambra) Professional Excellence Award (2013); The maiden recipient of the “Rev. Fr. Nicholas C. Tagbo Achievement Award for a Lifetime of Service”(2012); The Anambra@20 Recognition Award (2011); Christ the King College Onitsha 75th Anniversary Meritorious Service Award (2008); and Christ the King College Onitsha Alumni Association in America (CKC-AAA) Exceptional Service Award (2001); Christ the King College Onitsha Old Boys Association “Distinguished Alumni” Award (2012); Nigerian Institute of Public Relations “Professional Excellence” Award (2013); Catholic Diocese of Nnewi Public Service Award (2013); Anambra State University Igbariam Student Union Government “Altruistic Gentleman” Award (2013) Award of Honour For Selfless Service to the State by Anambra Customary Courts Presidents Association (2014); Rotary Club (Onitsha-East) International Service Award (2014); Nigerian Institute of Architects’ (Anambra Chapter) Meritorious Service Award (2015); Rotary Club (Awka-GRA) Meritorious Leadership Service Award (2016);
Mr. Obaze is married to Dr. Ofunne Omo Obaze a Physician, and they are blessed with children. A widely travelled man, he has visited sixty-five (65) countries. He is an avid sportsman and soccer enthusiast; he reviews books and arts as a hobby.