Oseloka H. Obaze

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. 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 Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on a 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 statutory 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. 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.

Early life

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).

Higher Education

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

Mr. Obaze served in the Nigerian Foreign Service in the administrations of President Shehu Shagari, Gen. Muhamadu Buhari and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, 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 December 1989. He was also a member of the Nigerian delegation that negotiated the outcome documents of the 17th and 18th U.N. Special Sessions in February 1990 and April 1990. 

United Nations

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 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. 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 U.N.-A.U. 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 U.N. 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 U.N./U.N.D.P./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 U.N. 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) and the author of three forthcoming books, “Regarscent Past: A Collection of Poems” (Ben Bosah Books, 2015,), Here To Serve, (Ben Bosah Books, 2015,) and Prime Witness (2016) and working on a novel titled, “Happy Eulogy”.   The manuscript of his collection of poems, “Regarscent Past: A Collection “of Poems” placed second among the top three finalists in the poetry category in the African Writers Endowment Publishing Grant Program for 2004. He 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) and has collaborated or made research contributions to several published books, including Ibrahim Gambari’s Political and Comparative Dimensions of Regional Integration: The Case of ECOWAS (1991); Joseph N. Garba’s The Honour To Serve: Reflections on Nigeria Presidency of the 44th UN General Assembly (1993) and Fractured History: Elite Shifts and Policy Changes In Nigeria (1995). He is a 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.

Strategic Policy Papers

Obaze has published numerous essays and articles on governance, political and social, and development issues, on journals, websites and newspapers, including: “Nigeria-Governance in E Major”(2015); “Migrant Crisis- If You Break It You Own It”, (2015); “Salvaging Nigeria’s Local Government” (2015); “