Delta State Where Accomplished Academic Icons Emerge As Village Kings, Loses Ogwashi Monarch, Prof. Okonjo

The Oasis Reporters

March 16, 2021


Obi (Prof) Chukwuka Okonjo, seated at an event to honour him.


Obi Chukwuka Okonjo.

A visit to even remote villages in Delta State in Nigeria’s oil rich south south region reveals one thing : Most of the kings that reign in their communities, pouring libations to household God’s and village deities are mainly college professors and doctorate degree holders from Ivy League universities all over the world.

The days of having mediocre or illiterate kings like those that signed treaties with the British colonial overlords are over.

Trendy kings in jeans and CD players are in place. They could be professors of economics or medicine, yet they’ve come back home to govern their rural communities.

An announcement has just been made about the passing of the Ogwashi-Uku king.

Here’s a statement by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, World Trade Center Director General, the King’s daughter. :



On behalf of my siblings and relatives of the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Uku, I announce the passing of my father, Obi Professor Chukuka Okonjo, the immediate past Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State at the age of 91.

He died in Lagos soon after he arrived from a trip to the United States of America and Ghana. We are immensely grateful that his last moments were peaceful and that he died the same way he lived his life – with quiet dignity.

Daddy was an accomplished man on so many levels – a highly respected academic, international public servant, university administrator, intellectual and traditional ruler. He held:
▪ BSc Mathematics, London, UK
▪ Msc Mathematics, Erlangen, Germany
▪ MSc Economics, Erlangen, Germany
▪ Phd Mathematical Statistics, Cologne, Germany

In the course of his rich and rewarding career, he served in many positions, including:

▪ Mathematics and Science Teacher, Government College, Umuahia
▪ Mathematics and Science Teacher, Western Boys High School, Benin
▪ Principal, Ibadan Boys High School, Ibadan
▪ Co-founder of the Centre for Demography at the University of Ibadan
▪ Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Ibadan
▪ Principal Lecturer, Statistics, University of Ibadan

▪ Brigadier and Head of the Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighters (BOFF) during the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War
▪ Professor of Mathematical Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
▪ Founder, Institute of Demography, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
▪ Head, Department of Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
▪ Founder and Director of the Center for Population Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
▪ Economic Adviser, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
▪ Professor of Economics, University of Ghana, Legon
▪ United Nations Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), located in Accra, Ghana
▪ Education Adviser to the Government of Ghana
▪ Founder, Double Intake educational system (adopted by the Ghanaian Government)
▪ Member, Nigerian Economic Society
▪ Member of the Board of Trustees and Life Patron of ASUU
▪ Pro Chancellor, University of Ilorin

It is a tribute to the kind of life that Daddy lived that, on his 90th birthday last year, a delegation of old students of Ibadan Boys High School presented him with a letter of commendation written in 1953 in which a colonial education administrator praised him highly for the all-round improvements he achieved in the school within a short period of time. He was only 25 then.

Daddy was a passionate intellectual and prolific writer whose last book was published at the age of 90.

He touched so many lives personally and professionally and was an unrelenting believer and practitioner in the power of education to transform lives.

In pursuit of this commitment, Daddy sponsored the education of at least 19 students up to university level in addition to his own seven children. He inspired and motivated so many more.

Having witnessed the ravages of war, he was committed to unity and peaceful coexistence of all. From his marriage of 66 years to our mother, Professor Kamene Okonjo to his dedication to duty, he was exceptional.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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