Prof. Chukuka Okonjo, father of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is dead.
The death of Okonjo, 91, was announced in a statement released by Okonjo-Iweala’s spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu.
He died in Lagos after he arrived from a trip to the United States of America.
The statement signed by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who served in the former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s government, reads: “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.
“As his family we remember him most as a loving father and inspiration who showed, by personal example, the value of a life of service anchored on integrity, fear of God and love for others.
“We thank the Almighty God for the wonderful gift who was our father.”