Okonjo-Iweala’s Dad dies at 91

Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has announced the death of her father, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo. The former minister through her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, in a statement yesterday announced the death.
Okonjo-Iweala, in the statement, said the Professor of Mathematical Economics, who clocked 91 this year, died in Lagos soon after he arrived from a trip to the United States and Ghana.
“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. My father touched so many lives personally and professionally,” she said.
The former World Bank Chief added: “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, Prof. Kamene Okonjo to his dedication to duty, he was exceptional.”
Prof. Okonjo was until his death the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South LGA, Delta State. He was crowned Obi in 2007.
He served as a lecturer at the Economics Department of the University of Ibadan in 1963 where he founded the first Centre for Demography in Nigeria in partnership with Prof. John Caldwell of the Australian National University.
An alumnus of Kings College, Lagos, and the late monarch earned his first degree in Mathematics as an external candidate of the University of London at 23 and became Principal of Boys High School, Ibadan, in 1952 at the very young age of 24.
In 1955, he proceeded to Germany on a German government scholarship where he spent the next eight years distinguishing himself with two master’s degrees in economics and statistics and a Doctorate degree in Mathematical Statistics.
He served in the UN for 15 years before taking up an appointment as Education Advisor to the Ghanaian government. It was in this position that he developed the double intake system designed to achieve a significant increase in student enrolment rates.
In November 2016, he was honoured with the highest civil national award from the Government of Ghana. President John Dramani Mahama conferred the award on him in recognition of his stellar and distinguished contributions to the country’s education system.

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