BY IBEM ONWUKA IBEM
I was searching for something in my little archive/library; i came across this one of my favourite books again; AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THIS ERUDITE OHAFIA SCHOLAR AND ACADEMIC GURU IN THE 40s, LATE CHIEF UKOHA IGWE UKOHA. (1ST AMERICAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATE WITH FIRST CLASS HONOURS in the then Eastern region.
He was born on 1st July, 1924 in Okagwe Ohafia, Abia State. He attended the Ohafia Central School, came out with flying colours and had his name enrolled on the school’s honour board in 1937. He won the Church of Scotland Mission Scholarship to Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar and came out in 1941. In 1948, he won the Ohafia Improvement Union University Scholarship alongside wth Prof. Eme Onuoha Awa and Dr. Ngwobia Uka, all blessed memory. He enrolled in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, USA in 1949 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree with 1st CLASS IN MATHEMATICS in 1951 and a Master of Science in Chemistry from the University of Detroit, Michigan, USA in 1953. He returned to Nigeria as the 1st AMERICAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATE with 1st class honours in the then Eastern region.
Late Ukoha Igwe was the 2nd Ohafia indigenous University Graduate 2nd only to Late Prof. Eni Njoku, he was the 3rd University Graduate in Abia State after Late Alvan Ikoku followed by Eni Njoku as the 2nd University Graduate and Ukoha Igwe still stand as the 1st AMERICAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATE IN ABIA STATE.
As man of many firsts, Ukoha Igwe Ukoha was the 1st indigenous Nigerian University lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1st indigenous Scientific Research Officer in the then British West African Countries of Nigeria, Gold Coast, now Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, 1st Principal of Ohuhu Community Secondary School, Umuahia, 1st Ohafia Principal of a Teacher Training College, Obizi, Mbaise, Imo State and the 1st substantive Principal of Ohafia Model High School, Ebem Ohafia. He served as a Graduate Science master in Evangel Community High School, old Umuahia, Federal Government College, Umuahia and Principals- Isuochi Secondary School, Oboro Secondary School and then, Supervisor of schools, Zonal Education board, Umuahia. He served Ohafia in many capacities for 57 years. Late Chief Ukoha Igwe Ukoha due to his unquantifiable and immense contribution to Ohafia development was conferred with the Chieftaincy title of BEKEE MBU LUU UZO LUA IGBO (1st European to stumble into Igbo land) by His Royal Highness, Late Ezie Onuoha Uma, the Udumaeze of Isiama Autonomous Community on 27th April, 1996 during the celebration of his 74th birthday anniversary.
Chief Ukoha was instrumental and palyed a protagonist role to the creation of many autonomous communities in Ohafia namely, Isiama, Ebem etc. As President General of Okagwe Development Union, deputy chairman, Owuwa Anyanwu County Council, Chairman, Isiama local Council, Secretary General, Isiama Development Union and Secretary of Ohafia Improvement Union in 1939, he created the Okagwe Community Cooperative Society, pioneered and initiated the elecrification of Okagwe, establishment of the General Hospital, Ohafia, Isiama Comprehensive Secondary School, Okagwe, Amangwu Technical School, Okamu Secondary School, Okon, Akanu Ohafia Secondary School and Ohafia Model High School where he left an indelible footprints on the sands of time. In the 70s, he led an Ohafia contingent to the Festival of Arts, Enugu with some of our traditional dances and it is still on record in the radio signal in many of the Radio Nigeria stations still have the tune derived from URE dance.
He deserved to be celebrated as a renonwed academia. Copied from his autobiography. You can buy and read more to verify by yourself.
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