Delta monarch, Chukwuka Okonjo turns 90
Father of the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Chukwuka Okonjo, will on Thursday, June 21, turn 90 years.
Okonjo is the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State and author of over 100 articles and books including “University Tertiary Education for All”, a 2017 publication by Safari Books.
The academia was crowned Obi in 2007 and began his career as an academic at the Economics Department of the University of Ibadan in 1963 where he founded the first Center for Demography in Nigeria in partnership with Prof John Caldwell of the Australian National University.
During the civil disturbances that preceded the Nigerian Civil War, he moved to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he served as Head, Department of Economics and later Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences before he emerged Brigadier in the Biafran Army and Head of the iconic Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighters (BOFF) during the war.
An alumnus of Kings College, Lagos, Okonjo earned his first degree a Bachelors 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 masters degrees in economics and statistics and a Doctorate degree in Mathematical Statistics.
Okonjo left the University of Nigeria in 1973 and joined the United Nations as Director of the UN Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) located in the University of Ghana, Accra.
He served in the UN for 15 years before taking up appointment as Education Advisor to the Ghanaian government.
It was in this position that he developed the double intake system designed to achieve significant increase in student enrolment rates.
In November 2016, Okonjo received the highest civil national award from the Government of Ghana.
The award was conferred on him by President John Dramani Mahama in recognition of his stellar and distinguished contributions to the country’s education system.
He is married to Prof Kamene Okonjo with seven children, 21 grand-children and great grand-children.