Adam Joshua Udo-Ema

Born 9th of October



He attended Etinan Town School (now John Kirk Memorial School) from 1922 to 1923. He also enlisted into Etinan Institute from 1924 to 1927. He became a teacher in Qua lboe Church School, Afia Nsit (Edem Urua Nkor) between 1927 and 1929. He later resigned from the Qua lboe Mission and joined the Methodist Mission. He was appointed a teacher in the Methodist Mission and posted to Oyubia, Oron, between 1929 and 1930. Between 1930 and 1934, he was a student on a mission scholarship at the Methodist College, Uzuakoli. On his return, he lectured at the Methodist Boys' High School, Oron from 1935 to 1941. He passed the Grade 1 Teachers Certificate Examination in Fine Arts in 1937 and Geography in 1939. He was a Sunday School Superintendent, Oron; local preacher, housemaster and District Scout Master for Eket Division. He resigned from his employment at the Methodist Mission because of the refusal to pay a salary commensurate with his qualification He was appointed a Tutor at Qua Iboe Mission Secondary School Etinan, in Art and Geography, in 1942, before he left to take government appointment in December of the same year. He became a Tutor at Government Training College, Kumba in British Cameroons from 1943 to 1946 and was elected the District Scout Commissioner in the Cameroons in 1944. He passed the University of London Matriculation Examination in English Language, Elementary Mathematics, French, Geography and Religious Knowledge, in 1945. He was awarded a Medal of Merit for outstanding services to the Scout Movement in Nigeria in December 1946. In December 1947 he was appointed the first African Travelling Scout Commissioner (Organising Regional Commissioner) for Eastern Nigeria and awarded Hold Gilwell wood Badges in Scouting. Between 1947 and 1949, he was a student on a Federal Government scholarship at the University of London Institute of Education. In 1949, he studied in the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts and obtained a Certificate in Education and Diploma in Art. He was appointed Vice-Principal, of Government Teachers' College Okene, near Lokoja, from 1950 to 1954. He transferred to the Department of Commerce and Industries, Eastern Region before regionalisation took place throughout the federation. He served as Assistant Pottery Officer at, Government Pottery Training Centre, Okigwe from 1954 to 1955 and an Assistant Pottery Officer in charge of rural potteries in Uyo and Annang Provinces from 1956 to 1957. He transferred to the Ministry of Education of Eastern Nigeria and was appointed tutor, at Government Teacher's Training College, Uyo in 1958. He was appointed Chief Examiner in Grade II Teachers' Certificate Examination, Fine Arts in 1958 and promoted to the post of Education Officer in September 1959. He prepared a syllabus for the Grade ll Teachers Certificate Examination in handicrafts and Arts, in 1960. He studied on scholarship at Indiana University, United States from 1960 to 1961 and obtained M.Sc in Education with Psychology as his major. He also obtained a Diploma in Audio-Visual Education and methods. He also studied in London in 1962 and got a Certificate in Teaching Aids Utilisation. Chief Ema held membership in learned societies as a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute (FRAI) in 1948, a Member of the Society of Industrial Artist (MISA) in 1949, and a member of the National Education of America (MNEA) in 1962. He was promoted as senior Education Officer (Senior Inspector of Education) in Uyo Province in April 1965. In 1966, he was posted to lkot Ekpene, to cover the lkot Ekpene and Abak Divisions. In 1968 he was posted to the Ministry of Education Zonal office, Uyo, and shortly after that, to Calabar to take charge of Primary Education and Teachers' Training and Adult Education. He later became the head of Planning and Research in the Ministry of Education, South Eastern State. He retired in 1972. On his retirement from service, he was offered an appointment by the Institute of Education, University of lfe, to lecture on Audio-Visual Methods and Communications. In 1973, under severe pressure from the then South Eastern State Government, he returned to take charge of cultural activities in the State as the Chief Cultural Officer. In October of the same year, he started the cultural activities which won the South Eastern State first place, and the Head of State's Gold Gong in Kaduna at the All Nigeria's Festival of the Arts. In 1976, he terminated his contract with the state government, The federal government appointed him in charge of the Nigerian crafts exhibition during the FESTAC '77. In April 1977, he was appointed Senior Research Fellow by the University of Calabar a post he held until 1983 when he withdrew his services finally. In May 1993, Chief A.J.U. Ema was honoured as the Father of Nigeria's Contemporary Arts by the University of Nigeria Arts Graduates in Lagos. As an artist, author and educationist, he was mentioned in the International Directory of Anthropologists and in Africa's Contemporary Art and Artist. He wrote many books on arts and education and many articles on various aspects of our culture. He was a member of the National Preparatory Committee on Nigeria's Participation in the Second World Black African Festival of Arts and Culture, (FESTAC)in 1977.
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