OKPARA, Michael Iheonukara

State of Origin: Abia Local Government Area: Umuahia North Village /Town: Umuegwu Okpuala Ohuhu LateChief Dr Michael Ihconukara Okpara . GCON. LSM. LAH. a powerful nationalist, a natural leader, a patriot, was the Premier of the former Eastern Regionof Nigeria. He was known to be a leader who led by example and no probe ever found fault with his administration. Fie never compelled people ) follow because the Igbo saw his leadership as a true and an honest one. He was born on Christmas Day. 1920 Education • Afugiri Central School Umuahia • Methodist College Uzuakoli 1941 • Yaba Higher College 1944 • University of Dublin Ireland • Royal College of Physician Edinburgh Scotland lob Experience and Employment • Assistant Medical Officer, Government Ilospital Maiduguri Set up Private Medical Practice in Umuahia 1949 1952 • Honorary Surgeon Amachara Methodist Hospital near Umuahia. during the time he started his political activism. Was arrested for organising a political rally in 1949, during the shooting of Coal Miners at Enugu. Joined the NCNC and drew up the Party's Manifesto on Health 1951 • Contested and won election into the Eastern House ofAssembly under the banner of NCNC 1951 • Was named the Ag. Chairman and Party Leader by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe when he was President of Nigeria. At independence, when Zik left the Regional House as Premier. Dr Okpara was elected the Premier of the Region. • Appointed Minister without Portfolio Eastern Region 1952 • Minister of Health 1952 1953 • Minister of Production 1954 • Minister of Agriculture 1957-1958 • Appointed Premier of Eastern House 1959 and the Ag. President of NCNC Dr.Okpara's Achievements in Office Too many to list here but a few key ones include • Moral. Philosophical and Ethical Transformation of the Identity of the people of Eastern Region- He gave a focused leadership • Transformed the Agricultural Life of the people- many Farm Settlements were built, food production enhanced • Industrial Foundation and Transformation- build industries like Golden Guinea. Ceramics. Rubber Factory. Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt and Enugu. Niger Gas Factory at Emene Enugu. Aba Textiles. Nkalagu Cement Factory. Pepsi Cola Onitsha. Owerri Shoe Industry. Asbestos Factory. Micheiin Factory in Port Harcourt. Obudu Cattle Ranch. Cement Factory in Calabar. Trans-Amadi Industrial Lay out in Port Harcourt • Transformed Education - built many primary schools, teacher training colleges, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, upgraded the number of secondary schools in the region, and allowed Missions to be partners in providing quality education and health care. • Builtmany hospitals and upgrade Health Centres and maternity home. Leprosy clinics at Itu. Oji River, Uburu. Uzuakoli got support and big grants in aid. • Roads, big water scheme, and rural urban development took place. Other Political Exploits • Known as M.I.POWER, he was the Leader of the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) - which defeated the traditional NCNC-NPC Alliance in the 1964 General Election • Had high Profile in Political links and partnerships. Respected all over the place because of his straight forwardness and sincerity. • Had high reputation in many places so much so that during the 1966 Military Coup, there was no attack on him in his Premier's Lodge at Enugu. • After the DeclarationofBiafra Republic,served as Political Fatherto the YoungRepublicand identifiedwith the people throughout the period of hardship and struggle. Went on some Foreign Missions on behalf of Biafra . • Went on self exile to Ireland at the end of the War and returned in 1978 Awards and Honours • Honoured by his country with Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON) • Ihc Abia (Light of Abia) posthumous. • Many streets named in his honour, College ofAgriculture and a University ofAgriculture named after him for his Agricultural Revolution in • Member of many Professional Bodies and Non-Professional Bodies • He was married to Chief Mrs Adanma Okpara and they were blessed with many children. He was a Special Igbo Leader still remembered for his devotion, commitment and personal sacrifice for the good of his people. He never enriched himself at the expense of his people. He was an honest and Clean Man. He was a Leader the Igbo would not forget. He raised the Profileofthe Igbo and is still an ICON to be emulated as a LEADER.He died peacefully on December 17"' 1984. We wish modern leaders would be like DR MICHAEL IHEONUKARA OKPARA.
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