By Stanley Nwanosike
Prof. Ukwu I. Ukwu, Education Commissioner in the defunct East Central State is dead.
Ukwu, an economist and former Executive Director, Centre for Development Research, Management and Training, died in an Enugu hospital on Feb. 12 at the age of 84, after a brief illness.
The wife of the deceased, Comfort, confirmed the demise of the educationist on Thursday in Enugu in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Comfort told NAN that Ukwu died at Niger Foundation Hospital, Enugu.
“Our father and my husband passed on two days ago, precisely Monday, at the Niger Foundation Hospital, Enugu, where he had been receiving treatment for some time now.
“It is devastating to the family as a whole as well as associates, students and those he had been mentoring for something now,’’ Comfort said.
Ukwu’s Personnel Assistant, Mr Sylvester Kelechi, told NAN that the professor emeritus dead on Monday at about 3:30 p.m.
“The entire family is yet to meet officially over his death and there is no arrangement yet for his burial,’’ Kelechi said.
Kelechi said that Chief Martin Elechi, the former governor of Ebonyi, visited on Tuesday and condoned with the family.
NAN recalls that Elechi was a cabinet member with Ukwu, in the defunct East Central State government, led by Mr Ukpabi Asika, as the Administrator.
The family of the deceased opened a condolence register on Wednesday, while 15 people had already signed.
Born on Dec. 3, 1934, he attended St. Stephen School, Umuahia from 1940 to 1946.
From 1949 to 1953, he was at Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu, and at University of Ibadan from1956 to 1961.
He later attended University of Cambridge from 1962 to 1965.
In 2005, Ukwu received the national honour of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).
He held various leadership positions in major learned societies, including the Nigerian Geographical Association, the Nigerian Institute of Marketing, the Nigerian Economics Society, and the Social Science Academy of Nigeria.
He also consulted for The World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, DFID, ECOWAS, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and National Planning Commission.
He taught in many universities within and outside Nigeria, including University of Nigeria, Nsukka.