Former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, dies at an Abuja hospital on Thursday 14 December 2023.

Ezeife who marked his 85th birthday anniversary last month passed on at the Federal Medical Centre in Abuja, the family said in a statement.

The statement, endorsed by Chief Rob Nwakaire Ezeife, reads as follows:

“On behalf of the Ezeife Dynasty of Igbo-Ukwu, I wish to announce the promotion to glory of our most distinguished son, Okwadike, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, CON, a former Federal Permanent Secretary, the first Executive Governor of Anambra State, a former Political Adviser to the President and former Presidential Aspirant.”

“This sad event took place yesterday at 6pm at the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja.

More details about the deceased and the arrangements for his State Burial will be announced later.”

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Chukwuemeka Ezeife can be described as one of the nationalists of Igbo origin, those who made good by dint of hard work and perseverance. Born in his hometown, Igbo Ukwu, on 20 November 1937, he could not afford to enter a brick and mortar high school but nevertheless educated himself through correspondence courses and ended a stellar career as federal permanent secretary. And then garnished the career by joining politics and winning Anambra State governorship election in January 1992. Gen Sani Abacha truncated the Third Republic in November 1993, abruptly ending the tenure of all elected Governors.

Ezeife began his working career as a school teacher while studying as a correspondence student. He eventually gained admission to study economics at the University College Ibadan. He thereafter proceeded to Harvard University, USA on a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship for both master’s and PhD degrees, which he completed in 1972.

Before returning to a federal civil service job, he taught at Makerere University College, Kampala Uganda and held another teaching fellowship stint at Harvard.

Ezeife described himself as a social democrat and was known to consistently speak his mind on issues of civil and political rights, including justice for marginalized Igbo in Nigeria. As Governor, he used his civil service knowledge to smartly transfer Nnamdi Azikiwe University and State Polytechnic Oko to the Federal Government. This decision ensured the survival of the two schools, and paved the way for the establishment of other state owned schools to address the admission gap for students of the State . He also served as political adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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