August 3, 2021

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The Umuaka pathfinders: 1900 to 2000.

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From 1900 to the year 2000, there are some facts worth knowing about Umuaka community. Over a 100 years ago, many Akalites have explored and captured the globe in diverse human activities and endeavours. Some captured the world locally while others crossed the “equator” and had their names boldly written in gold forever. Brock Lesner, a WWE and UFC heavyweight champion was some years ago known by his slogan which indeed captures the exact picture of the giant strides of Akalites. The slogan which was boldly written on his promotional T-shirt says, “Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat!”

Bring this scenario down to the Umuaka environment; one may simply assume that Mr. Lesner had Akalites in mind, in reference to his famous slogan. Today, Akalites do only three things in the world and nothing more: they eat, sleep, conquer and keep repeating these three activities on daily basis.

Below is a catalogue of events, activities and facts showing how these amazng people have ben eating, sleeping and conquering from 1900 till 2000. Prof Mazi Ojiaku and Prof Greg Okoro described these extraordinary human beings as trail blazers. If any reader has any input to make, he or she is free to contact Umuaka Times for more details.

100 percent credit is hereby given to Prof Mazi Ojiaku and Prof Greg Okoro for this historical masterpiece. Over the years, these two Okoro Brothers have been eating, sleeping, conquering and repeating.

Some achievements especially those of the trail-blazing type, of our fore-bearers, are worth knowing. For instance, the following Umu-Akha indigenes were the first among their contemporaries to achieve these successes:

  1. Samuel Iwuchukwu -Uba– first to secure the First School Leaving (Standard 6) Certificate, in 1927.
  2. Johnson Iroanya Nwachuwabo Durunwaneri (a.k.a. Teacher Nwachiwabo)-Ibele–first to pass the London Matriculation(Teachers’ Grade 1 Certificate)Examination at Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone, in the 1920s.

3.Miss Martha Uzoukwu – Isiozi- the first female to attain the Standard 2 Class at St. Mary’s Primary School, Umu-Akha in1934.

4.Miss Dorathy Nnola Okoro- Uba- the first female to pass the First School Leaving (Standard 6) Certificate Examination at St. Gregory’s Primary School, Amaigbo, in1939.

5.James Enwenanya Duru Uzoma – Ugbele– first to travel to the United Kingdom for further studies in1942.

6.Jude Nwaokoro Durugbor – Amiyi– first to win the Orlu Divisional Scholarship in 1943, and first to pass the Cambridge School Certificate at Christ the King College (C.K.C), Onitsha in 1948.

7.Vincent Ernest Nnawugo Nwanyanwu- Isiozi– first to pass the Teachers’ Grade II Certificate Examination at St Charles Teacher Training College, Onitsha, in 1945.

  1. Brother Andrew Iwuagwu – Ibele– first along with#9
  2. Brother Godfrey Nwokem – Amiyi- to be religiously professed together in1958.

10.Denis Nnadozie Nwokebu – Ugbele–first to graduate with the B. A. Degree from the University College, Legon, Accra, Gold Coast in 1959.

11.Matthew Okoro Oguike – Uba – first to study in the U.S by enrolling at the Jesuit Xavier University, New Orleans in 1959.

12.Miss Justina Adamma Ikeme –Uba- the first female to pass the Teachers’ Grade II Certificate Examination at St. Joseph Teacher Training College, Aba, in 1959, and as Adamma J. Ojiaku (Mrs.) to receive the B. A. Degree in Psychology, from the University of California, Berkeley, in1975.

13.Jonah S. Apakama – Umuele– first to secure nine (9) distinctions in the Teachers’ Grade II Certificate Examination, and four (4) Advanced Papers at a sitting, in the General Certificate Examination (G.C.E) in the 1960s.

14.Ikechukwu Peter Ojinnaka – Uba– the first and only indigene to win the prestigious African Scholarship Program of American Universities (A.S.P.A.U) to study in the U.S. in 1962.

15.Mazi O. Ojiaku – Uba– first  to receive the Doctor of Philosophy Degree, (Ph. D), from the University of California, Berkeley, in1968.

  1. Tobias Awuzudike -Amiyi– first to qualify in Great Britain as the first indigenous lawyer, 1972.

17.Cyprian Ahanotu – Amiyi– first to qualify in Germany as the first psychiatrist, in1972.

18.Clement N. Obielu – Amiyi – first to be ordained, a Reverend Priest of the Roman Catholic Church, in 1974.

  1. Jude O. L. Ezeala – Obinwanne– first to qualify from an American institution of higher learning (Howard University, Washington D.C), as Attorney-at-Law, (J.D), in 1975.

20.Theresa N. Ojinnaka- Uba– first to profess religiously as a Reverend Sister of the Roman Catholic Church, in 1971.

Beyond the Community:

1.Phillip Achazie – Uba– first to play in the All-Emekuku Parish Team as a goal keeper, in the 1930s.

2.Conleath N. Onyewueke – Uba– first to win the All-Orlu Division Bicycle Race, in the mid-40s.

3.Miss Helen Ogumba -Ibele, first to win the All-Amaigbo Parish Singing Competition, in the late 1940s.

4.Boniface Amaefule Okoro – Uba- first to play in the All-Nigeria First Eleven, in the 50s and 60s.  He baffled the English team, Sheffield Wednesday, by scoring the only two goals Nigeria managed against the visiting team. Sheffield played and defeated three Nigerian teams without yielding a goal.  Boniface Okoro, playing for Kaduna 1958, scored two goals. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. Sir, Ahmadu Bello was thrilled. Then a scramble began to bring their son back to Eastern Nigeria. Port Harcourt won the scramble and created a formidable team stacked with the five Os: (Okoro Bonifac, Okoroorji, Onyeador John, Onyeama Cletus,Onyeanwuna Albert).

5.Hippolite Ifeanyichukwu Amuzie -Ugbele first to become Nigeria’s National Junior Table Tennis Champion in 1963. Represented Nigeria in the All-Africa Table Tennis Championship Competition in Accra, Ghana, 1964. In addition, he held the Eastern Nigerian Championship for several years in the 1960s. In medicine, Dr. Amuzie became the first surgeon produced by Akahland in 1978.  His specialty is in Trauma Surgery.  He served as Chief of Trauma Surgery Department in a Southern California Hospital.

6.James Esomonu Obi (a.k.a. Jim Obi) – Ibele– first to be recognized as the most effective insurance operator in Equitable Life Assurance Company, one of America’s biggest  insurance companies, in1982.

  1. Miss Henrietta Nnabue–Uba- first female to represent Imo State in the All-Nigeria Lawn Tennis Championship, in 1987.

Others:

1.Thomas Nwaokwu – Ibele – first Umu-Akha indigene to convert to Christianity, and to bring the first Roman Catholic Church Mission School, St. Mary’s, to his native village, in 1916.

  1. In time, this Roman Catholic Church Mission School surrendered its name, St. Mary’s, to the Central Roman Catholic Church Mission School lately opened in the community, and took another name – St. Andrew’s, in the 1920s.

3.St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church Mission School – Ugbele- first to erect an altar for the Holy Mass, hence the first to be visited in the area by Most Rev. Charles Heery, the first Archbishop of the then Onitsha Diocese, in the 1920s.

  1. Samuel Nwairo – Amiyi- first indigene to roof his house with corrugated iron sheets, in the 30s.
  2. Chief Paul Okoro OkwaraOjiaku – Uba – first Chairman of Umu-Akha Progressive Union, in 1946.
  3. Chief Nnabue OkwaraOjiaku – Uba- longest serving treasurer of Umu-Akha Progressive Union, in the 1940s and 1950s.
  4. Emmanuel Obi – Ugbele– first to attain the post of a Superintendent in the Nigeria Police Force, in the 1950s.
  5. Mrs. Dorathy N. Amuzie- Ugbele – first to establish a Maternity Home in entire Amaigbo Parish,1954.

9.Luke A. Ahanotu – Amiyi- first to attain the Senior Service post in the Nigerian Civil Service, in the 1960s.

10.Andrew Ahamefule Agamakwe (a.k.a. Afams Agams)–Uba- first to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Regional Government of Eastern Nigeria, in the1960s.

11.Chief Benedict Uzoukwu Opara (a.k.a. Akajiaku 1 of Umu-Akha)-Uba – first to found a post- Primary Commercial School, the Akajiaku Commercial Academy, in the community in 1978.

12.Herbert Dikeocha- Achara- first to represent Umu-Akha Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, from 1979 to 1983.

13.Bernard ObidimmaAnyanwu- Ibele- first to attain the post of Managing Director of a bank, and first to establish a mechanized palm kernel-crushing and oil-producing factory, in the 1980s.

14.Timothy Iheanacho- Umuele- first to attain the post of a Permanent Secretary in Imo State Civil Service, in the 80s.

15.Prof. Mazi O. Ojiaku – Uba– first to attain the post of a Director in the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria, in 1996.

16.Chief Benedict I. Okoro – Uba– first to link Umu-Akha to Global Telecommunications Network, in the early 90s, and first, too, to provide the community and its environs, with high quality commercial Pure Water, in 2001.

  1. Darlington Ojy Onwukwe – first to establish an internet based weekly newspaper called Umuaka Times in 2019.

Culled from Umuaka: The Voices of Our Town, Author: Dr. Greg Okoro, Hendershot Publishers, Atlanta, GA. 1994.                                

1 thought on “The Umuaka pathfinders: 1900 to 2000.

  1. Very interesting the impact individuals made here on earth. Great that they set the pace. An indication that it has always been a bright good day.

    However, I came across a story on FB subtitled – Rest on Dad..1982 (38yrs)Today..Afro Ringo Star. this name was popular when we were kids but I thought Afro ringo star was an american only to discover now that he might presumably be a native of Achara Umuaka. Comments that followed the post wrote that he was a super star and a great photographer. I checked back to recall that photographers in those days were wonderful and professional to the core. Their politeness, smart dressing and up to date fashion that enb;azoned their love for aesthetics, putting smile and beauty upon every face.

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