On 11th September 2020, a very brilliant mind, a bright star that shown on the horizon of Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, the Federal Civil Service, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and the private sector of the Nigerian economy passed on. Professor Ralph Chiemeka Nwokedi Oranyelugo Enugwu-Ukwu na Umunri was born on 24th December 1937 into the eminent family of late Pa (Hon) John Nwokedi Okeke, the first President-General of Enugwu-Ukwu Patriotic Union (EPU), later renamed Enugwu-Ukwu Community Development Union (ECDU). He spent his childhood in Enugu and attended New Bethel College, Onitsha and was one of the pioneer students of the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
He studied in prestigious international universities namely Princeton University New Jersey USA, and Washington International University Penn. State USA, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree, post graduate fellowship and doctorate degree respectively. Prof Ralph Nwokedi began his career as an administrative officer in the Federal Government in 1964 and rose to the rank of Principal Secretary in the then Federal Cabinet office. During his civil service career, he undertook many diplomatic assignments and represented Nigeria on the Board of Governors of International Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) in Washington D.C, and was the Administrative and Political spokesman of Nigeria in the World Administrative Radio Conference sponsored by the United Nations for twelve weeks in Geneva in 1980s. He was also on Nigerian delegation to Commonwealth and ECOWAS Conferences in Cyprus, U.K, Ghana, and Kenya and led a Government delegation to China. Prof Ralph Nwokedi served as Deputy Secretary to the Constitution Drafting Committee that midwifed the Presidential Constitution in Nigeria in 1979 and was subsequently involved in the implementation of the Transition Programme from the military regime to the civilian administration of President Shehu Shagari in October 1979.
While in the Federal Cabinet Office, Prof Nwokedi served as Secretary to high powered Presidential Administrative Panel on Nigerian Airport Authority, Secretary Judicial Tribunal on Exams Leakage in the West African Examinations Council in Nigeria, and Secretary, National Commission on Education for Citizenship, His public service career was interspersed with academic studies in universities and professional institutions overseas such as University of Pittsburg, USA, and Urwick Management Center, Slough, U.K as well as a Postgraduate Fellowship in an Ivy League University, that is, Princeton University, New Jersey USA.
Prof Ralph Nwokedi voluntarily retired from the public service in 1988 to become the Head of Administration of a new Commercial Bank, Orient Bank Plc. He became the MD/CEO of Moneyline Finance and Management Consultants that offered consultancy services to both government and private institutions.
In 2003, he decided to pursue fully an academic career to enable him publish books and journals. He then joined the University of Nigeria Nsukka as a Senior Lecturer in Public Administration and Local Government. He later became Associate Professor in Caritas and Godfrey Okoye Universities as Head of Department of Business Management in 2007 and 2010 respectively. He was also a Visiting Professor in a foreign university. He served on National Universities Commission’s panel on accreditation of post graduate programmes in public administration at some federal and states universities.
Prof. Ralph Nwokedi was a prolific writer. He authored many books and publications. Amongst his books are Power Sharing in Nigerian Federation, Revenue Allocation and Resource Control in Nigerian Federation, Nigerian Federation at a Glance, Reflections on Power and Revenue Sharing Amongst Tiers of Government in Nigeria, Politics of Nigerian Federation, Past, Present and Future, and Storm over Revenue Allocation And Resource Control In Nigerian Federation as well as two novels/drama books i.e Family in Crisis and My Choice, My Faith.
For his brilliant public and academic performances, Prof. Ralph Nwokedi was a recipient of U.N Undersecretary’s Award in Political Science, Parvin Fellowship in Public and International Affairs, Princeton, USA , Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration of Commonwealth University in conjunction with the London Graduate School, Marquis’s Biographers’ Who is Who Award in Public Finance, USA, U.N Peace Ambassador’s Award, Rotary International Public Affairs Award, Fellowship of African Institute of Applied Economics, Fellowship of Institute of Management Consultants and Membership Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Nigerian Institute of Management and Nigerian Institute of Personnel Management. As renowned biographer and erudite professor of public affairs eulogized during public presentation of Professor Nwokedi’s last two books’
Benjamin Franklin says: “if you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either writes things worth reading or do things worth writing about”
Professor Nwokedi was a Knight of St Christopher and a Cabinet Chief with the title of Oranyelugo Enugwu Ukwu na Umunri.
Prof. was a committed Christian. He ensured his family was raised in the fear of God. When talking to his children about his achievements in life, he would say “I don’t have a godfather but the Father God”. He believed in the power of prayer and faith in God. Prof. was active in church, especially at All Saints Church in Enugu, where he lived. One of his books titled “Family in Crisis”, a concise religious comedy was inspired by a play he jointly composed and acted in along with his son, Obinna on a certain Fathers’ Sunday at the church. He regularly made quiet donations to the church to further the cause of the gospel.
Oranyelugo will surely be missed by many who had the opportunity of knowing him or making his acquaintance. He will be remembered for his intelligence, resilience, gentility, and the spirit of Camaraderie when and wherever he was around.
He was survived by his widow, Chief Mrs Benedette I. Nwokedi (Gosim of Enugwu-Ukwu), Miss Nneka Nwokedi, Mrs. Amaka Allison (ACA), Engr. Ugochi Horace, His Honor, Barr. Patrisha Puregold Ezechi, Engrs Nnamdi, Emeka and Obinna Nwokedi, many grandchildren, many brothers and sisters and other relations.
A service of songs will be held in his honor on Monday 7th December 2020 at All Saints Anglican Church, GRA Enugu at 5pm, and Commendation Service in the same church on Thursday December 10th 2020 at 9am and service of songs in his residence at Ezi-Okpalanri, formal Ezi-Elias Enugwu-Ukwu at 5pm.
His remains will be laid to rest at his Enugwu-Ukwu residence on Friday December 11th after funeral service at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Uruekwo, Enugwu Ukwu at 10am. May his gentle soul rest in peace, Amen.
Engr. Kennedy Emeka Nwokedi wrote this piece on behalf of the family.