Festus Okotie-Eboh

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Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh

Festus Okotie-Eboh (1919 – January 1966) was a Nigerian politician and former Minister of Finance during the administration of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Okotie-Eboh was born to an Itsekiri Chief, Prince Okotie Eboh in Warri Division, a town along the Benin River in Niger Delta. web|url=http://www.waado.org/UrhoboHistory/WesternNigerDelta/Sagay-2003/Sagay-Ukueku.html%7Ctitle=Chief J. E. Ukueku, Urhobo Leader and Elder Statesman, Queries Professor Itse Sagay's Claims on Warri|website=www.waado.org|access-date=2017-03-29}}</ref> Before his change of ethnicity, he was Chief Festus Samuel Edah. He was a National Treasurer of the Nigerian First Republic party, NCNC, he was also a leader of the Federal Parliamentary Party of NCNC, replacing K.O. Mbadiwe.[1]

Early life and business career[edit]

Okotie Eboh was born Festus Samuel Edah[2] in Benin River, old Warri division. From 1932 to 1936, he attended Sapele Baptist School.[3] After his secondary education, he worked for a year as a junior assessment clerk in the Local District Office and thereafter went to work at his alma mater as a teacher. In 1937, he was employed by Bata Shoe Company as an accounting clerk; while working as a clerk, he also took his time to study bookkeeping and accounting. In 1944, Bata transferred him to Lagos as a Chief Clerk and the West Coast Accountant. He was in Lagos for a year before returning to Sapele to become Deputy Manager of Sapele branch of the shoe company. In 1947, he was sent to Prague, Czechoslovakia for further training where he obtained a diploma in business administration and chiropody. He left Bata Shoe to establish a timber and rubber business. He was involved in a rubber exporting business trading under the company name of Afro-Nigerian Export and Import Company. The firm exported ribbed smoked sheet rubber to Europe and North America.[4] In 1958, he opened a rubber-creping factory and later in 1963, he started Omimi Rubber and Canvas Shoe factory. He also started a few ventures with two foreign partners: Dizengoff and Coutinho Caro, the partners promoted Mid-West Cement Co, a cement clinker plant in Koko and Unameji Cabinet Works.

Okotie Eboh got married in 1942 and together with his wife, started a string of schools in Sapele. The first school was Sapele Boys Academy, followed with Zik's College of Commerce. In 1953, he started Sapele Academy Secondary School.In the 1940s and 1950s, Okotie Eboh was a board member of Warri Ports Advisory Committee, Sapele Township Advisory Board and Sapele Town Planning Authority.

Political career[edit]

In 1951, after some influence from Azikiwe, he contested for a seat and was elected to the Western Region House of Assembly. In 1954, he was elected treasurer of the N.C.N.C. and was successful as the party's candidate to represent Warri division in the House of Representatives. He was nominated as the Federal Minister of Labour and Welfare in January, 1955, and two years later, he was made Finance Minister.

Personal life[edit]

Okotie Eboh got married to his wife, Victoria, an Itsekiri lady in 1942.

Death[edit]

Okotie-Eboh was assassinated along with Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa in the military coup of January 15, 1966, which terminated the Nigerian First Republic, and thus civilian rule.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rosalynde Ainslie, Catherine Hoskyns, Ronald Segal; Frederick A. Praeger, Political Africa: A Who's Who of Personalities and Parties. Frederick A. Praeger, 1961

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sklar, Richard. Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation. Africa World Press Press. p. 227. 
  2. ^ Ekeh, Peter (2005). History of the Urhobo People of Niger Delta. Urhobo Historical Society. p. 292. 
  3. ^ Falola, Toyin. Historical Dictionary of Nigeria. Scarecrow Press. p. 284. 
  4. ^ http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/12/when-will-nigeria-stop-this-unfairness-to-chief-festus-okotie-eboh/