Educated in Canada, Germany, and Nigeria, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji earned a doctorate degree in law from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, graduating as the best overall student. His Masters degree earned him the Governor-General of Canada academic gold medal. Prof. Mgbeoji is one of the worlds leading experts in Intellectual Property Rights law and Public International Law. He is also admitted to the bar of Ontario, Canada; and Nigeria.
Ikechi is the Izaak Walton Killam Scholar and professor of law at Canada’s prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School where lectures on Patent Law; International Aspects of Intellectual Property law; and Public International Law. The author of six books and dozens of articles in reputable law journals, Prof. Mgbeoji is frequently consulted by corporate groups, governmental and non-governmental agencies across the world.
He attended Township Primary School, Aba; Eziama High School Aba, and University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
Professor Ikechi Mgbeoji hails from Obuda, in Aba South LGA and is currently the Commissioner for Education, Abia State.
With this intimidating profile I didn’t expect anything less from this distinguished Scholar that our transforming governor of Abia State Dr.Okezie Victor Chibuikem Ikpeazu (Ph.d) carefully selected to be part of his team .
Prof.Ikechi Mgbeoji in the years in retrospect has shown character and tenacity of leader who is ready for the big occasion of transforming the dilapidated infrastructure that has bewildered the Abia State education sector over the years.
At his assumption of office in November 2015, Prof.Ikechi Mgbeoji commenced a familiarization tour of the Abia education sector, His findings was worrisome. He immediately initiated a way forward without drawing a kobo from the state treasury. The following are his achievements
(a).32 schools renovated across the 3 senatorial zones and the project is still ongoing.
(b). The ministry of education sank 15 boreholes at different schools to provide good drinking water to Abia school children
(c). 50 modern school toilets built across the state
(d). The ministry of education under his watch built a modern staff quarters at Ibeku High school Umuahia
(e).Students school fees at our tertiary institutions reduced;
ABSU, ABIAPOLY and College of education Arochukwu.
(f). He supervised a home grown free school feeding program
(g). He launched the education for employment program that is currently training Abia youths to make them employable and also get those wishing to work jobs.
(h). He regularly organizes coding training for secondary school children in Abia State.
(I). 10,000 school desks distributed to schools in Abia.
(J). Education laws to strengthen our educational system initiated by Prof.Mgbeoji.
(k). Over 42 Motor bikes distributed to area/zonal inspectors for effective supervision of our rural schools.
The climax of his achievements is the Abia State International education summit slated for June this year. Where stakeholders in the education sector will brainstorm on the the challenges of bedevilling the Abia State education sector and find a lasting solution to it. The communique that will emerge from the summit will form the new education policy for Abia State
Of course you already know that Abia has maintained 1st position in WAEC for 3 consecutive years. But that has not stopped Prof. Mgbeoji from carefully studying the weaknesses in our educational sector and applying his first class brain, local and international experiences to cut out the weak links and expand opportunities for sustainable great performances.
Abia school system is a healthy blend of private and public investment from cradle through to university. We have almost as many private primary and secondary schools as public ones. All run on same curriculum approved by the ministry of education that Prof heads. We also have 4 tertiary institutions (ABSU, Abiapoly, COED and CHT) and four private tertiary institutions namely Gregory University, Rhema University, Clifford University and Covenant Polythechnic.
Sadly, there is only one federal government owned tertiary institution in the number one education state in Nigeria; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike.
The Honorable Commissioner for education is currently spearheading advocacy for the Federal Government to establish at least one more university and a polytechnic in the state to balance with other states in the South East and the minimum in most states of Nigeria.
In addition to that advocacy, he is pushing for another state owned university of science and technology to take care of the thousands of our science and technology oriented school leavers. Already he has successfully implemented a politically charged and risky agenda of moving the law faculty of Abia State University to Umuahia without much noise and/or backlash. When Prof believes that something is for the greater good you can’t stop him from doing it.
Abia State polytechnic Aba must have presented a unique challenge to Prof Mgbeoji on assumption of office. That school is what you call “a basket case” with cabals who claim autonomy from government but carry plates to government monthly to demand for subventions even while collecting high school fees from thousands of students. If there is any institution in Abia State that is seemingly reform resistant it should be Abiapoly with its cabal that is ready to play on all kinds of mundane sentiments to continue to abuse the school and the hapless students.
Yet Abiapoly is meeting its match in Prof Ikechi Mgbeoji. Though the rot in the school is deep, he has continued to push forward with his reform agenda that will ultimately deliver an institution that can at least sustain itself from its earnings and produce the best quality of students possible while making “sorting” of any kind history.
Just like the Governor, Prof believes that getting foundational education right is key to delivering sustainable growth and development to this and future generations. In preparation for deploying computers to all primary and secondary schools in Abia state he is partnering with Australian educational services providers to train our teachers to serve as retrainers. The training and exchange program which is in its second year is also focusing on students and teachers evaluation methods as well as establishing appropriate learning systems for gifted children and their physically challenged peers. He recently vowed to journalists that as long as he has a say in education “no Abia child will be left behind as each child will receive required focus as a future leader of our people”.
Under his watch, a home grown e-learning software developed by young Abia ICT experts, led by Ugochukwu Brown, using our school curriculum and our local teachers as tutors have been launched as application for parents to make available to their children at home pending the full implementation of the state’s school computerization program.
Prof has also reformed Guidelines for Registration of Private Schools in Abia State and rationalized the posting of teachers while also devolving powers to Zonal SEMB offices for more efficient monitoring and coordination.
Education inspectors in the state have received motorcycles for rural areas monitoring while best performing teachers in the three senatorial areas received cars from the Governor as gifts under Prof.Mgbeoji’s watch. In addition, due recognition is being accorded exceptional performers in our school system to encourage healthy competition and best performing WAEC students were feted and the best awarded scholarships by the Governor. The newly inaugurated state scholarship board is already reviewing and processing those who will benefit from the first phase of the tertiary education scholarships.
Prof.mgbeoji also introduced the internationally acclaimed Bell Curve to the grading of students in tertiary institutions. The Pilot program is currently running at ABSU faculty of law Umuahia.
He is also improving workers attitude to work through supervision, monitoring and implementation of disciplinary measures, provision of computer aided school data and attendance regulator to the schools. Teachers and workers who used to stroll to work at 9am now know better.
In any Abia private school where examination malpractices are established Prof will deregister and fine the school without further notice. He simply cannot stand cheating of any kind as he believes that only a good, functional and merit based system will produce the leaders that can lead the future to glory.
As a proud product of the Abia school system, Prof.Ikechi Mgbeoji is passionate about well equipped schools with laboratories and boarding facilities at secondary schools. His ministry is well on the way to the construction at least 6 model schools in the 3 senatorial zones as samples for private schools to copy as minimal standard in the state. The first set are expected to be launched later this year and the schools which will host nursery, primary and secondary school students in one location will have steady power supply, internet facilities, e-learning facilities, games and sports facilities, modern science laboratories and well fenced properties to protect our children.
The reformist who is advanced in his plans for the first of its kind education summit in Abia State is also exceptionally committed to staff welfare. Long abandoned regular staff promotions have been regularized on his watch.
Prof Ikechi Mgbeoji is thinking outside the box to fund his programs at the ministry of education. Most of his programs are funded through national and international donors and educational support organizations. The free school feeding and free school shoes programs are largely funded by private citizens and donor agencies.
The education sector in Abia State will definitely regain her lost glory as we enter into the second half of this administration.
God bless Abia State.
Matthew Enyinnaya Clinton
SSA on media to honourable commissioner for education Abia State