Abele Alfred Pondei (1934 – 2017)

Late Chief Abele Alfred Pondei was from Amassoma community of Bayelsa state. He made a name for himself as the first graduate from his community. In the old Rivers state, he was a famous Chief Livestock Officer that kept footprints on the sands of time.

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Agriculturist, Administrator

Chief A. A. Pondei as fondly called was an Agriculturist par excellence. He was once a Chief Livestock Officer of Old Rivers state, Director General and former Chairman Bayelsa State Civil Service Commission.

Synopsis

Chief Abele Alfred Pondei hails from Amassoma community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. He attended a number of schools and colleges studying Agriculture Sciences in the Western Nigeria. In 1968, he graduated at the prestigious University of Ibadan. He had a successful agriculture and administrative career life in the Niger delta. In 2000, he was appointed Chairman Bayelsa State Civil Service Commission. Chief A. A. Pondei a polygamist and Anglican by faith died in 2017 at age 83.

Early Life

Abele Alfred Pondei was born 3rd of October, 1934 into the family of Mounkurai Pondei and Mrs. Tabaseri Pondei of the Ibenikiri Ama in Amassoma Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.

He received his primary education at St. Stephen School, Amassoma from 1946 to 1952 and got his first school leaving certificate.

In 1953, he enrolled at the Baptist High School, Port Harcourt for his secondary education and got West Africa School Certificate in 1959.

Gracefully in 1961, he won the County Council Regional Scholarship Award and this enable him studied Agriculture at the Akure School of Agriculture between 1962 and 1964 and even so he bagged a Diploma at Moore Plantation at Ibadan.

His needs for tertiary education was met first at the University of Nigeria Nsukka Eastern Nigeria to study Animal sciences in 1966 under the aegis of the Federal Government led Scholarship for the Niger Delta Special Areas.

Subsequently, in 1967 the Nigeria/Biafra civil war broke out, this incident halted his educational journey because his region was ravaged by the civil war. Nevertheless, he relocated to Western-Nigeria Lagos precisely for safety. Thereon, He lived with his elder brother Meliyouwei Miepere Pondei (now deceased) whose house was a refuge camp for many Ijaws. Thereafter, resilient Abele Alfred Pondei got admitted into the University of Ibadan and completed his studies with a B.Sc in Animal science (Second Class Honors Upper Division) in 1968. With this feat, he became the foremost University graduate from Amassoma community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

Family and faith

Chief Abele Alfred Pondei was a staunched Anglican; He was baptized in 1953. More so, he supported the ups and doings of the fold as he was a notable patron of the Boys Brigade Bayelsa state. He was a polygamist, he had three (3) wives and many many dutiful children.

Career

His public service career began in 1953 as he worked with the Census Commission in the enumerator of persons of southern Nigeria. Later, He had a stint as a pupil teacher in Amassoma community.

Thereafter, he worked with the defunct P & T (Post and Telecoms) headquarter Tafawa Belewa square as a Clerical Officer in 1961.

Later on, he then joined the Niger Delta Development Board in 1962 and was posted to Akure (now in Ondo state) in the Western-Nigeria. He was an Agric Assistant.

After his graduation from the University, he assumed the responsibilities as a Research Officer, at the Veterinary Research Institute, Vom in Jos, Plateau state in 1968 to 1970.

His research experience gained traction in later years as a resourceful worker in the Rivers state Ministry of Agriculture.

He rose through the ranks to attain the status as a Chief Livestock Officer and a Deputy Director old Rivers state from 1970 to1984.

Suffice to say, livestock production hits its zenith under his watch in the old Rivers state. With this feat, he was fondly called Chicken Pondei.

Besides, the Agriculture sector, he assumed more responsibilities in his career, becoming an Electoral Officer in 1987 for two (2) years. He conducted the elections that brought in late Dr. Gilbert Imigbi as Council Chairman of Yenagoa Local Government Area in 1989. Chief A. A. Pondei saddled the office for a year and Six (6) months.

As A Director General

His next stint, was in the Food Production and Marketing Agency of the old Rivers state where he was General Manager Pabod Food Company from 1991 to 1994. Suffice to say also, he did all within his capacity to revitalize the ailing food company. Earlier, he was the coordinator of the famous Food For the People Programme under the Military Administrator of old Rivers state Ernest Adeleye.

In 1994, he was again transferred to the civil service mainstream and appointed Director General, Ministry of Agriculture and later transferred to the Ministry of Commence and Industry old Rivers state.

1 October, 1996 Bayelsa state was created, he transferred his service to Bayelsa state his home-state as a pioneer Director General. He was the DG Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning till his meritoriously retirement from the civil service in 1998. Subsequently, he was appointed a Board Member Risonpalm Limited in 1999.

In 2000 thereabout, he was found worthy to serve the Bayelsa state government and was appointed as Chairman Bayelsa State Civil Service Commission by the late Chief D.S.P. Alamieyesigha the then Executive Governor of Bayelsa state.

It is worthy to state herein, During his saddle as Chairman of the commission, he facilitated employments for many of his kinsmen (the Amassoma descent) into the civil service of Bayelsa state.

Awards and Benevolences

He was always the best while working for the interest of his community and it’s people, his state and country. The good people of Uwheru (Ogbono) in Delta state thought it wise to bestow on him a Chieftaincy title as Oniovuesiri of Uwheru Kingdom.

Chief A. A. Pondei had a fulfilled life devoid of acrimony and doldrums of the civil service. He was a member of the prestigious Club 50 of Amassoma and once Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of his community. Even so, he was Patron of the Boys Scout, Ladies Club Amassoma and the Cultural Club Ekowe.

Nonetheless, he was a practical personality and he finds time for farming, writing, freethinking and photography. He was a certified Justices of the peace. Finally, he traveled widely for the knowledge of Agriculture development and most especially he knew the job.

Chief Abele Alfred Pondei’s Death

He took ill severally due to old age and it was reported he passed on Saturday 2nd December, 2017 at the age of 83.

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