Addison Mark Wokocha was one of the greatest scholars of Education from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. He also weathered the storm as a top-flight administrator in his public service career of over 3 decades.
Who was Addison Mark Wokocha?
Addison Mark Wokocha (1948-2019) hails from Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. He grew up under the guidance of religious parents as his father was the first indigenous Bishop of the First African Church Mission in Rivers State. He received his PhD in 1989 from the University of Port Harcourt and rose rapidly and became an erudite Professor of Education in 1998 at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. During his sojourn as an Administrator at reputable Education Institutions in Nigeria, he kept undeniable footprints that will stand the test of time. Furthermore, Addison Mark Wokocha’s godliness was never in doubt as he followed the footsteps of his parents till his departure on the 6th of March, 2019 after a brief illness in Abuja, Nigeria. He was 71 years old.
His Birth and Parents
Addison Mark Wokocha was born on the 16th of June, 1948 at Omoku, in the then eastern Nigeria (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria to Rt. Rev. Mark Egba Wokocha and Mrs Dinah Okeanwo Wokocha (nee Ahiakwo) of the Ihi-Ukwu kindred family of Omoku. His father Bishop Wokocha was the first indigenous bishop of the First African Church Mission in Rivers State who worked tirelessly to establish many branches of the church and its schools across old Rivers State; and part of modern Edo, Delta and Imo states. The Church and Schools are firmly rooted in those areas today. Addison was the fifth child in the large family of Bishop Mark Egba Wokocha.
In 1955, young Addison was enrolled as a pupil of Saint Stephen’s United Native African (UNA) School, Omoku and in 1962 he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) in flying colours.
Between 1963 and 1969, Addison was a student at the Baptist High School (BHS) Port Harcourt where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC) and made a Grade I. In 1972, he was admitted into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) to study Plant/Soil Science. In 1976, he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Plant Science. Thereafter, he underwent his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme as an Agricultural Science Teacher at Elerin Grammar School (now in Oyo State).
Owing to his love for Logic and Analytical reasoning, he enrolled for a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Philosophy of Education and successfully completed it in 1984. In 1989, he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from the University of Port Harcourt. The topic of his PhD Thesis was “Right to Education: a philosophical analysis of the issues and problems within the Nigerian context”.
In 2001, after a thorough assessment of Wokocha’s works on Philosophy of Education by six outstanding Professors who were selected from reputable European Universities, he was recommended for and later conferred with the Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) in Educational Philosophy by the Saint Clément’s University. South Australia. He also received a Doctor of Education Ed.D Honourable Causa from the Commonwealth University, Belize, Central America.
Work and career
He began his working career in the Ministry of Agriculture of Rivers State, where he worked briefly before switching to the love of his life (teaching) in the then Rivers State School of Basic Studies (SBS) at Rumuola in Port Harcourt. On, obtaining his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1989, Addison transferred his services to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, (now Rivers State University – RSU) Port Harcourt, where he rose through the ranks from Lecturer II to a Professor of Educational Philosophy in 1998, within a space of 9 years.
His administrative skills and career shaped in his earlier working experience, from SBS and RSU culminated in his appointment as Provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku in 1998. He standardised and transformed the College within a very short period, such that by 2005 when duty demanded that he served his home state, the College became sufficiently visible and trustworthy enough to guarantee that all subsequent appointments to the College leadership have been made from within it.
COE Port Harcourt
In 2005 the Rivers State government appointed Addison as Provost, Rivers State College of Education, Port Harcourt. Within the three and a half years that he served as Provost of the Rivers State College of Education, he laid a solid foundation for the upgrading of the College to a University. it is on record that within this period the College witnessed massive infrastructure development. Fifteen substantive Professors were appointed/promoted.
All the programmes of the College were accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Bill for the upgrading for the College to a University of Education was passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly and awaiting assent by the State Executive Governor before his departure to a further and higher national service by his appointment as Registrar/Chief Executive of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN)
As Registrar/Chief Executive of teacher’s Registration Council of Nigeria from 2008 to 2016, he seriously engaged in the effective professionalization of teaching in Nigeria, also elevating the status of the registered/licensed Teachers in Nigeria in and globally. His efforts in transforming the council for good were so outstanding that it led to the teaching regulatory authorities endorsing TRCN as the headquarters of the African forum of the teaching regulatory authorities (AFTRA) in 2010.
It worthy to note that AFTRA itself is the Africa regional branch of the International (World) Forum of the Teaching Regulatory Authorities (IFTRA). The welfare of the Staff of TRCN was significantly improved as he successfully convinced the Presidency, particularly the National Income, Salary and Wages Commission that TRCN could truly discharge its mandate as a tertiary academic institution (being the apex regulatory body of the teaching profession in Nigeria). TRCN was also elevated from a Category D Agency to a Category B Agency, and Professor Wokocha continued to engaged in dialogues to place TRCN in Category A during his time as registrar/Chief Executive, as he strongly believed that no job was more important than that of a teacher and that no profession was superior to teaching.
Professor Wokocha was rich in experience. He was a teacher, a writer, an accomplished education manager, a distinguished philosopher, a sociable community leader, a patriot, a philanthropist and a committed and loving husband, father and grandfather. His participation in a number of professional and non-professional activities with desirable and outstanding results attests to this fact.
Professor Wokocha won the best performed Provost award for the year 2004 by Teacher’s Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and Nigeria Students’ League. He was later elected the Chairman of the Committee of Provosts., first of Federal Colleges of Education, and later, of all Colleges of Education in Nigeria.
Below are some of Professor Wokocha’s activities and attainments:
- He was an External Examiner to 11 Nigerian Universities and Colleges across all geographical regions between 1995 and 2005.
- Chair Academic Advisory Council, London Graduate School, Alboin College, London and visiting Professor, Commonwealth University Belize
- He was resource person in the appointment of Provosts in Federal Colleges of Education in Oyo, Umunze, Kontagora, Zaria and Yola
- He was President of Council of two Professional Societies Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (FMIC), 2002 and Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration (FICA), 2002,
- He was also, a Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Education,
- Member, Association for Promoting Quality of Education in Nigeria (APQEN, since 1990,
- Member, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), since 2000 and a member of 12 other learned and professional associations
- He established the Addison Wokocha International Centre for Education and Teaching Library, Okposi for ex-gratia reading and research for the general public.
After a long leave of absence due to his federal and state appointments. He returned to his professional first love (teaching) at the Rivers State University in 2016 from where he statutorily retired on 30th September 2018.
Professor Wokocha promoted development at home and everywhere he went. He inspired his generation and those after his, by providing an uncommon leadership and mentorship example which inspired individuals and communities that came in contact with him, to find new methods of broadening their horizon and finding solutions to their challenges. For this, he was honoured at home and abroad with 29 Chieftaincy and other honours and adopted by his Igburu clan of Ogba including ‘Ajie Omekuba Oha’ conferred by his home town Okposi in 2000, “Ikema” by Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Council of Traditional Rulers in 2002.
He was appointed Millennium Development Ambassador by Teachers without Borders in 2010, inducted as member of the Kwame Nkrumah servant leadership hall of fame in recognition of his humanitarian services and dedication to nation building in Nigeria and West Africa at large in 2011, conferred with Knighthood according to the order of St. John the Apostle (KSJA) by the First African church Mission in 2013 and conferred with the prestigious National Productivity Order of Merit award by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in recognition of his productivity and commitment towards Nation Building in 2014, to name but a few.
- Member, Investigation Panel into Poor WASC Performance and Withholding of Results in Rivers State, 1985
- Member, OMPADEC Opinion Leaders’ Committee Rivers State
- Chairman, Committee for Concretization of Nigeria Towards Quality Education in Nigeria, Rivers State
- Director, Obrikom Community Bank, Obrikom, Rivers State
- Member, Rivers State Health Management Board, Port Harcourt
- Member, Governing Board, National Business and Technical Examinations (NABTEB), Benin city, 2001 – 2004
- Member Rivers State Examination Ethics Committee, Port Harcourt
- State Chairman, Policy Implementation on Universal Basic Education (UBE), Rivers State, 2005
- Member, Governing Council, Igbinedion University, Okada
- Member of Council, Teacher’s Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), 2005
- Appointed Justice of the Peace (JP) by Rivers State Government in 1988
- Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria (FCAI) in 2002
- Awarded Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) Rotary International in 2003
- Profile listed in the “Who is Who in Ogba Land (Vol I) by Bright Abali” (Port Harcourt: B’ Alive Publishers Co., 2005, p.33)
He was married to his amiable and very devoted wife Mrs Nkechi Vivian Wokocha, a B.Ed, MPA holder. Their marriage was blessed with six children.
He was a devout Christian of the First African Church Mission Incorporated. He was a Patron of Women Auxiliary and Cathedral Choir, First African, Port Harcourt.
Call to glory
After a couple of health challenges, Professor Addison Mark Wokocha reportedly died on the 6th of March, 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria. He was 71 years old.