Major-General Charles Beleye Ndiomu was one of the finest education corps officers the Nigeria military has ever had. He was best known for his resourcefulness and zeal at NIPSS and National War College.
Who was Charles Beleye Ndiomu?
Charles Beleye Ndiomu (1934 – 2002) hails from Odoni in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He graduated from the University College Ibadan in 1962 and joined the Military in 1966. Charles as fondly called kept footprints on the sand of time at Nigeria Military School (NMS), National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), and the War College. Major-General Charles Beleye Ndiomu was a recipient of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) He retired from the Military better than he found it in 2002. His godliness was never in doubt. A happily married man with 7 children. Major-General Charles Beleye Ndiomu died in 2002 in the United Kingdom. He was 68 years old.
His Birth and Parents
Charles Ndiomu was born on 20 December, 1934 at Odoni community in southern Nigeria (now Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State). His parents were Chief Glasgow Ndiomu Ekussah of Odoni community of Sagbama Local Government Area and Mrs. Mary Metoru Ndiomu (nee Okah) of Onogboko an Isoko town in Indosimili Local Government Area of Delta State.
He grew in a polygamous setting, and his father was wealthy somewhat. Chief Glasgow Ndiomu Ekussah a nice and fine gentleman; he had a cordial relationship with Colonial masters at that time. His mother had 7 children and all boys and his father had altogether 13 sons and 2 daughters. While His father helped spread the Christian faith in Odoni town. Charles’ father built the first block house in Odoni village and he died in 1954. Also Mrs. Mary Metoru Ndiomu a devoted Christian passed in 1968.
In 1940, he enrolled into the St. Peters Primary School at Odoni and spent 3 years (1940 to 1943). However, in late 1943 he attended Sacred Heart Primary School, Oguta to continue his primary education as a mission boy with Rev Fr. Millet (now late). But his educational ambition was stalled due to some negative perception emanating from his home town Odoni that he was been neglected at Oguta.
In 1945 he enrolled at Christ the King Primary School, Aba, while he was staying with his maternal uncle and he almost lost his life when he contacted Cerebro-spinal Meningitis. Suddenly, his uncle had tuberculosis and incidentally died of the illness.
On the death of his uncle, he returned to Odoni. He was sent to Aseh in Ndokwa LGA Delta State where he successfully completed his primary education in 1947 and obtained the First School Leaving Certificate.
As A Teacher
Young Charles was employed as a teacher in Agbere in the western Ijaw division of the then western Nigeria in 1948. He was at the Preliminary Training College at Sapele, Delta State for two years from 1949 to 1950. He gained admission into St. Thomas’ College Ibusa in the then Mid-western Nigeria for the teacher’s grade II certificate.
Charles finished in 1954 and taught at St. Peter’s, Agbere. Due to his diligence, he rose to the position of Headmaster before subsequently being transferred to St. Thomas Teacher’s Training College, Ibusa as a tutor until 1959.
At University College Ibadan
In mid-1959, he gained admission into the University College Ibadan to study Arts (Humanities) under the sponsorship of the Catholic Mission and graduated in 1963. He was amongst the best three students in the department. To honour the scholarship bond between the missions and him, he was employed once again as a teacher and posted to his disliked Bomadi town now in Delta State, Nigeria.
Before his graduation at University College Ibadan, in October 1962, the Commission Board of the Nigeria Army met in Kaduna to interview young men who could later enlist into the Army Forces. Charles was one of the prospective candidates who appeared before the Commission Board. Charles and Ten (10) others were successful and they were commissioned on 20 February, 1964.
He was commissioned Lieutenant Nigerian Army Education Corps February 1964; Promoted a substantive Captain on 20 February 1966; Substantive Major on 15 august 1969. Charles attained the rank of substantive Lieutenant-Colonel on 1 October 1972 and after six years on 5 August 1978 he was promoted colonel. He was a Brigadier-General on 1 June, 1980; thereafter he was promoted a substantive Major-General on 1 June, 1984. Major-General Charles Ndiomu finally retired meritoriously in December, 1989.
He attended series of course within and out of the country and one of such courses was at the Administrative Staff College ASCON Badagry, 1977; National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, 1981; Defense Management Course USA, March 1982;
His Military Honors
Charles won several medals during his sojourn as a military officer, which also included:
- Force Service Star (Fss)
- Defense Service Medal (DSM)
- National Service Medal (NSM)
- Republic Medal (RM)
- General Service Medal (GSM)
- 25th Anniversary Medal (TAM)
The then President of Nigeria General Ibraham Babangida decorated Charles with a national honors of the commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1986.
He also got a special award from the American Nigeria Association for training senior executive in international relations in 1988.
Extra Regimental Assignment
- Member, rebel activities tribunal at Benin Mid-western Nigeria in 1969
- Head of Ibadan Zone, Special Military Tribunal on the Recovery Of Public Property in December 1983
- Chairman Treason and Other Offenses Tribunal in 1986 and 1987.
He held a string of appointments which also includes:
- Officer instructor in Nigeria Military School (NMS) Zaria (1964 to 1966)
- Assistant Adjutant General Headquarters, 2 Infantry Division Nigerian Army, Benin City (January to June 1970)
- Military Member Kwara Executive Council (July 1971 – July 1973)
- Principal Instructor, Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna (September 1973 to August 1977)
- Commandant, Nigerian Military School Zaria (August 1979 to August 1982)
- Commandant (second posting) Nigerian Military School Ilorin (August 1982 to August 1984)
- Director Army Education, Lagos (1984)
- Director-General, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, in December 1984
- Provost, Center for Peace Research and Conflict Resolution (CPRCRC) in 1996
Deeds at NMS Zaria
His deeds and achievement at Nigeria Military School (NMS) and National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) are towering and veritable. Charles was appointed head of such formation when things were in shamble and disrepair and needed urgent rescue.
At NMS, for instance, officers of the Education Corps who were university graduates played second fiddle, as they categorized as Grade B officers and while the combatant officers as Grade A. This disparity was a great dilemma in NMS at that time among the Instructors.
The onerous task before Charles as Commandant of NMS was to boost the wilting morale of the Grade B instructor officers, so that the task of educating the young students could be out without any demoralization.
Fortunately, the Headquarters of the Nigeria Army Education Corps was in support of Charles’ aspiration of having a balanced categorization of all officers in NMS.
However, his quest was achieved, as both education corps and combatant officers became equals and categorized as Grade A.
At the time, students result in the West African Examination Certificate was a colossal mess and Charles was concerned about the debacle. He analyzed the problem beforehand and affirmed that staff punctuality and the quality of tutoring was the immediate cause of the problem. Charles embarked on inspection classes in a bid to confirm whether instructors were present and attending to academic chores. He paid attention to punctuality and was quite meticulous about subjects and topics taught by different instructors. With this routine check, things turned around for good as boy soldiers scored hundred percent in the Ordinary level internal examination during the first year Charles was in charge. Afterwards. All the students made their five ordinary level paper (Alphas and Credits) including English and Mathematics. The School repeated this accomplishment throughout Charles’ tenure as Commandant.
Most notable was the disgust for Homosexuality. It was becoming a norm at NMS for boy soldiers (particular kids of Senior and influential Officers) to practice this illicit act. Charles saw the act as the unnatural law of nature and he fought against the forbidden act with vigor no matter who is hurt. He expelled about 20 homosexual students from the Military School.
For more details of the Major General deeds at NMS, giant stride at NIPSS and others, please grab a copy of Charles’ biography written by Deinbo Briggs online or reach via this line +234803958994.
As A Philanthropist
Charles was a silent Philanthropist a typical example of what the right hand and the left hand should not know. He contributed in various forms to education and religious causes. Even after service, He awarded several scholarships and bursaries to the needy, from different parts of the country, all of which he had done without fanfare. On 9 November 1991, he embarked on the launching of 5.5 Million Naira Development Fund for his community Odoni.
Now the true soldiers of Christ must always be prepared to do battle for the truth, and must never, so far as lies with them, allow false convictions to creep in.~ Origen Adamantius
In corollary therefore, the hard work, thoroughness, accomplishments, love, truth, straight-forwardness and prudence demonstrated by Charles qualified him for the titles, the ultimate honors. He was awarded the chieftaincy title Subolou Da Owei (“The Commander in the Warfront”) of Kabowei clan by the Pere of Kabowei clan (delta State) in 1990; he was awarded the Izonebidou Owei (“The man who has the interest of Izon people at heart”) of Tarakiri clan by the Pere of Tarakiri clan (Bayelsa State) in 1992.
Charles held various positions of trust and performed very creditably to the administration of those whom he led and served. In each of these positions he served not less than one term as the case may be thus proving his prudence and sterling leadership qualities
He was also involved in Board appointment such as;
- Member of Board of Government of the National Library of Nigeria (1976 to 1977) as Member
- Member of Council of the University of Ibadan (1984)
- Governors of the institute of Policy and Administration, University of Calabar (1987-1989) as Member
- Member of the Governing Board, Nigeria Institute of international Affairs, Lagos (1985-1986) as member
- President, Nigerian International Tourism Expo, Nigeria Tourist Board, Lagos (1987-1989)
- Member of Board of Governors, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Badagry, Lagos (1988-1989)
- Member of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to South Africa (COMSA) which was one of the observer missions accredited to monitor the South Africa presidential election that saw the emergence of Nelson Mandela (now late) as the first black president of South Africa in 1994.
Major-General Charles Ndiomu was the first alumnus to become the Chief Executive of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS).
Charles was a Christian; he was of the Roman Catholic faith. This he inherited from childhood at Odoni. He was a knight of St. Mulumba (KSM) and took his catholic sacrament seriously in spite of his busy schedules as an officer. Our lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Abuja and Church of Assumption, Fallomo, Lagos are places he did worship his God. He was God centered in all his endeavors.
He married Mrs. Grace Akenawerikumu Ndiomu (nee Nuanyeke) in 1960. Grace was a nice and virtuous woman indeed. They both had Eight children, Five (5) sons and Three (3) daughters who have all graduated from different universities and have all been making their impacts in various disciplines such as Military, law, Customs and what have you; but sadly on December 31, 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria one of Charles’ son Mr. Valentine Woyinenangasuo Ndiomu died and has long been buried at Odoni.
Charles got sick and was even flown to the United Kingdom for series of medication where he eventually died. Late Major-General Charles Ndiomu, the former Director General of NIPSS, Kuru, Jos; the former Provost of the Center for Peace, Research and Conflict Resolution of the National War College was buried on Saturday, April 12, 2002 at Odoni town in Sagbama LGA of Bayelsa State.