Elder Statesman, Teacher, Barrister, Administrator, Politician
My birth occurred on the 12th of June 1937, within the lineage of the late Pa Claudius E. Okoloba and the late Mrs. Isete Okoloba (formerly known as Mrs. Isete Eniam). Both of my parents originated from Opume, situated in the Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa.
Education and Public Service Career
I completed my primary education at St. Peter Primary School in Opume between 1945 and 1951, earning my first school leaving certificate.
Due to financial constraints, I was unable to pursue secondary education as a young man. Consequently, I ventured into the teaching profession. I taught at various schools in the Brass, Nembe, and Ogbia districts. Subsequently, I enrolled at the Teachers Training College Osusu Aba, attaining a Teacher Grade II certificate. My passion for teaching persisted, leading me to join Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. Here, I diligently studied History, achieving a Second Class Upper degree in 1974.
Upon completing my university education, I transitioned from teaching to the administrative domain. I joined the Rivers State civil service, beginning as an Administrative Officer and steadily ascending the ranks to ultimately become a Director-General. I concluded my service in 1993, maintaining an unblemished record.
During the military administration led by Group Captain Ernest Olawunmi Adelaye, I had the privilege of being appointed as the sole administrator/chairman of the Brass Local Government Area in the former Rivers state,amongst others like chief Ebenezer Isokariari & Chief Alfred A. Pondei who were also Chairmen of Asari Toru & Yenegoa local government respectively,This appointment spanned from 1988 to 1991.
Education remains a paramount value in my life. I attained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree from Rivers State University of Science & Technology in 1990. Subsequently, I furthered my legal education by graduating from the Nigeria Law School in 1991.
Retirement and Politics
Following my retirement in 1993, I transitioned into private legal practice. Subsequently, I ventured into the realm of active politics, where I collaborated closely with the late Chief Pere Ajuwa. He was the first Ijaw individual from the Niger Delta region to contend for the presidential position. I was appointed as a member of the presidential council, alongside other prominent Ijaw figures such as:
- The late Prof Kimse Okoko
- The late Chief Joseph Egberike
- The late Chief Sammy Ebiye
- The late Chief Lionel Jonathan Omo and several others
My entry into the political arena gained momentum following the establishment of Bayelsa state. Over a period of more than 13 years, I held significant roles within the corridors of power in Bayelsa state.
However, my involvement in politics can be traced back to the second and third Republics. During that time, I provided modest assistance to my fellow kinsmen, Chief Melford Okilo and Chief Rufus Ada George, both of whom served as governors of Rivers state at different junctures.
In 1999, following the designation of the late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha as the chosen candidate of the People’s Democratic Party for the gubernatorial contest in Bayelsa State, I was among the distinguished residents of Bayelsa who lent their support to Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. It is worth mentioning that myself and others proposed Dr. Jonathan to be the running mate for Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha. Subsequently, Dr. Jonathan assumed the position of Deputy Governor, serving alongside Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha as the Governor.
After the elections, I was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the Transitional Committee and was also named a member of the Bayelsa State Advisory Councils. Additionally, I had the privilege of being appointed as the inaugural Executive Secretary of the Youth & Sport Bureau within the Governor’s Office of Bayelsa State.
In 2001, I received an appointment as Commissioner in the Bayelsa State Civil Service Commission. After a brief tenure there, I was later designated as the Special Adviser to the Executive Governor on Community Relations & Religious Affairs. This role continued after the re-election of Chief DSP as Governor in 2003. I maintained my position as Special Adviser on Community Relations until Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was removed from office on December 9th, 2005.
Late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha also bestowed upon me the title of Justice of Peace in 2005.
When my kinsman, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, assumed leadership of Bayelsa state in 2005, I retained my role as Special Adviser on Community Relations. Later, I was appointed Commissioner in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly Service Commission. In May 2007, when Chief Timipre Sylva became Governor of Bayelsa state, I once again assumed the role of Special Adviser on Community Relations. I continued in this capacity until the conclusion of the administration in 2012.
I am married to Pastor Mrs. Maria Okoloba, and we have children together.
Currently, I am in my advanced years, focusing on my health and dedicating time to seeking God’s guidance.