Godwin Ngogo Alabraba (1927-2019)

Godwin Ngogo Alabraba hailed from the renowned Abonnema community in the Akuku-toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. He dedicated his career to the civil and public service of both colonial and independent Nigeria, demonstrating great skill and honor. He held roles as a professional Tax officer and also served as a commissioner in the former Rivers State Civil Service Commission.

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Parents and Birth

Godwin Ngogo Alabraba was born on February 4, 1927, in the Abonnema community, which was a part of colonial southern Nigeria. He was born into a family of affluence, and his predeceased parents were Chief Rodius Ngogo Anabraba and Madam Anini Orumbere Anabraba, both from Abonnema community, which is now situated in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria.

His father, the late Chief Rodius Ngogo Anabraba, was a man of considerable wealth in his time. He had connections with Europeans in various trade and business activities. He was known for his elegant appearance, handsomeness, sense of fashion, and above all, his industrious nature. In Abonnema, Chief Rodius Ngogo Anabraba built two remarkable Portuguese-style architectural structures that became landmarks in the community. These houses were constructed in 1923 and 1939, respectively.

Aside from his material success, Chief Rodius Ngogo Anabraba was a man of conscience and deep faith. He made significant contributions to the construction of St. Paul’s Nyemoni (Lutheran Church) in Abonnema and remained a devoted member until his passing in 1941 at the age of 45. His legacy extended beyond his wealth to his commitment to his community and his religious beliefs.

Godwin’s mother, Madam Anini Orumbere Anabraba, was born to Dee Alisa Briggs of Ishi’s gate and Madam Tamunomiyeaboofori Anabraba, who was the first adopted daughter of Ine-idakonfi Anabraba, Godwin’s paternal grandmother. In an interesting twist of tradition, Anini was betrothed to Rodius, Godwin’s father, by the late Chief Anabraba Briggs when she was born. So, at the age of three, Anini was placed in the care of Madam Iwo Anabraba, the elder sister of Rodius Ngogo Anabraba, for her proper upbringing and education.

While Godwin’s father had many children, he was the only son of his mother, Anini. This unique family arrangement highlights the cultural and familial dynamics in the community.

Education

In 1935, at the age of 8, Godwin Ngogo Alabraba commenced his primary education at Nyemoni Primary School in Abonnema. Later, he attended Bishop Crowther Memorial (BCM) Primary School, also in Abonnema, where he earned the Standard Six Certificate, which is now known as the First School Leaving Certificate.

In 1941, he gained admission into Okrika Grammar School (OGS) in Okrika. Tragically, while he was still in his first year at Okrika Grammar School, his father passed away. This was a significant setback for the young Godwin. However, driven by his determination and passion for education, he continued his studies. In 1944, he sat for the Senior Cambridge Examination (as it was known at the time) and achieved an outstanding result. In his final year at the school, he was appointed as the school’s Laundry Prefect.

Godwin was renowned for his brilliance and beautiful handwriting, qualities that earned him admiration not only during his school years but also throughout his career in the civil service and within chieftaincy circles.

Although his dream of becoming a lawyer was cut short due to a lack of funding, as his primary sponsor, his father, had passed away prematurely, this setback did not deter him from achieving greatness in life.

Working Career

Mr. Godwin Ngogo Alabraba’s career was primarily dedicated to public service in Nigeria. After completing his secondary education, he embarked on a civil service career in 1946 at the age of 19. He joined the Colonial-Nigeria Civil Service as a Clerk and was initially posted to Ilorin.

Recognizing the significance of the predominant Hausa language in northern Nigeria, he wasted no time in learning the language and excelled in it. His proficiency in the Hausa language caught the attention of the British District Officer, who appointed him as an instructor. In this role, he served as a bridge between the local Hausa-speaking population and the British Officers in various locations, including Bauchi and Kano.

His career in the civil service continued to evolve as he moved from one part of the North to another. He held several administrative positions, with postings in places such as Ilorin, Lafiagi, Katsina, Bauchi, Kano,

Maiduguri, Oturkpo, and Kaduna, among others. It was in Kaduna that he built a property before the outbreak of the Nigeria civil war. His dedication and contributions to public service allowed him to make a meaningful impact across various regions in Nigeria.

Following his experiences in the North, Godwin Ngogo Alabraba returned to the Eastern region of Nigeria in 1968 thereabout and joined the Eastern Nigeria Civil Service. He was posted to Aba, where he served as the Motor Licensing Officer.

After the conclusion of the Nigerian Civil War, Mr. Godwin Ngogo Alabraba took a study leave to further his education. He pursued studies in Taxation and Public Administration at the University of Ife (now known as Obafemi Awolowo University). Upon completing his studies, he returned to work in the newly established Rivers state civil service during the administration of Navy Commander Alfred Diete-Spiff.

He initially worked in the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue in Port Harcourt and was later transferred to Twon-Brass as an Administrative Officer in the early 1970s. Following his service in Twon-Brass, he returned to Port Harcourt and assumed the role of Inspector of Taxes. He steadily progressed in his career, eventually attaining the position of Chief Inspector of Taxes. He held this position until his retirement from the Rivers State Civil Service in August 1984.

Retirement didn’t signal a period of inactivity for him. From 1987 to 1991, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Rivers State Pabod Finance and Investment Company. Subsequently, he served as a Commissioner for the Rivers State Civil Service Commission, first from 1991 to 1995, and then again from 1996 until the commission’s premature dissolution in 1999 during the administration of Governor Peter Odili. His post-retirement roles reflected his continued commitment to public service and governance.

Family

Mr. Godwin Ngogo Alabraba had a polygamous marriage. His first wife was Mrs. Amina Larice Alabraba, a woman of Nupe descent from Niger state. They married while he was working and living in the northern region, and together they had six children. Tragically, Mrs. Amina Larice Alabraba passed away sometime in November 1990.

After the Nigeria civil war, he relocated from the north to the south and married another woman from his community in Abonnema, named Mrs. Jonahba Alabraba. Regrettably, she also passed away six months after his own demise sometime in June 2020.

In total, the late Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba had thirteen children, reflecting the complexities and richness of his family life.

Faith

Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba was a dedicated Christian and a member of St. Paul’s Nyemoni (Lutheran Church). His faith was an integral part of his life and values.

Social Life

Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba was actively engaged in various social and cultural organizations. He was a member of the Ilaye Ilam Club in Abonnema, which was likely a community or social club in his hometown.

He was also a member of the Kalabari-Kanonites, a socio-cultural organization of Kalabari people who resided in the northern part of Nigeria before the outbreak of the civil war. These memberships reflect his active involvement in community and cultural activities that extended beyond his professional life.

His House

Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba resided at his own residence, specifically at E1 Apartment 15, 49B Harold Wilson Drive, Borikiri, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Chieftaincy

In April 1976, Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba ascended to his grandfather’s chieftaincy stool, known as the Anabraba Briggs stool. This positioned him as the head of the Anabraba-Briggs house within the Oruwari Briggs group of houses. He held this esteemed chieftaincy title for many years.

Shortly after his installation as a chief, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Chiefs of the Oruwari Briggs house. He served in this role for over a decade. He maintained a close and supportive relationship with Chief Awoye Benibo Briggs, who was the Oruwar V and the paramount Head of the Oruwari Briggs group of houses. Together, they worked tirelessly to foster love and peaceful coexistence among the people of Abonnema and, in particular, within the Oruwari house.

Upon the passing of Chief Awoye Benibo Briggs on November 20, 1996, Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba was duly installed to succeed him as Oruwar VI and the paramount Head of the Oruwari Briggs war canoe house on February 1, 1997. This transition was marked with grandeur and celebration at the Oruwari memorial hall. It signified his prominent role in the chieftaincy hierarchy and his commitment to his community’s traditions and leadership.

In his role as the paramount head of the Oruwari Briggs house and due to the absence of an incumbent on the Manuel stool, Chief Godwin assumed the position of Chairman of the Abonnema Council of Chiefs. He served in this capacity from 1997 to 2002 when Chief Morgan Opuaru-Dokubo Manuel was installed as the paramount Head of the Owukori Manuel group of houses.

Throughout his time as the head of the Oruwari Briggs house, he displayed a remarkable character. Chief Godwin was known for his peaceful demeanor, contented outlook, and a strong sense of ethics. He was never tempted by the misuse of public funds and was widely regarded as a good man and chief by all who knew him. His leadership was marked by integrity and a commitment to the well-being of his community.

His Death

Chief Godwin Ngogo Alabraba passed away on December 27, 2019, due to natural causes. He had lived to the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy of service, leadership, and contributions to his community and society.

Funeral Photos

CHIEF GODWIN NGOGO ALABRABA SERVED RIVERS STATE WITH DEDICATION, SAYS GOVERNOR WIKE
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Abalijay
"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing the biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future.