Teacher, Administrator, Referee, Scout, His Royal Highness, JP
Who was HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP)?
HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP) was a notable figure with a multifaceted life story. He hailed from the Okoloba community in the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. His journey began as a child soldier during the Nigeria civil war, following which he pursued his primary education in eastern Nigeria. He later continued his education at the Rivers State College of Science and Technology, now known as Rivers State University, where he earned a degree in Chemical/Petroleum Engineering in the late 1970s. During his university years, he was an active advocate for student rights and maintained a clean record throughout his academic journey.
After completing his education, he embarked on a career as an educator and school administrator, leaving a lasting impact from the 1980s until his retirement in 2012. He was not only a dedicated teacher but also a Scout Master, instilling discipline in the youth of his time. In addition, he was a prominent unionist who tirelessly fought for the rights of the labor force in the Niger Delta region, particularly within the teaching profession through the Nigeria Union of Teachers. He was known for his fearlessness, courage, and unwavering commitment to truth and justice, even at the risk of his own life.
Recognizing his exceptional qualities, he was elected as the paramount ruler (HRH) of his community, Okoloba, in 1996. Beyond his public roles, he was a devout Christian, actively participating in the Anglican communion.
HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP) passed away in 2016 at the age of 64, leaving behind a legacy of dedication to education, advocacy for justice, and unwavering commitment to his community and beliefs.
MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy was born on November 25, 1952, to late McCarthy Moses Obaka of the Eferewari family in Abadani, Okoloba, and his mother, madam Enugu Awala, who belonged to the Umuyai family of Igbainwari. These families are all from the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. During his early years, he was not only a handsome individual but also displayed a strong sense of obedience to his family and the community’s elders.
During his early education years, young MacCpherson attended primary school with his mother’s family at Group School I in Opokuma from 1958 to 1966, where he earned his First School Leaving Certificate. It was during this time that he joined the Boys Scouts of Nigeria and gained a diverse set of life skills that would prove invaluable to society. Scouting taught him to become physically fit, imparted life-saving knowledge, and honed his leadership abilities. Moreover, it instilled in him the values of self-confidence and the opportunity to form deep friendships with remarkable people. These lessons would soon become greatly beneficial to him in life.
However, the outbreak of the Nigeria civil war from 1967 to 1969 disrupted his plans to pursue secondary education within his family’s means. It’s recounted that he actively participated in the civil war as a young boy, fighting alongside the revolutionary figure Major Isaac Boro. His scouting skills, acquired in his earlier years, proved to be essential during this time, earning him the nickname “small lieutenant” due to his contributions. The civil war had a profound impact on HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy’s character and his attitude toward society. He emerged from the experience as a focused, punctual, diligent, and circumspect individual, although some may have initially misunderstood him.
After the conclusion of the civil war, he pursued his education at the renowned Bishop Dimeari Grammar School (BDGS) in Yenagoa, attending from 1969 to 1972. During his time at BDGS, he was honored with the role of Assistant Games/Sports Prefect.
Following his high school education, from 1975 to 1980, he enrolled at the College of Science and Technology (which later became the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, now Rivers State University) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He successfully graduated with a degree in Chemical/Petroleum Engineering. Even during his university years at CST, he remained a prominent figure and actively engaged in student unionism. He fearlessly championed student rights and tirelessly worked to improve students’ welfare. He held several key positions within the student community at CST during that period, including:
- Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Engineering Students Association
- Vice President of the National Union of Rivers State Students
- Welfare Secretary of the University Student’s Union
- President of the SIGMA club and member of various committees
- Speaker of the Student Representative Council
His involvement in these roles showcased his commitment to making a positive impact and advocating for the well-being of his fellow students.
After completing his undergraduate degree in 1980, HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy returned to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, which is now known as Rivers State University, located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Here, he pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Technical Education (PGDTE) from 1990 to 1992. This further education reflected his dedication to expanding his knowledge and expertise in the field of technical education.
As previously mentioned, MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy received his early scout training in the early 1960s, earning several medals for his achievements. He excelled in his scouting endeavors, winning the prestigious award of Best Patrol Leader in 1974 at the Rivers State Scout Jamboree. His dedication to scouting led him to a Man O’ War leadership training opportunity at the Aluu Training Center in 1977. Additionally, in 1980, he served as the Squad 9 Commander at the National Youth Service Corp Camp in Ondo state. These diverse engagements and leadership roles not only showcased his commitment to these organizations but also kept him physically fit and prepared for a wide range of life experiences.
After completing his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Ondo state in 1980, MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy aspired to work in the oil industry given his qualifications as a Chemical/Petroleum Engineer. However, this dream proved to be elusive. Instead, in 1981/82, he found himself serving as the Senior Science Teacher at his alma mater, Bishop Dimeari Grammar School (BDGS) in Yenagoa.
His career in education continued to flourish as he went on to become the Principal of several secondary schools in Bayelsa state from 1992/93 to 2001/2002. These schools included:
- Opokuma Grammar School, Opokuma
- Okodia/Zarama Epie Community Secondary School, Yenagoa
- Kaiama Grammar School, Kaiama
- His alma mater, the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School (BDGS), Yenagoa
Later in his career, he took on roles as a Director of Schools within the Bayelsa state Post Primary Schools Board, which has now become the Senior Secondary Schools Board. He served as a Zonal Director in various zones, including the Diebu zone and Sagbama zones. Finally, he retired as the Zonal Director of the Okolobiri zone, which encompassed Gbarain-Ekpetiama, Biseni Okordia. HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP) concluded his dedicated service to the civil service of Bayelsa state, retiring untarnished from his position in March 2013.
During his tenure as a Principal, HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP) actively participated in various educational initiatives and organizations. He served as the first Vice-President of the Bayelsa state chapter of principals through the Association of Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS). Additionally, he was a member of the Editorial Board of an educational enlightenment magazine titled ‘The Educator,’ contributing to the dissemination of educational knowledge and insights.
Furthermore, he played a pivotal role as a resource person and permanent member of the Junior Engineers, Technicians, and Scientists (JETS) program in the former Rivers state from 1989 to 1990. His involvement in these roles exemplified his commitment to education and his dedication to fostering educational development in the region.
MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy was a staunch advocate against injustices faced by the teaching profession, and he made a personal commitment to stand up for educators at any cost. Between 1982 and 1984 in Yenagoa, located in the central senatorial district of present-day Bayelsa state, he was elected as the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Union of Teachers. His dedication to the profession extended further as, from 1985 to 1987, he was elected as the first Chairman of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) for the Zone. During this time, he became a prominent figure in advocating for civil servants’ rights, famously pushing for the slogan “90 days make one month for salary payment of civil servants’ welfare.” It was during this period that he earned the title of “comrade.”
In recognition of his significant contributions to teachers’ unionism and his unwavering commitment to workers’ rights, he was awarded a Trade Unionism Award in May 1986 at the Port Harcourt International Airport Hotel. This award acknowledged his outstanding efforts in advancing the cause of teachers and workers in the region.
MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy was indeed a man of many talents and passions. It may come as a surprise to some, but he served as a National Football Referee from as early as 1984. His dedication to the world of sports extended further as he was elected the First Chairman of the Former Yenagoa Province chapter of referees. He also held the position of Vice-Chairman of the Bayelsa State Referees Council during the state’s formation, from 1996 to 1999.
His love for soccer and his contributions to the sport did not go unnoticed. In recognition of his service and commitment to soccer, he was honored with a Distinguished Services Merit/Membership Award in July 1999 at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Later on, in 2006, he was bestowed with the “Best Involved Patron” award for the All Stars Football Club in Kolokuma/Opokuma (KOLGA), Bayelsa State.
MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy was a shining example of selflessness, a disciplinarian, a teacher, and a philanthropist. He dedicated his life to humanitarian services, leaving a lasting impact on both the world of education and sports in his community and beyond.
MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy’s achievements and contributions extended even further as he was elected as the Amananaowei of Okoloba Town, bearing the title of Opu-Dani I in 1996. His recognition and gazetting by the government marked his official status as a traditional leader. He also held the position of Secretary to the Kolokuma/Opokuma Area Council of Traditional Rulers and was a member of the state council. This prestigious role earned him the address of “His Royal Highness” (HRH).
In addition to his traditional leadership role, he demonstrated his commitment to maintaining law and order in his community. He served two tenures as the Chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) for the entire Bayelsa State Police Command. He also held the position of the First Vice Chairman for Zone 5 in the Zonal Police Command in Benin City, Edo State, and was a member of the National Council at Forces Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.
As a paramount ruler, his domain experienced a remarkable sense of peace and harmony. His strong leadership and direct approach to addressing the misconduct of youth in his community contributed to maintaining order. He was also a formidable figure feared by those involved in criminal activities, which helped deter unlawful behavior in his domain. His leadership and presence made Okoloba Town a place of relative peace and security.
The posting of Rev. Canon F V G Amgbame as the Rector of St. Paul’s Deanery Okoloba opened the door of Christianity to him and he begun a christian in the Anglican church. He was baptized on the 11th of March 2012 and confirmed also on 8th of July 2012, the same year by Rt Rev’d Anganyanaso of Paul’s deanery Okoloba, Diocese of northern Izon. He was active in the church activities, very vocal and effective contribution towards church issues by the virtue of fulfilling the biblical calling, has ascended to Jerusalem, the holy city, capital of Isreal and as given a pilgrim certificate as Jerusalem pilgrim (JP) he has been a faithful to the service until his departure.
HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP) was married to Mrs. Sarah S. MacCarthy, and together, they were blessed with six children. This family undoubtedly played a significant role in his life, supporting him in his various endeavors and accomplishments.
HRH MacCpherson Wodaowei McCarthy (JP) passed away on November 17, 2016, at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital in Okolobiri, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. His passing, which was attributed to Cardiac Arrest, marked the end of a life filled with dedicated service to education, community leadership, and various other accomplishments.