Mann Abali, a practical Banker and Accountant trained in the United Kingdom, left a lasting legacy in the Rivers State Public Service from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
Mann Abali (1948-2014) originated from Otakeme community in Ogbia Local Government Area and Twon-Brass town in Brass Local Government Area, both within Bayelsa state. He distinguished himself as an exceptional practical Banker, notably serving with the Defunct Pan African Bank Limited from 1972 to 1993. Fondly referred to as Mann Abali, he also played a role in the advancement of the Federal College of Education (Technical) in Omoku, Rivers State, serving as part of the management staff. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 66.
His Parents and Birth
Mann Abal’s father, Alabo Benjamin Nelson Abali-Shidi, hailed from Shidi Ama in Twon-Brass and Otakeme communities in Bayelsa state. He was a highly respected community Chief with a notable reputation on Brass Island. Alabo Benjamin Nelson Abali-Shidi served as a seasoned contractor with the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) from the early 70s until his passing in 2013.
His mother, Mrs. Caroline Abali (nee Aroh), was the daughter of the renowned catechist Samuel Johnson Aroh, who belonged to Otuogidi community in Ogbia kingdom. Her mother hailed from Cameroon-Ama in Twon-Brass. Mrs. Caroline Abali passed away around 1999.
Mann Abal was born on 17 April 1948 in Ghana during his father’s assignment with the Military (West African Frontier Forces). Following his birth, he resided with his maternal grandparents in Otuogidi village in southern Nigeria. His maternal grandfather, Catechist Samuel Aroh, was a remarkable figure—light-complexioned, 7 feet tall, and handsome. Working for the missions (Anglican Church), Samuel Aroh instilled qualities of humility, Christlike living, temperance, and more into Mann’s life. Mann drew extensively from Samuel Aroh’s diligence, gentleness, and reflective solitude.
Mann Abal’s educational journey began at St. Michael’s School in Oloibiri, Ogbia town, where he completed his primary education from 1958 to 1963, obtaining his First School Leaving Certificate. He continued his studies at Mater Del High School in Imiringi town within the Ogbia kingdom for his secondary education from 1965 to 1967. Subsequently, he attended Baptist High School, Port Harcourt, between 1969 and 1971, successfully completing the General Certificate of Education Examination in 1972 and 1975.
In 1982, Mann pursued further education in the United Kingdom, supported by a scholarship from the Rivers State Government during Chief Melford Okilo’s administration. He studied Banking and Business Financing at Liverpool Polytechnic, earning a Higher National Diploma in Banking in 1984. Mann Abali also participated in the National Youth Service Corps at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja from 30 August 1987 to 29 August 1988.
In the pursuit of knowledge, Mann extended his educational endeavors to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University) from 1988 to 1990, aiming for a Law degree. However, due to his promotion as Branch Manager at PAN AFRICAN BANK in Omoku community, he did not complete the program. Subsequently, he enrolled in the National Open University, where he studied Financial Management and earned his post-degree diploma in 2009. Finally, from 2010 to 2011, Mann attended the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria in Jos, Plateau state, completing the professional Accounting Certification program and receiving his Membership/certification.
Mann had a wonderful and bitter working career. Firstly, Mann Abal worked with the Post and Telecoms (P&T) Nigeria after his secondary school-days in Port Harcourt. He later entered the banking profession as a Bank Clerk with the defunct Pan African Bank Limited in 1972 and he was promoted Supervisor Headquarters in 1974. Subsequently, he was promoted Branch Accountant in 1977 at Club Road Branch Port Harcourt.
As a qualified Banker after his sojourn in the United Kingdom, he was promoted Branch Manager from 1990 to 1993. Mann was a consummate and practical banker. He was the pioneer Omoku Branch Manager in 1990, his technical banking prowess and dexterity made Pan African Bank Limited the preferred bank in the Omoku community at the time.
Unfortunately, on 10 November, 1993 Mann Abal was relieved of his services with Pan African Bank Limited on the premise of staff rationalization. Mann’s designation was Assistant Manager when he left the Bank. However, much later Pan African Bank Limited went distressed and eventually liquidated.
Fortunately, on February 19, 1999, the Federal College of Education (Technical) Omoku, Rivers State employed Mann Abal as a Principal Accountant in the Bursary department of the institution. In 2002 he was promoted Assistant Chief Accountant and later he was promoted Chief Accountant in 2009. He was made Acting Bursar in 2010. From 2012, Mann Abal was the institution’s Deputy Bursar till his demise in 2014.
His Life after PAB
From April 27, 1972, to December 10, 1993, Mann Abal dedicated his efforts to the growth and progress of the now-defunct Pan African Bank Limited. His abrupt termination from the job proved to be a profound shock for Mann and his colleagues who experienced the same fate. The aftermath of the layoff had severe consequences, with some colleagues facing incapacitation due to the associated trauma, and tragically, some even losing their lives due to overwhelming frustrations.
Despite the challenges, Mann demonstrated resilience and independence. He relied on self-encouragement and swallowed his pride. With his entitled benefits, he invested in a taxicab for personal use and ventured into the transportation business, operating between Port Harcourt and Omoku. Additionally, he owned a dispatched vehicle (505 Peugeot) registered with Presidential Hotel, adopting various strategies to make ends meet.
His Sojourn at FCET
Mann’s tenure at FCET Omoku left a lasting impact, contributing significantly to the school’s development. His colleagues admired him for his kindness, words of wisdom, and professional approach to handling banking-related matters affecting the institution.
In 2010, prior to leaving FCET as Acting Bursar for the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria program in Jos, Plateau state, he presented the best Accounting Report ever submitted by a predecessor to a successor in the College, as acknowledged by the Bursary staff.
Notably, Mann was a dedicated workaholic, displaying a deep passion for his job. His commitment was evident in his consistent attendance, and his distinctive style was apparent in his appearance, writings, and verbal communication.
Mann was a member of the following professional bodies:
- Institute of Administrative Accountants of London (1985);
- Member, Institute of Bankers of London (1984);
- Member, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (2011)
Mann Abali’s Faith
During his formative years, Mann Abal adhered to Anglicanism as a result of his upbringing in an Anglican household. He underwent baptism and confirmation in the 1960s. Subsequently, he embarked on a spiritual journey, exploring various religious avenues. Mann held a strong belief in the idea that actions on earth have consequences, both in this life and the afterlife.
In 1976, Mann Abal entered into matrimony with Elder Patience Abali (nee Ekoni), a hardworking trader and dedicated Christian, and they were blessed with five children. However, their union faced challenges, leading to a separation in 1996. Despite subsequent relationships, Mann did not have any children from those affairs. He sought solace in activities such as playing pool, watching football matches, and was known for his avid reading habit. Mann lived a relatively private and secluded life until his passing.
- 48 Bende street Port Harcourt (His property)
- 12B Rex Lawson Street Borokiri Port Harcourt
- 1 Police Road Ikiri-Omoku (ONELGA) Rivers State
His last moments
Mann Abal faced health challenges, particularly due to glaucoma, which had a detrimental impact on his work, leading to redundancy. Additionally, he grappled with family-related matters that had an adverse effect on his overall health. On February 27, 2014, Mann went to work, slept in his office, and unfortunately did not wake up. It was reported that he suffered a cardiac arrest while resting in his office. His final resting place is in Otuogidi, his maternal hometown in Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa state, where he was laid to rest on April 14, 2014. Mann Abal, aged 66 at the time of his passing, will be remembered for his gentle demeanor, unique ability to connect with people, and his profound words of wisdom.