PROF C.T.I ODU (1937-2013)

Clifford Temple Idigieneni Odu hails from Twon Brass in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. He was an academic giant in all ramifications and a trailblazer. Professor C.T.I Odu remains the first black professor of soil microbiology in Africa.

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Lecturer, Researcher, Administrator, HRH

The late Professor C.T.I Odu as widely known was an academician/researcher par excellence. He kept footprints on the sands of time at the prestigious University of Ibadan, the Rivers State Science and Technology (now Rivers state University) and the Executive Council of old Rivers State Government.


Clifford Temple Idigieneni Odu was born on July 3, 1937 to Chief Afuluka Odu of Akabuka Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA of Rivers state and Mrs Emilia Igomukuma Ngeri (nee Cameron) of Twon Brass in Brass LGA of Bayelsa state. He lived with his mother and step-father (Chief C. D, Ngeri ) in Twon-Brass. Chief C. D. Ngeri was a notable school teacher and headmaster in the then colonial southern Nigeria.


It was told, Clifford Temple Idigieneni Odu had his primary education at various schools in the then eastern Nigeria starting from St. Barnabas School Twon-Brass. This was because, his step father predeceased Chief C. D. Ngeri with whom he spent his early years was a school headmaster who was transferred frequently from school to school within the old Eastern region. It should be in the 40’s when he got his standard six certificate.

Thereafter, he proceeded to Government College Ibadan, Western-Nigeria for his Post-primary education and got the Higher certificates for his University studies.

He was exposed to University education in 1957. Firstly, he got admission into the premier University of Nigeria, the University College, Ibadan but he completed his degree program at the University of London in 1962.

He bagged a degree in Agricultural Science. Subsequently, he got his PhD degree in Soil Science from the University of Ibadan and the University of California, Davis USA in 1967.
Suffice it to say, Cityman Odu, the nickname by which he was known in his undergraduate days, excelled not only in academics but in sports, drama and music. He acted in several plays, played the piano(organ) flawlessly and represented the University of Ibadan in several track and field events. Above all, he was a sound academic and renowned scholar who won a number of academic laurels, scholarships, fellowship prizes and awards, some of which include:

  • Faculty prize in Agriculture, University of Ibadan, 1962
  • University of Ibadan Postgraduate Scholarship Award 1963
  • Rockefeller Fellowship 1965
  • Ford foundation Post Doctoral Research Fellowship Award, 1965-71
  • UNESCO International Cell Research Organization (ICRO) fellowship in Microbiology 1971
  • Fullbright-Hayes fellow, University of California, Davis USA.

Career Life

Clifford Temple Idigieneni Odu had an excellent and fulfilled career life. His career featured mostly in the academic environs.

In 1962, he was as an Agricultural Officer in charge of the Eastern Nigeria Government farm Nekede, Owerri. He later moved to academics.

Then in 1965, his Alma mater (University of Ibadan) employed him as a Lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Science. He was then promoted Senior Lecturer in the Agronomy department in 1973. At age 42, in 1977, he was awarded a Professorship in Soil Microbiology by the University of Ibadan. This feat made him the first black Professor of Soil Microbiology in Africa. He knew his onions and was an authority in the field of soil science and pollution management.

About Agronomy Department

The Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan. The first of such among Nigerian Universities, came into being in 1967 (1966/67 session) following a reorganization in the then Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Science, University of Ibadan. In the organization, the existing Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Chemistry and Soils were merged to create the Department of Agronomy. The first head of the Department was Professor A.A.A Fayemi who served until 1978. He retired in 1982. Professor A.A.A Fayemi was succeeded by Professor C.T.I Odu (1978-81). It was told during when Prof. Fayemi was head of department, Professor C.T.I Odu called the shots; he was a formidable academician in the faculty.

Thereafter, he joined the service of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt in 1988 to 1991 as a visiting Professor in the Institute of Pollution Studies and as Dean of the Post Graduate School. In 1994, Rivers State University of Science and Technology management, renewed his contract at the Institute of Pollution Studies and as Dean of the Post Graduate School

Research work

From 1970 to his spry period, Professor Odu had been commissioned to carry out several important assignments; notably with respect to Agriculture, Oil Pollution and Gas Flares on crops and soils. As project leader for Bayorant Nigeria Limited, he carried out jointly with Coopers and Lybrant in 1981, the preparation report of the world bank Rvers State Integrated Agricultural Development Project (ADP).

He also carried out the studies on Nitrogen Fixation in Cowpeas with the University of Georgia (USA) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, as well as undertaking a Nitrogen Fixation Coordinated Research Program with the Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.

As project leader, he pioneered environmental research in Nigeria and carried out numerous baseline, post impact assessment (EIA studies) for several oil companies. He also coordinated the first environmental baseline studies of Shell operational area and later of Nigeria AGIP operational areas. For example, he carried out the very EIA in Nigeria for the LNG pipeline transmission system.

Mediation Services

Aside from his teaching and consultancy duties, which took a great deal of his life, Prof Odu was a member of the federal government delegation headed by chief Anthony Enahoro to the Kampala peace talks between the federal government of Nigeria and breakaway Biafra (1967-1969).

Positions Held

He also once held the position as the UNESCO consultant to the Algerian government, to advise on the establishment of post-graduate training courses in fields of specialization of particular importance to the country’s development.

As an outstanding academic and intellectual, Prof C.T.I Odu as he was known in the academic circles, was a prolific writer who published over seventy-five scientific publications in national and international journals in the area of soil microbiology and environmental pollution. Fifty-two consultancy reports, plus numerous publications in conference proceeding and seminar presentations.

Prof. C.T.I Odu also held a number of exalted positions in the society to which he was appointed by the government of the old Rivers state. Some of these includes:

  • Foundation member of the Governing Council of the College of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt (now Rivers state University) from 1970 to 1974;
  • Foundation Director of the defunct Pan African Bank Limited from 1971 to 1974;
  • Commissioner for Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources, old Rivers State, 1974-1975;
  • Foundation Member, Board of Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos, 1976-1980;
  • Director, Member of the Rivers State Government Delta Rubber Company from 1984-1990.

Other outstanding academic honors held by Prof. C.T.I Odu (chief Cameron viii) include:

  • The first to occupy the Shell Petroleum Development Company endowed professional Chair in Environmental Pollution studies at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology
  • Honorary fellow of the Nigerian Environmental Society


Prof. CTI Odu is listed in several national and international biographical publications, including the Who is Who in Nigeria, Who is Who in Africa’ s International Who is Who in Africa, international register of profiles of the international biographical center, Cambridge, England and Who is Who in the world, published by Maquis Inc., Chicago, USA.


After he retired from his intensive academic career in the late 1990’s, he established and was the Chairman of Ecosphere Nigeria limited, an environmental consultancy company which successfully executed several environmental and pollution related consultancies for several oil companies, such as shell petroleum development company Ltd, Elf/total Nigeria Ltd, Nigeria Agip Oil Company Ltd and Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG).

As A Chief

On 24 December, 1988, He was installed the head and paramount ruler of the Cameron Ama of Twon-Brass after the demise of his uncle late Chief Magistrate T. K Cameron. He became his Highness of the community as he was addressed as His Royal Highness Prof. C.T.I Odu- Cameron (VIII) Amadabo of Cameron Ama. He reigned alongside with other Chiefs from Twon-Brass and they were:

  • Late Chief Ben Abali-Shidi Amadabo of Shidi Ama
  • Late Chief A.B Samuel Sambo. IX Amadabo of Sambo Ama
  • Late Chief Dr. William Kemmer Amadabo of Kemmer Ama
  • Late Chief Modu-Spiff Amadabo of Ada Ama
  • Late Chief Tekena Edward-Spiff Amadabo of Ada Ama
  • Late Chief Douglas James-Spiff Regent of Ada Ama

Prof. C.T.I Odu- Cameron (VIII) reign as HRH was not a smooth sail. However, he had daunting challenges from his subjects/kinsmen even though he offered professional services to the community. He was often misconstrued. Sometime in the 90’s Prof. C.T.I Odu- Cameron (VIII) property (house) in Twon Brass was touched by cruel youths of the community due to unfounded allegations. He reigned as Chief till his demise on October 25, 2013.

“To speak of ‘limits to growth’ under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society. The moral pieties, that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalists, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative. Capitalism can no more be ‘persuaded’ to limit growth than a human being can be ‘persuaded’ to stop breathing. Attempts to ‘green’ capitalism, to make it ‘ecological’, are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth.”
― Murray Bookchin

His family

Prof. Lived a fulfilled life and had a large family. He was notably polygamous. He was married to late Margaret Ayebaidiepreiye Ruth Odu (nee Spiff). She was a formidable school teacher. Maggie as widely known taught in various secondary schools in Ibadan, but because she was not of Oyo state origin, she never became Principal. She took ill and died on the 17th of December 1996 of chronic liver failure at the age of 58. She and Professor C.T.I Odu- Cameron (VIII) had five children; others are Mrs. Ngozi Odu(nee Okwesa) they had 3 children together; Mrs Florence Odu (nee Motonbi-woleta) they had 3 sons; Mrs Doris Atiefeyo Odu (nee Tengue) and lastly Mrs Catherine Odu.

Prof As A Person

Prof wasn’t too materialistic and flamboyant par say. He had a property in which he lived all through his life is No 18 Ohaeto street D/Line Port Harcourt. Also, he drove several vehicles in his lifetime and they are the Peugeot 505, Mercedes Benz 300SEL also known as (Mercedes Concord) and lastly a white Toyota Avalon. He was a computer savvy that processed his work himself. In addition, he had an equipped library and laboratory in his residents stocked with up to date environmental books/journals, computer science textbooks etc.

It is worthy to say the priceless manuscripts on the ‘History of Nembe’ by Rev Daniel Ogiriki-Ockiya 1874-1954 were passed on for safety to Prof Odu-Cameron by the author’s grandson Chief Prof T.I Francis-Ogiriki 1933-1992 (3rd Professor of Medicine, Nigeria ). That this document eventually reached the rightful owners and is now in the public domain, speaks volume about him.

Also, carbonated drink was one of his favorites (Coca cola) and he watched cartoons a lot and at the latter time of his life before he died, he often watched the Dove TV of the Redeemed Christian Church of God for proper spiritual uplifting or intimacy with God of the christian faith.

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” - Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist

His death

Prof. Clifford Temple Idigieneni Odu-Cameron (VIII) the academic giant the African continent has ever had, passed on October 25th, 2013 in Port Harcourt. He was 78 years old.

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"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.

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