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  Alvan Azinna Ikoku is Nigeria’s most storied educator but many do not seem to know much about him apart from being the head on the ten naira note– a sad fall-out of Nigeria’s disregard for its own past, unfortunately. Today’s trivia will have to do with the man himself, however.
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An Aro-Igbo, Alvan Azinna Ikoku was born in Arochukwu on the 1st of August 1900. He attended Arochukwu Government Primary School for three years between 1911 and 1914 before moving on to the famous Hope Wadell College in Calabar where he studied from 1915 to 1920. Here, he would study alongside future political high-flyers like Akanu Ibiam and Eyo Esua. He completed his teacher’s training and went on teaching under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church. Later, he moved on to the St Paul’s Teacher’s Training College, Awka and also earned a degree from the University of London in 1928 by way of its external learning programme. Ikoku founded a co-educational secondary school- the first in West Africa at the time- and he named it after James Aggrey, Ikoku’s former teacher at Hope Wadell. He was an original member of the legislative council at Lagos that was established under the 1946 constitution in 1947. He used his position to pass over 44 proposals through the council. He fostered uniform education across the country. The proposal was rejected by the colonial government on the basis of political reasons but it was eventually accepted as Nigeria was on the brink of independence and was also included in the five-year plan. Sign up to the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter Ikoku’s greatest legacy is fostering the educational bill of rights in the year 1962. That bill was fostered in his capacity as a member of the eastern House of Representatives. Ikoku’s bill suggested that primary education should be made free of charge but it was not to be adopted until 1976. Alvan was on the board of many schools as the foremost educationist in the country upon leaving politics. He was a member of WAEC till his death as well as the governing council of the University of Ibadan and also chairman of the board of governors, Aviation Training Centre. SG Ikoku, the prominent politician and trade unionist of the nationalist era, was his son. Apart from the ten naira note, Ikoku’s name is immortalized in the College of Education in Owerri. He died on the 18th of November 1971. Source: 360post NG Featured Image Source: BBC
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This article was first published on 12th March 2021


Some call me David. Others, Emerie. Others, (unfortunate fellows) Biggie. I like to think that I have sense and that is why I write too. Otherwise, I draw and paint and sing (in the bathroom) and love to make people laugh. I love to understand how things work and that’s why I love DIY videos and YouTube of course. Follow me on Twitter @EmerieOkwara

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One thought on “History Trivia: Alvan Ikoku – A short Biography”

  • I think there should be more articles about Alvan Azinna Ikoku. There are many people who do not know him. Do you love video games? Join Vampire Survivors to play a survival game.

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