The choice we must make GSSA students 12/18/2010

A sub-Saharan Africa in which every child has a chance to realize his or her God given potential through education. “In each and every young student here, I see myself. It leaves me wondering what would become of them if official negligence and reckless disregard are allowed to define their station in life…. These students could turn out to be the great minds that Africa seeks or the kidnappers, haramists, pirates and al Qaeda converts that Africaand the world dread. It is a choice that we must make by design or one that will be made for us by default. Today we are at the crossroads of history and our true future is now!”
–Leonard Ozoemena, Secretary-General, AEF

A seat in an educational setting unlocks limitless potential A class in the restored GSSA MCB 2/28/2011

“..if we give someone a seat in an educational setting, the theoretical potential for what could happen is unlimited. Maybe … just maybe… in the back of one of those classrooms, right now struggling to see his teacher, is Africa’s next Nelson Mandela or a future Bill Gates or a future Nobel Prize winning scientist. ….. that classroom miracle can happen that transforms an unreachable student into a great student and that great student could go on to do great things – for Malawi, for Africa, for the world. For all of us. Maybe. Just maybe.”
–Lawrence O’Donnell, the founder of the KIND fund and host of the MSNBC program, The Last Word. (KIND = kids in need of desks)

Clones of Newton: The sky is the limit

“We should take this chance that among those who now sit and will sit in the main classroom block, those who will sleep in the renovated student hostels, those who will titrate solutions, connect cables and dissect the cockroach and toad in the renovated laboratories, those who will project technical drawings; among all who will draw from the fountain of knowledge at GSSA, we may get Nobel laureates, we may get clones of Newton, we may get famous men without taint.”
— Prof Ndu Eke, Professor of Urology and Dean Emeritus, University of Port Harcourt School of Medicine, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and distinguished alumnus of GSSA.

11 future doctors (M.D’s); 5 Ph.D’s; 5 engineers; 3 architects; 1 pharmacist; 1 geologist

The Past as Prologue

In her heyday in the 1960’s and 70’s – before war, and the neglect that came in its aftermath, changed her fortunes – GSSA was a preparatory school and veritable nursery for future doctors, engineers, architects, geologists, scientists, academics etc. The graduating class of 1965 exemplifies the caliber of the products of GSSA before the onset of her inexorable decline in the early 1980’s. Of the 60 boys in that graduating class, 11 became doctors (M.D’s); 5 became Ph.D’s in various disciplines, one obtained both the M.D. and Ph.D degrees; 5 became engineers; 3 architects; one a pharmacist; one a geologist and another a land surveyor. A majority of the rest became university graduates. This record can be reproduced or even surpassed.

(GSSA stands for Government Secondary School, Afikpo. It is a boys’ high school located in the town of Afikpo in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. This is the school that AEF is currently restoring. Most of the pictures currently on the AEF website reflect our effort to restore GSSA. The restoration of other erstwhile leadership academies of south-eastern Nigeria will follow after that.)

“The great minds that Africa seeks….”
Some products of the erstwhile leadership academies of southeastern Nigeria
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala An alumna of Queens School Enugu, a girls’ high school in south-eastern Nigeria

As it turns out, the leadership academies of southeastern Nigeria had, in their heyday, produced some of the best minds to come out of Africa. This was before the Nigeria-Biafra war (aka the Nigerian civil war) – and the neglect that followed in its aftermath – cast a dark shadow on the future of these magnificent academies. The following is a sampling of these illustrious alumnae and alumni and the high schools that nurtured and developed their intellects at a crucial juncture in their lives:

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an alumna of Queens School Enugu, a girls’ high school in south-eastern Nigeria

The following are excerpts from her Wikipedia biography: “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, PhD (born June 13, 1954) is a globally renowned Nigerian economist best known for her two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (her current position) and for her work at the World Bank, including several years as one of its Managing Directors (October 2007–July 2011). She also briefly held the position of Foreign Minister of Nigeria in 2006. In 2007, Okonjo-Iweala was considered as a possible replacement for former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. Subsequently, in 2012, she became one of three candidates in the race to replace World Bank President Robert Zoellick at the end of his term of office in June 2012. On April 16, 2012 it was announced that she had been unsuccessful in her bid for the World Bank presidency, having lost to the US nominee, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. This outcome had been widely anticipated, as theUS nominee has traditionally been selected for this position.” “Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in 1977, and earned her Ph.D. in regional economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1981.” “On October 4, 2007, World Bank President Robert Zoellick appointed her to the post of Managing Director, effective December 1, 2007. In 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was reappointed as Minister of Finance with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan…. In her role as the Coordinating Minister For the Economy and Minister of Finance, she has extensive influence/exercise to shape the direction of the Jonathan economic team and the transformation agenda”

Professor Alexander Animalu, an alumnus of Dennis Memorial Grammar School, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria. Professor Alexander Animalu an alumnus of Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria.

The following are excerpts from his Wikipedia biography:

Alexander Obiefoka Enukora Animalu, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Physics at University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

He holds a B.Sc. (London), M.A. (Cambridge University,England) and Ph.D. (Ibadan)

The only African scientist to be nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of a generalization of superconductivity called “Animalu’s Isosuperconductivity” (which requires a new mathematics of the Isotopic type), and a pioneer of solar energy in Nigeria, is a physicist of international repute, member of the highest advisory body on Science and Technology to the Nigerian government, Honorary Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology (2001–2003) and former Director National Mathematical Centre, Abuja.

The only African member till date of the Advisory Board of the Euro-Journal Physica(B) and the only African member of the Editorial Board of the US-based international Hadronic Journal and Hadronic Journal Supplement, he is also the founding editor of the Nigerian Journal of Solar Energy and one of the pioneering editors of the Bulletin of the Nigerian Institute of Physics. Foundation President of the Solar Energy Society of Nigeria, foundation editor,Nigerian Journal of Solar Energy, foundation member, United States Energy Research and Development Administration and Foundation member and former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science.

Professor James Okoye Chukuka Ezeilo an alumnus of Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria. Professor James Okoye Ezeilo an alumnus of Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria.

The State University of New York, Buffalo Department of Mathematics identified him as one of “the Masters”, the 7 greatest black mathematicians of all time worldwide stating: “His early research deals mainly with the problem of stability, boundedness, and convergence of solutions of third order ordinary differential equations. Apart from extending known results and techniques to higher order equations, the main thrust of his work was the construction of Lyapunov-like functions, which he did elegantly and used to study the qualitative properties of solutions. In addition he was a pioneer in the use of Leray-Schauder degree type arguments to obtain existence results for periodic solutions of ordinary differential equations.”

The following is a profile of Professor Ezeilo from the Nigerian Mathematical Society website (

  • Emeritus Professor J.O.C. Ezeilo (popularly called JOC) was born on January 17, 1930 at Nanka in Anambra State, Nigeria.
  • He has the following degrees:B.Sc. (First Class Hons.) in Mathematics (1953); B.Sc. Advanced (Passed with Distinction) (1954); M.Sc. (1955) all from theUniversityofLondon.
  • Ph.D. (1958)CambridgeUniversity(Queen’s College),England.

Professor Emeritus Ezeilo started his academic career as a Lecturer in Mathematics at theUniversityofIbadanin 1958 and rose to the rank of a full Professor of Mathematics in 1964. In 1963, he was a Visiting Lecturer and Research Associate (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA); From 1966 – 1988, Professor of Mathematics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; In 1979, a Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Maths (Carlton College, Northfield, Minnesota, USA) and in 1980 a Visiting Professor of Mathematics (Howard University, Washington DC, USA). During the years 1967 – 1978 at theUniversityofNigeria, he was Head, Department of Mathematics; Dean, Faculty of Science; Acting Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. In 1978 – 1979, he was also the Vice Chancellor,BayeroUniversity,Kano,Nigeriaand Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors (of Nigerian Universities). From 1988 – 1994, he was the (Founding) Director, National Mathematical Centre,Abuja,Nigeria.

Professor Emeritus JOC has published not less than 87 scientific papers in learned journals. Also, he has various academic prizes and awards. These include: University Major Scholar, University College, Ibadan, Nigeria (1949 – 1953); Ayrton Premium Award for a publication in the 1963 proceedings of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (U.K.) (1964); National Honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger by the Federal Military Government (1979); A commemorative plaque of the Nigerian Mathematical Society for “outstanding pioneering contributions to the advancement of Mathematics in Nigeria’’; the Gold Medal of the National Mathematical Centre for pioneering contributions to the development of Mathematics and in 2010, the Distinguished Professor Award by the National Universities Commission, Abuja.

He served the public in the following areas: Member, Nigerian Council for Science and Technology (1970 – 1975); Chairman, Projects Development Agency of the East Central State of Nigeria (1970 – 1974); Chairman of the review panel for the mathematical curriculum for the Secondary Schools of the Federation (1978); Member, National Merit Award Committee (1979); Member, Board of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (1983 – 1989); Member, University of Abuja Planning Panel (1983); Chairman, Council of the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Nigeria (1986 – 1990); Chairman, University of Abuja Planning Committee (1987); Representative of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) Trieste, Italy for the West African Region (1990 – 1997); Member of the Scientific Council of ICTP Trieste, Italy (1993 – 1997); Member of the Scientific Council of Institut de Recherch`e Mathematiques, Abidjan; Member of the Scientific Council of Institut de Mathematiques et de Sciences Physiques of Porto Novo, Benin Republic.

Professor Emeritus JOC Ezeilo belongs to the following societies: Member, Nigerian Mathematical Society (President 1984 – 1991); Member, Mathematical Association of Nigeria (President 1972 – 1974); Member, Mathematical Association of America; Member, London Mathematical Society; Member, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics; Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Sciences; Fellow, Third World Academy of Sciences; Fellow, African Academy of Sciences; Fellow, Mathematical Association of Nigeria.

Professor Chike Obi, an alumnus of Christ the King College, Onitsha, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria. The following are excerpted from his Wikipedia biography: Professor Chike Obi an alumnus of Christ the King College, Onitsha, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria.

Chike Obi (April 17, 1921 – March 13, 2008) was a Nigerian politician, mathematician and professor.

The African Mathematics Union suggests that he was the first sub-Saharan African to hold a doctorate in mathematics.

Obi is the author of several books and journals on mathematics and Nigerian politics.

Obi was educated in various parts of Nigeria before reading mathematics as an external student of the University of London. Immediately after his first degree, he won a scholarship to do research study at Pembroke College, Cambridge, followed by doctoral studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, becoming in 1950, the first Nigerian to receive a PhD in mathematics

Obi returned to lecture at the premier Nigerian University of Ibadan. He was soon diverted from this by political activities. After the war, he returned to lecture in 1970 at the University of Lagos where he quickly rose to the senior academic role of a professor.

He left Lagos to return to his root in the city of Onitsha, establishing the Nanna Institute for Scientific Studies.

Obi had won the Sigvard Ecklund Prize for original work in differential equation from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics. He was a university teacher until his retirement as an Emeritus Professor in 1985.

Professor Chinua Achebe, an almnus of Government College, Umuahia, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria. The following are excerpted from his Wikipedia biography: Professor Chinua Achebe, an almnus of Government College, Umuahia, a boys’ high school in southeastern Nigeria.

Below is an excerpt from aBrownUniversitypress release of September 15, 2009, captioned: “Famed African writer Chinua Achebe joins the Brown faculty”

“Chinua Achebe, the most celebrated and widely read African writer, has joined theBrownUniversityfaculty as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [BrownUniversity] —BrownUniversity announced today (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009) that internationally acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe has joined theBrownUniversity faculty. Achebe comes to Brown after 19 years on the faculty ofBardCollege, where he was the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature.

Named the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies at Brown, Achebe is best known for his novels and essays which critique postcolonial Nigerian politics and society as well as the impact of the West onAfrica.

Born in Ogidi, an Igbo village inNigeria, Achebe studied atUniversityCollege(now theUniversityofIbadan). His first novel,Things Fall Apart, is the most widely read work of African fiction, having sold more than 12 million copies in English alone. It has been translated into 50 languages. His other prominent works include No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People,and Anthills of theSavannah.

For many decades, Achebe has worked to build greater understanding ofAfricathrough his uncompromising political commentary, social critique, and creative writing. Acknowledged godfather to many African writers, he served for a time as editor of the African Writers Series for Heinemann Publishing. He is the author of numerous collections of short stories, poetry and essays. One of his essays, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” aroused considerable debate and had a marked impact on Conrad criticism. A devoted student of Igbo culture, his latest work on Igbo culture and theology is scheduled to be published in October 2009 by theUniversityofNotre Dame Press.

Achebe is the recipient of numerous honors. He was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for outstanding fiction in 2007. Among his more than 40 honorary degrees is an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brown, where he will serve in the Department of Africana Studies and oversee the Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, a new initiative to be developed by Achebe in keeping with his life’s work to foster greater knowledge ofAfrica.”

The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize or Gish Prize is given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.”[1] In 2010 Achebe was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for $300,000, one of the richest prizes for the arts inAmerica