The Igbo Network



































Okechukwu Ikejiani

Okechukwu Ikejiani had a full career as university professor, pathologist, and ambassador plenipotentiary in his country of birth before coming to Canada where he served in Glace Bay community for over twenty-six years.

Born to Reverend Canon Jeremiah and Madam Nwetulu Ikejiani of Obeagu Nri in Awka District of Anambra state Nigeria, Dr. Ikejiani came to North America to study in 1938 at the university of New Brunswick where he obtained a B.Sc. with honors in 1942. With a graduate fellowship, he went to university of Chicago where he obtained MSc. in 1943. Again with a graduate fellowship, he was admitted to the graduate school of the university of Michigan where he worked for the Ph.D. degree with professor Reuben Kahn on the Kahn verification text which established the optimum temperature for detecting antibodies to syphilis and tropical diseases such as yaws.

In 1945 he was appointed a demonstrator in the department of microbiology and pathology at Banting Institute, University of Toronto, where he continued his research on trypanosomiasis and tumors. He was encouraged to enter medical school where he earned his M.D. in 1948 and licentiate of the medical council of Canada.

Returning to Nigeria in 1948, he held numerous senior positions including, lecturer in pathology university of Nigeria; consultant pathologist University teaching hospital Ibadan; director of national clinic laboratories Ibadan and Lagos; medical director of Pfizer laboratories (Nigeria), Pro-Chancellor and chairman of the council University of Ibadan. He was also one of the founding fathers and member of the council of the University of Nigeria. He was elected founder fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (F.R.C.Path.) London, England. He is also a Fellow of the medical college of Pathologists Nigeria, and a Fellow of the West African college of Physicians.

In 1960 he was appointed chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and pathologist-in-chief of the Nigerian Railway medical center Lagos. During this period, he was also a member of the board of directors of Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Coal Corporation. He was president of the Nigerian medical Association from 1962-66.
He was honored in 1964 with commander of the order of the Niger for services he rendered to Nigeria by the civilian government of Nigeria.

During the Nigerian civil war, he fought on the Biafran side as he is of the Igbo ethnic group whose people were massacred in the North of the country. He was appointed commissioner of the rehabilitation commission, coordinator of refugee medical services. He was also director of laboratory services in Biafra, and Ambassador plenipotentiary for the head of state of Biafra.

Dr.Ikejiani was on a mission to Europe when the Nigerian civil war ended. His wife and children joined him in Lisbon from where they immigrated to Canada in 1971. At first they settled in Quebec City, then in Ottawa before finally moving to Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. He was the pathologists-in chief and director of laboratories for Glace Bay general and community hospitals, New Waterford consolidated hospital and consultant pathologist for the regional hospital of Sydney. He served as president of the medical staff in Glace Bay from 1984-85 and as medical director of Glace Bay community hospital from 1987 - 1993. He retired in 1997.

Dr Ikejiani is a member of many learned scientific bodies. They include, the Canadian Medical Association, The Canadian Association of Pathologists, the Canadian Association of Medical Microbiologist, and the Canadian College of Microbiologist. He is also a member of The Canadian Society of Clinical and Investigative Medicine and has a life membership at the New York Academy of Sciences. On August 1996, the Canadian Medical Association elected him to senior membership.

He has also been honored with honorary degrees of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Lincoln University, Lincoln Pennsylvania, University of Nigeria Nsukka and a Doctor of Literature (D.Litt) from university college of Cape Breton, Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Ikejiani's interest goes beyond national service through medicine and allied fields. He has written extensively in his field, and also about educational problems that face developing countries as well as in social and political areas. Some of the books include:

Nigerian Education, which he edited and made substantial contributions. The book demanded against historical background that those interested in the youth of Nigeria should examine their basic educational ideas in terms of the needs of a new Nigeria. The colonial legacy, relevance of foreign educational ideas, the problems of ethnicity, the development of universities while planning for the future are among the topics discussed in the book. For this work he was appointed an external examiner in the faculty of graduate studies for two Nigerians in their final examination for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education.

Nkemdilim, an impassioned novel of the struggle for liberation from ignorance and servitude and for independence and general improvement of the hero- Nkemdilim Okoye and the country he symbolizes - Abukanza, a mythical West African Land. There is an in-depth and fine grasp of the ambiguous uncertainties and unsettled values of a twentieth century colony's struggle for, and the aftermath of its achievement of sovereignty. Equally searching is the social commentary on the institutions and the morals of the country where Nkemdilim studied.

Nigeria: Political Imperative, written by Dr. Ikejiani and his daughter who is a professor and head of the department of political science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka is an ambitious complex work and profoundly realistic in its arguments and sensibilities. It represents a most courageous attempt to tell the Nigerian political history like it is - sordid, tragic and utterly discouraging in its details, yet hopeful in its recommendations. It contains a diagnostic analysis of Nigerian political events with hindsight of insiders and participant observers. It calls for a new federation that recognizes Nigerian realities; it's heterogeneity and multiculturalism. The micro-nationalism that plagues Nigerian politics cannot be solved until peace and functions of the micro-nations that make up the Nigerian nation have been adequately addressed. It further warns against military rule in Nigeria.

Dr. Ikejiani is married with eight Children. The most senior, Miriam is a professor and head of department of political science, University of Nigeria Nsukka. Two of the boys are architects, another is a senior orthopedic resident at Dalhousie and the youngest son is a lawyer with the ministry of justice in the province of Nova Scotia.



Powered by ACENetwork

Igbo Foundation | Igbo Heritage Foundation | Ikenga Think Tank