BIC Ijomah: Tribute to a colossus

By Emmah Ijomah

That is what he was: A colossus. Dr. B. Imeagwu Chukwumah Ijomah, a professor of Political Sociology, author, scholar, and institutional administrator. Ijomah graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1963, and after three years as administrative officer and assistant registrar at the same University, he proceeded to Northwestern University, Evanston, where he obtained a Master’s Degree in 1967 and a Doctorate Degree in Sociology in 1969.

He was, perhaps, one of the few scholars who combined academics with administrative work. His mentor, Professor V. Chukwuemeka Ike led in this respect. Ijomah had followed his mentor almost in every move he made – from being a university registrar to an academic professor.

He was, for several years, the head of the Department of Sociology in Nsukka and then at the Ambrose Alli University. He was also dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 1985 to 1989. Thereafter, he returned to the substantive position of head of Department of Sociology, a position he held until he retired in 2002.

Ijomah was a member of many professional bodies: the Institute of Administration and Management; the Institute of Sociological Association; the Nigerian Sociological and Anthropological Society; the American Statistical Association; the American Sociological Association; and the International Sociological Association. He was a Fellow of the Inter University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society; and the Editor of African Journal of Behavioural Sciences. Professor Ijomah has published many articles and books; and until his death on March 13, he was actively writing.

As an activist, Ijomah was the first president of the Student Union at University of Nigeria Nsukka from 1960 to 1961; the first national vice-president of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS); and he was a live member of NUNS from 1962. He was the first Ppresident of the University of Nigeria Alumni Association, Nsukka, and the first president of the National Alumni Association of the University of Nigeria.

Professor Ijomah was a painstaken quantitative researcher in Sociology, and he has carried out a number of field works. From 1986 to 1993, he carried out a national and international research on coastal erosion in Nigeria, and successfully predicted the instability of the ocean in Victoria Island, Lagos. He was the national chairman of Coastal Erosion Research, which involved four Universities, the Nigerian Navy and Deustch Hydraulics.

He served on a number of Federal Government committees and commissions. He was a member of the Federal Government Advisory Committee on Social Development in 1982; a member of the board of directors, Midwest Mass Communications in 1975; principal officer, Arts and Culture in 1977; and the old Bendel State commissioner of Education in 1983. He was a member of the 1995 Constitutional Conference Commission, and a member of the Transitional Implementation Committee. He was chairman of Governing Council, Institute of Continued Education, Bendel State; member of Governing Council, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; e member of the Governing Council, Federal University of Technology, Owerri; and member of the Governing Council, University of Benin.

In 1998, Professor Ijomah obtained permission from General Abacha, the then head of state, to pioneer the South South People’s Conference (SSOPEC) which later translated into the South South People’s Assembly. Professor Ijomah published over 10 books and 100 articles.

He was an ardent lover of the Blessed Virgin Mary and published several articles in her honour. He received several awards and was installed as a National Patron of the World Apostolate of Fatima in 2010. In 2005, he commenced work on the establishment of the Madonna International College, which successfully took off in 2006.

Today, Madonna International College has won many awards and is one of the best educational institutions in Delta State. While alive, during many of his birthdays, Professor Ijomah presented a publication to the country, one of which was his prodigious work on Nigerian Nationalism and the Problems of Socio-Political Integration, which was based on research.

He will be laid to rest on Wednesday, December 16.

An iroko has fallen!

Emmah Ijomah, a pastor and son of the late Professor BIC Ijomah, wrote from Lagos.

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