BIODATA OF HIS EXCELLENCY, CHIEF FRANCIS OJI
Renowned Technocrat, Administrator, former minister of Police Affairs, and former Deputy Governor Imo/Abia State. Born in 1934 at Owutu Edda, Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Chief (Sir) Francis Oji received his elementary education at Church of Scotland Mission school Itu Hill Itu.
In 1950, he enrolled into St. Thomas College Ogoja where he obtained Teachers Grade II Certificate in 1954. In 1957 he proceeded to Fourah Bay College, (University of Durham), Freetown, Sierra Leone where he graduated with B.A. (Economics) in 1961. He was an Eastern Nigerian Scholar at the Afro – Asian Institute for Labour studies and Co-operatives in 1963 in Israel. Further top management training took him to Cambridge University, England. He later attended several senior/top management courses and seminars within and outside the country.
Chief Sir, Francis Oji started his career as a teacher in 1954. He joined the Eastern Nigeria Public Service as Assistant Registrar of co-operatives. He played a pioneering role in the establishment and development of co-operative farms in the old Enugu Zone Comprising old Onicha and Ogoja provinces. He rose to the position of Deputy Permanent Secretary in Research and Policy Analysis of the East Central State Cabinet Office, Enugu, in 1975, having earlier worked as Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and State School Management Board Respectively. On the creation of Imo State in March 1976, he was appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives. He thereafter served as Permanent Secretary, Economic Division of the Cabinet Office; Perm. Secretary, Ministry of Community Development and Co-operative; Ministry of Housing and Environment; Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Development. He retired as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1984.
Outside his Civil Service career, Sir Francis Oji has held other enviable public appointment. These include:
- Sole Administrator, Nigerian Labour Congress, Imo State 1989.
- Deputy Governor and Special Adviser to Abia State Military Administrator 1990 – 1992
- Honourable Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs 1992 – 1993
- Chairman, Michael Okpara College of Agriculture (now Michael Okpara University of Agriculture) 1985 – 1998.
- Served in several panels and committees in Imo State and Ebonyi State.
- Appointed by the Federal Government as member, University of Calabar Governing Council, where he effectively Chaired the Staff and Disciplinary committee of the University for his four years duration as member of the Governing Council, 2000 – 2004
- Chairman, Governing Council and Pro-chancellor, Ebonyi State University 2004 till 2008.
In his Community Development efforts, Chief Francis Oji is also a giant. He pioneered among other projects, the establishments of:
- Ebunwana Edda Girls Secondary School,
- Itim Secondary School, Itim Edda,
- Technical Secondary School, Etiti Edda,
- Community Secondary School Oso Edda,
- Erosion Control in Owutu Edda;
- Government College and General Hospital Owutu Edda etc.
Club (a service and Humanitarian organization).
On Saturday, December 17, 2011, the Governing authorities of Abia State University and its Visitor conferred on Sir Chief Francis Oji Honorary Doctorate Degree of the University and installed him as the Honourable Chancellor of the University, an honour he is still enjoying. According to the University authorities the honour is “in recognition of your very high accomplishments in your chosen fields of endeavour and contributions to societal development.”
He is a member of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs; Association for Public Administration and Management; and Fellow of the Royal Economic Society.
In recognition of these and many other Achievements, the Federal Government of Nigeria on 16th November 2000 honoured him with the award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR.) In addition, he was one of the two technocrats in Igbo land to bag the highly coveted Excellent Service Award by the office of the Head of Federal Civil service on 23rd June, 2000.
He is happily married to Ezinne Lady Rosemary Alioka Oji and the marriage is blessed with 7 children and many grandchildren.