Today in History: Alvan Ikoku Was Born on This Day in 1900 

Alvan Ikoku

Alvan Ikoku was a Nigerian educator, statesman, activist, and politician. 

Alvan Ikoku Biography

He was Born in Amanagwu Arochukwu, in the present state of Abia, from 1911 to 1914. Educated at the Arochukwu government elementary school and from 1915 to 1920, 

He also attended Hope Waddell College, Calabar, where he was under James Emmanuel Aggrey and was a partner of Akanu Ibiam and Eyo Eyo Esua. 

However, In 1920 he also received his teaching at the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and the Church of Scotland in Itigidi and two years later became a senior tutor at St. Paul’s Teachers’ Training College, Awka, in the state of Anambra. 

While teaching at the Awka, Ikoku graduated from the University of London in 1928, through his external program. 

Alvan Ikoku Achievements

In 1932, Ikoku founded a co-educational secondary school in West Africa: the Aggrey Memorial Secondary School, located in Arochukwu and named after his mentor James E.K. Aggrey, a prominent Ghanaian educator.

In 1946, after several constitutional changes allowing more Nigerians in legislative chambers, he was also appointed to the Eastern Nigeria Chamber and assigned to the Ministry of Education. In 1947 he also joined the Lagos Legislative Council as one of the three in the East. 

Ikoku has fostered considerable government interest in the Nigerian Teachers’ Union (NUT), becoming instrumental in the Legislative Council’s 44 NUT proposals amending various educational ordinances. It met with resistance for much of the 1950s, when the colonial government repeatedly rejected its NUT recommendations to introduce uniform education in Nigeria. After the National, Ikoku and his union avenged as these recommendations became for education policy in the new nation.  

Also Read: Today in History: Wole Soyinka Was Born

In 1962, he called for a “Charter of Education Rights” to make primary school education free for six years nationwide in Nigeria. This was later accepted by the federal military government starting in 1976. Today, free education granted to all primary schools. Dr Ikoku still remains a great icon in Nigerian academic and educational development and one of the most outstanding educators they ever had in Nigeria.  

After retiring from government politics, Ikoku served in various educational bodies in the country. He was also a member of the West African Education Council (WAEC) and of the Ibadan University Council, as well as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Training Center.  

For his contribution to education in Nigeria they include an honorary doctorate in law (1965) in a special convocation of the University of Ibadan, the institution of the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, a main street, Alvan Ikoku Way, in Maitama , Abuja (Capital of Nigeria) and its commemoration on a Nigerian currency note, the Ten Naira banknote. He died on November 18, 1971. 

He also featured on the 10 Naira note since 1979.  


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