Thursday, 19 March 2009
Michael Iheonukara Okpara, GCON (December 1920-December 17, 1984) was a political leader and Premier of Eastern Nigeria during the First Republic, from 1959–1966.
He hailed from Ohuhu, near Umuahia-Ibeku in the then Eastern and at 46 was the country's youngest Premier. The son of a laborer, he was born in December, 1920. After attending mission schools, he went to the Uzuakoli Methodist College, near his village, and won a scholarship to the then Yaba Higher College, Lagos, to study medicine. Completing his medical studies at the Nigerian School of Medicine, Dr. Okpara worked briefly as a government medical officer before setting up private practice in Umuahia. Dr. Okpara was elected to the Eastern House of Assembly in 1952 on an NCNC ticket. Between then and 1959, when he took over from Dr. Azikiwe as Premier of the East, he held various Cabinet posts from Minister of Health to Agriculture and Production.
Dr Okpara died in 1984.