By George Nwokike Ike
Determination and discipline are two unique assets. Individuals who possess these qualities tend to obliterate obstacles on their path to success. These qualities can be seen all over the multi-faceted life of Prof. Donald Nnaemeka Ike. A one-time politician, academic and banker, Prof. Ike has traversed various fields of endeavours in his journey through life. A journey which began on the faithful day of August 21, 1946 when a bouncing baby boy sprang into the loving arms of his parents, Magistrate George Nwokike Ike and Elfrida Nwaewulu Ike in the city of Jos, Nigeria. Born into the royal family of Ndikelionwu, he was the sixth child in a family of nine. Donald Ike’s family was one in which the parents had high expectations with regards to their children’s educational attainment. These expectations spurred his entrance into the Government Secondary School, Afikpo (1961-1965) where he began his early education. They were also the forces at play when young Donald set out with a scholarship in the 1960s to the United States to obtain his tertiary education degree in the Fresno State University, Fresno, California. This pursuit culminated with the attainment of the distinguished summa cum laude Bachelor degree in the field of Economics in the year 1969. Not being one to settle for baseline investitures, Ike went further to obtain a Master of Arts degree in economics from the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) the following year. He capped off his educational pursuit with the procurement of a doctor of philosophy degree in economics from UCLA in the year 1973 at the young age of 27.
Coming back to Nigeria and recognising the development needs of his home state, Donald Ike took up the appointment of the principal planning officer in the Ministry of Economic Development and Reconstruction, government of the East Central State (1974-1975). Deciding to put his doctorate to good use, Donald Ike got recruited into the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) and maintained a career that spanned 10 years (1975-1985). Around the same period, in the era of the short-lived Second Republic, Donald Ike’s progressive ideas got him engaged with an administrative position in one of the foremost political parties of that era, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). A candidate himself for the 1979 Anambra senatorial elections, the politics of the time did not afford him the opportunity to serve his home state in that capacity. While the Nigeria People’s Party (NPP) went on to secure all the senatorial seats in the South East, the UPN, however, secured all the senatorial seats in the South West. This was a testament to the ethnically polarized political climate of the time which unfortunately still persists till today. Always the unbiased, detribalised Nigerian, these dynamics in the political terrain did not stop him from pitching his tent with the progressive leadership of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and becoming the chief organization secretary of the party (1978-1979). With the suspension of the Second Republic and the intervention of the military, Donald Ike pretty much bade goodbye to active politics and faced squarely his academic occupation. Notwithstanding, he maintained an advisory role in various spheres of the political terrain. On attaining the rank of associate professor and the position of head of finance department, he exited the IMT and was welcomed into the then Anambra State University of Technology where he attained the rank of professor (1986-1991).
After an assassination attempt on his life, Prof. Ike thought it wise to change direction. This decision prompted his move to the United Bank for Africa (UBA) where he attained the position of assistant general manager/chief economist (1991-1996). When his foray in the banking sector ended, it was back to the classroom for Prof. Ike as he became professor of finance and banking as well as the co-ordinator, undergraduate programmes, Delta State University, executive part-time programmes in the year 1997. He went on to join Covenant University, Ota as a Professor of Economics and later on became head of department (2007-2012). On leaving Covenant University, Caleb University, Imota, Lagos was his next port of call. He immediately assumed the responsibility of Professor of economics and head of department (2013-2018). This was his last port of call before his final retirement from active life.
Prof. Donald Ike has been an active participant of many professional, government and social bodies notable of which are; the Nigerian Economic Society since 1978; life member of the Nigerian Finance Association since 1987; member, Anambra State think tank on revenue generation and economic resuscitation (1986-1988); member, Anambra state governor’s study group (1987); member, Ndikelionwu Welfare Association and a one-time director of the Financial Institutions training Center, 1992-1993. He has been listed in the prestigious Who’s Who in the world (1996) by Marquis, a publishing house which started publishing biographies of renowned individuals from around the world in 1899. From 1996 till date, he has been consistently listed in the BLERF’s (Biographical Legacy and Research Foundation) Who’s Who in Nigeria. He has published several research articles in various academic journals as well as authored various academic books.
Prof. Donald Ike got married to his heartthrob, Gloria Ngozi Ike in the year 1982. The marriage produced three children; George Nwokike Ike (II), Ugoada Ukamaka Ike, and Dike Ugochukwu Ike. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.
• Dr George Ike is son to the departed academic