RE: IKEJIANI SAGA.
Festus, as usual, I read with utmost interest your today’s column in the Nigerian Tribune.
With regard to Ikejiani’s certificate forgery you alluded to in your column, I am sorry to say that you missed the sequence of events in your narration.
Dr. Ikejiani was appointed a lecturer at the University College Ibadan with a purported DSc. Degree. Later it was discovered that he did not possess any DSc. degree. The Principal of the College then, Dr. Mellanby, though he had a liking for Ikejiani had no alternative but to dismiss him for this offence. (For details see Mellanby’s book “The birth of Nigeria University”)
This action of the University College did not go down with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was the mentor of Ikejiani. Zik then used his paper, the West African Pilot to attack Mellanby and the College relentlessly.
In 1961, Zik used his influence in the NPC/NCNC coalition federal government to get Ikejiani appointed as the Pro Chancellor of the University College where he was sacked for certificate forgery. Zik did this to spite the University College. This appointment elicited a lot of protest from students and staff of the University and a cross section of enlightened Nigerians, but this did not move the government. Ikejiani occupied this post till 1965.
Later he was also appointed as Chairman of Nigerian Railways Corporation where his tenure was riddled with tribalism, nepotism and bare-faced Greed. In 1966 at the Railway inquiry, he made the famous statement ” I love cars”.
With regard to Nwafor Orizu, the colonial government jailed him for defrauding innocent people, he promised to take to USA on scholarship.
Later, Zik again pardoned him so that he could go to Nigerian Senate. He later became the President of the Senate after Dennis Osadebay and by twist of events became the acting President of Nigeria who handed over the rein of government to Ironsi after the first coup in 1966.