Eme Awa

Eme Awa; Public administrator praised on his demise by Gani Fawehinmi as a man whose integrity and honesty made him to be at daggers drawn with General Babangida’s dubious will. Awa came to public consciousness in 1987, when he was given the mandate by the Babangida military dictatorship to organise that year’s local government.  He passed this test with flying colours. Even then, it was obvious that the idealistic professor and the General with a hidden agenda were not rowing in the same boat. But the professor survived. And that was to be the pattern of Awa’s 19 months tenure between 1987 and 1989, as NEC’s boss. He survived each hurdle by the skin of his teeth. But the legendary cat with nine lives must sooner or later use up the last of its numerous lives. And at about 3.30 p.m on March 4, 1989, Awa’s ninth life as NEC’s boss expired. One of his former students, Humphery Nwosu, also a professor, was named his successor. Well known for his straightforward personality, Awa soon enough, made public, reasons why he was fired by the Babangida regime.

Born on December 15, 1921 in Amaekpu, Ohafia, Abia State, Eme Awa was educated at Ohafia Central School 1928-1934; the legendary Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar; Lincoln University, USA New York University. 1951-1955. He also studied sociology at Birmingham University Kingdom in 1957. Coming back to Nigeria, he served as Director, Research of Local Administration of States in Nigeria. He was a professor of Political Science at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He was also at the National Institute of Strategic Studies, NIPSS. Awa was appointed to head the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, NIIA and as National Electoral Commission, NEC chair.

Awa claimed to have been asked by the Babangida regime to sack a council chairman in the East but he refused, stating that he lacked the powers to do that. He also accused the government of the-day of trying to get him to doctor the electoral results of some people so that they could become governors. Again, he reportedly declined[i].

[i] TELL March, 2000

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer