Okilo Melford; First democratically elected governor of old Rivers State. Okilo Melford was born November 30 1933 in Emakalakala now part of Ogbia Local Council of Bayelsa State. During his tenure, Okilo established the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST.
Okilo Melford attended Teachers Training College, Diobu, Port Harcourt, Christian College, Florida, United States and University of London, England. He married Felicia in 1971 with whom he had his six children. Okilo served as a member of Parliament in pre-independent Nigeria from 1956 to 1959. He was the parliamentary secretary between 1959 and 1964. He was appointed chairman, Rivers State Transport Corporation in 1970 and he became Rivers State Commissioner for Education in 1971. Between 1977-78, he was a member of Constituent Assembly[i]. In 1979 Okilo Melford was elected the governor of Rivers State on the platform of National Party of Nigeria, NPN. He was reelected for a second term in 1983 which was disrupted by the forceful takeover of power which ushered in the government of Major General Buhari. For his contributions he was awarded the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic from President Shehu Shagari. In 1999 Okilo won the Bayelsa East Senatorial seat with the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. His published works include The Law of Life and Nigeria: The Search for Political Stability. Okolo passed on July 5, 2008[ii].
[i] Insider 6 December, 2004
[ii] Tell 21 July, 2008