Alvan Ikoku

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Alvan Ikoku (1900–1971) was a Nigerian educator, statesman, activist and politician. Born on August 1, 1900 in Arochukwu, present day Abia State, he was educated at Government School and Hope Waddell College, Calabar. In 1920, he received his first teaching appointment with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland at Itigidi and two years later became a senior tutor at St. Paul's Teachers' Training College, Awka, Anambra State. It was while at Awka that Ikoku earned his University of London degree in Philosophy in 1928 through private correspondence.

In 1931, Ikoku established one of the earliest private secondary schools in Nigeria, the Aggrey Memorial College, in Arochukwu. He named the institution after James E.K. Aggrey, the eminent Ghanaian educationist. Following the constitutional changes in 1946 which allowed for more Nigerians in the legislative chambers, he was nominated to Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly and assigned to the ministry of education. In 1947 he went to the Legislative Council in Lagos as one of the three representatives of the Eastern Region.

In government, Ikoku exerted his influence to foster the interest of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), for which he became instrumental to the Legislative Council's acceptance of 44 NUT proposals for amendments to various educational ordinances. Through much of the 1950s, the Colonial Government rejected NUT recommendations for the introduction of uniform education in Nigeria. Ikoku and his union, however, were vindicated after independence when the recommendations became the foundation of official policy on education.

Upon retiring from government politics, Ikoku served on various educational bodies in the country. He was a member of West African Educational Council (WAEC) and the Council of the University of Ibadan as well as Chairman, Board of Governors of the Aviation Training Centre. Honours for his contribution to education in Nigeria include an honorary Doctorate in Law (1965) at a special convocation of the University of Ibadan, the establishment of the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, and his commemoration on Nigeria's Ten Naira note (for image see: [1]). He died in 1971.


  • Toyin Falola; The History of Nigeria, Greenwood Press (September 30, 1999). ISBN 0313306826