A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE PROFESSOR JAMES NWOYE ADICHIE, KSM, ODELU ORA ABBA
The news of the death of Professor James Nwoye Adichie came with much grief, yet it evoked a sense of gratitude to God: grief because the academic community, where he was an icon, the Catholic Church that had knighted him with the Knighthood of Saint Mulumba; the Abba community that had conferred on him the chieftaincy title of Odelu Ora abba, in appreciation of his involvement in community affairs and recognition of his scholastic achievements and the Adichie family of Ezi-Abba village, Abba, all lost a rare gem. Yet there is every reason to give gratitude to God. At eighty-eight years, we must thank God that Prof. Adichie passed through the inevitable portal of death not prematurely.
Aside of the longevity, many aspects of the late Professor's life excite joy and call for gratitude to God. All his work-life was creditably spent in the Public Service of Nigeria; first in the Research Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria; then the Federal Office of Statistics, the progenitor of today's National Bureau of Statistics; the defunct Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, and finally the University of Nigeria, where he spent the bulk of his work-life and made his prodigious scholarly achievements.
At the University of Nigeria, the late Prof. Adichie was a fecund scholar, turning out numerous seminal publications in statistics in national and international journals, which earned him promotion to the rank of Professor in 1976, making him the first Nigerian to attain that position; before then, he had become the first Nigerian to hold a Ph.D in Statistics when he earned that degree from the University of California in 1966. He can, therefore, be rightly considered as the doyen of statistics in Nigeria. He meritoriously held many administrative positions and membership of committees in the University of Nigeria: the first Head of the Department of Statistics; Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences; and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Outside the confines of the University of Nigeria, Prof. Adichie was a key player in institutions. He was visiting Professor to the University of Sheffield England; San Diego State University, California; member of the International Statistics Institute; Institute of Mathematical Statistics; and Mathematical Association of Nigeria; and the first editor Journal of Statistical Association of Nigeria.
Professor Adichie was not just an academic recluse; beyond the academia, he was active in the Catholic Church, accounting for the conferment on him of the Knighthood of Saint Mulumba. He also participated actively in the Civic affairs of his native Abba community, earning him the Chieftaincy title of Odelu Ora Abba.
In family, he had a fecund marital life, being sire to a worthy progeny of six children among whom, without any intent to overlook the others, special mention must made of the world-renowned novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose literal works have brought fame to the Adichie family and Nigeria. On account of foregoing, it could be said that in the life of the late Professor James Nwoye Adichie KSM, Odelu Ora Abba, there was nothing left to be achieved.
On behalf of the Management, Staff and Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, I send our heart-felt condolences to his spouse, Grace, children and the larger Adichie family of Ezi-Abba village, Abba. May God grant them the fortitude to cope with the vacuum created by his demise.
May the soul of the late Professor James Nwoye Adichie, KSM, Odelu Ora Abba, rest in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.