By Jonathan Ugbal
The former military Governor of River’s State, Brigadier General Anthony Ukpo has died aged 74.
Born Stephen Anthony Ukpo, the late military man who also served as Nigeria’s Minister of Information during the General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s regime died on Monday after a brief sickness.
A native of Okpoma in Yala Local Government Area of norther Cross River, Ukpo’s death comes a few days after his sister, Madam Lydia Ukpo died in the U.S.
According to GlobalUpFront, Ukpo has during his active service life, attended Military courses in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Israel, and Lebanon. He served in various command and staff positions both in the Nigerian Armed Forces and the United Nations Forces Operations in Lebanon.
He also served Nigeria in various political positions. These began when he was appointed Minister of Information of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in August 1985. In 1986, he was appointed the Military Governor of Nigeria’s oil rich state, Rivers State (present day Rivers and Bayelsa State).
In 1989, he moved to Nigeria’s Presidency when he was appointed Principal Staff Officer (Civilian equivalent of Chief of Staff) to President Ibrahim Babangida. He retired from the Nigerian Army in 1993.
He had another opportunity to serve Nigeria when he was appointed member of the Programme Implementation and Monitoring Committee (PIMCO) of the General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Government in 1998.
He was an industrialist with varied interest in manufacturing, property development, oil and gas, hotel development, farming, and most recently Medical diagnosis.
* General Ukpo attended St. Augustine’s Seminary, Abakiliki (GCE, London: 1961-1965)
* School of Infantry, USA (Diploma in Advanced Infantry: 1976-1977)
* La Selle Extension University, USA (Diploma in Business Management: 1976-1977)
* Army Command and Staff College, Jaji (Passed Staff College: 1977-1978)
* Command and General Staff College USA (Masters in Military Arts and Science: 1979-1980)
* US Marine Corp Instructional Technology School USA (Diploma in Instructional Technology: 1980)
* US Army War College (1990-1991)
General Ukpo at various times was:
* Clerical Assistant (1967);
* Battalion Commander (1968 – 1969);
* DA & Quarter Master general (1969 – 1970);
* Brigade Major (1970 – 1971);
* Battalion Commander (1972 – 1973);
* Instructor, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) 1975 – 1976);
* Adjutant General, NDA (1975 1976);
* Chief Military Press Information Officer, Headquarters, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) 1978 -1979);
* Directing Staff, Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980 – 1982);
* Deputy Director, Doctrine, and Combat development (1982 – 1985);
* Deputy Director, Defence Intelligence Agency (DAI, 1985);
* Minister of Information (1985 – 1986);
* Military Governor of Rivers State (1986 – 1988);
* Principal Staff Officer to the President (1988 – 1990);
* Director, Military Training (1991 – 1993).
* Member, Programme Implementation & Monitoring Committee (PIMCO) 1998-1999)
* Delegate to the 2014 National Conference (2014)
After military service, General Ukpo deployed his experience and resources into business ventures, among which are:
* Ikaba Hotels Ltd ( owners of 520 Hotels Akuma Lodge and 520 Hotels ASDAM Lodge & Spa)
* Ogeyi Place Hotels Limited (owners of Le Meridien Ogeyi Place Hotel – Port Harcourt)
* TSI Property & Investment Holdings Limited
* Delchem Nigeria Limited
* Totex Oil Nigeria Limited
* Tofamid Group of Companies
* South – South Communications Ltd
* Teefarms Gambia Limited
* ASI Ukpo Diagnostics and Medicals Limited
He was also the majority shareholder as well as Chairman/CEO of the following ventures:
* Hotels/Allied Services
* Investment & Property Devt.
* Laundry/Dry cleaning
* Oil and Gas
* Agro Allied
* Newspaper Publishers
* Farming –Poultry and Feed-mill
* Medical Tests and Diagnosis
General Ukpo sat on the Boards of the following companies:
* Suffy Travels & Tours Limited
* Megastar Construction & Technical Co. Ltd
* QBC Builders Merchant Ltd
* QR Manufacturing & Trading Co. Ltd. (Former Quality Radiators)
A widely travelled personality, General Ukpo wrote the following books based on his experiences and research:
* The Changing Faces of the Nigerian Army (1978)
* Super Power Rivalry in the Horn of Africa (1980)
* The Logistics implications of UN Peace Keeping Operations (1980)
He visited 34 countries during his tour of duty in the military and in his business pursuits.