ABRIDGED BIOGRAPHY OF LATE HON. CHIEF SMART NDEM OKPI, OON MBE – UGWUABAM ONE….
Written by Hon. Orji Kalu Okorie.
Late Chief Hon. Smart Ndem Okpi of the popular Okochiriuyom matrilineal family was born to a the royal family of Late Chief Kalu Okpi of Nde Chinna Royal Family of Ndi Oji Abam in the present Arochukwu LGA on October, 22nd 1922.
EDUCATION Late Hon Chief Okpi a brilliant scholar attended various schools not excluding the popular and great Kings College, Yaba, Lagos between 1939 to 1941. He obtained his Senior Cambridge/Matriculation School Certificate.
CAREER Late Hon Chief Smart Ndem Okpi served under the Federal Civil Service from 1942 to 1960 later continued after a brief break as a result of other calling duties. He rose to the peak of his career as he retired in 1973 as a Permanent Secretary. A position no Abam son has reached even at the State Civil Service till this date.
Late Hon Chief Smart Ndem Okpi on retirement joined politics and pitched his tent with the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He contested for the position of House of Assembly in the then Imo State House of Assembly in 1979 and won. He served the good people of Abam State Constituency and out of his vibrancy was elected the Minority Leader. His first tenure ended in 1983 but he recontested and won though his second tenure was cut short in 1984 by a military coup.
The icon Late Hon Chief Okpi was appointed a Federal Civil Service Commissioner by the Gen. Babangida administration in 1992 and he served meritoriously till 1997. Recall that it was as a reward for his diligence, honest and handwork that the Federal Government like the Almighty God asking Solomon what he wants, asked Late Chief Okpi what he desires as a reward. Whereas Solomon in need of wisdom to rule his people, Late Chief Okpi remembered that at a point the Governor of the then Imo State had mocked him and quickly he said “Give my people Electricity” and that is the electricity the entire Abam people and beyond enjoy today.
MARRIAGE Chief Okpi was happily married to the love of his heart, young beautiful Mrs Ada Okpi nee Kalu Eke. The marriage was blessed with four beautiful ladies and two hardworking gentlemen. Yet too many grand and great grand children today.
AWARD The Federal Government of Nigeria in 1965 conferred an award of OON to Chief Okpi and MBE from the British Empire in 1960.
Apart from many chieftaincy titles awarded to him from numerous communities, the people of Abam Onyerubi honoured him with the title of UGWUABAM ONE.
PHILOSOPHY Late Chief Okpi simple philosophy was Live and let live.
PUBLICATIONS Late Chief Okpi published many books and poems, one of his books is “Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies published in 1958 and one of his poems is Life of the Greatest a poem that literarily described the greatness of Jesus Christ. Check it on voicesnet.com.
HOBBIES His hobbies includes hunting, billiard, reading and traveling.
DEATH Late Chief Hon. Smart Ndem Okpi slept to meet his great grand fathers on the 15th October, 2004 after a brief illness.
Note Let it be known also that it was out of his benevolence and exemplary relationship with his bosom friend Late Bob Ogbuagu that the present two rubber plantations in Amaeke and Ndi Oji Abam were established.
Dear UGWUABAM you live everyday in our hearts, and most of us is doing well no matter the challenges from lot of wise counseling you gave us while you lived. Continue to enjoy your rest till the resurrection morning.
Umu Nde Oji Abam si gi Noo Nke Oma Amadi Okochiriuyom