Isaac Iweka II
RIP (23/01/1911 - 01/01/1996)
Igwe Obosi

Life and Times of Engr. Isaac Iweka: The First Igbo Engineer is the biography of H.R.H. Igwe Isaac Emenike Iweka II (Eze Obosi), the king who ruled Obosi, a community in Anambra State, Nigeria, from 1974 to 1996. He grew up as a young man with undaunted dream of becoming a leader, served his country as an innovative engineer, the first of his kind, and died as a king who revolutionized his community, Obosi.

Engr. Isaac Iweka was born on 23rd January 1911. He was the first son and second child of H.R.H. Igwe Israel Iweka I, who was the Igwe of Obosi from 1932 to 1934. His father was not only rich and learned, but also a Christian. This created an opportunity for Engr. Isaac Iweka to grow up in a comfortable home as a prince, get sound education and have the fear of God.

He began his education at Saint Andrews Primary School (now Central School) Obosi. In 1921, at age ten, he was sent to Hope Waddell Institute, Calabar and at age fourteen (1925) he was sent to Dennis Memorial Grammar School as a pioneering student. When he graduated from the school with flying colours, he was quickly employed by the United African Company (U.A.C.), one of the leading companies in Africa at that time. At age twenty-two he was already earning good salary and therefore got married to Miss Deborah Adaobi Nwobi.

While he worked, he nursed the dream of studying law abroad and becoming Nigeria’s first lawyer. His father’s death in 1934 crushed such dream, but not entirely. What was crushed was only the dream of becoming a lawyer, but not the determination to study abroad and become one of Nigeria’s foremost scholars. In order to achieve his dream, young Iweka resigned from his juicy job for another that paid him only thirty percent of his former salary- a move he never regretted. Through his current job, which was with the Public Works Department, a government ministry, he secured a scholarship to study civil engineering at the Imperial College, London and became the first Igbo engineer, the second indigenous engineer east of the Niger, the second graduate engineer after Engr. Williams and the first Nigerian to qualify as a graduate engineer on the British soil.

After graduation, he worked for a while in the UK and then returned to Nigeria to join the Public Works Department at the senior service category, and not quite long he was made a Chief Engineer.
At age fourty-five he retired from public service and when Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then Premier of the Eastern Nigeria, offered to make him the Director of Transport of the Eastern Region (a position higher than that of a commissioner today) based on his wealth of experiences, he declined the offer considering that his salary would not be enough to train his children in school and to handle other personal and family issues. He afterwards joined Union Construction Co. Ltd. as the Managing Director and achieved quite some feat with the company. Then in 1965 he founded his own private company, Isajon Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd, after gathering wealth of experiences from other companies and organizations, home and abroad, private and public. The Nigerian civil war affected his newly formed company. But when the war ended, he made frantic efforts to revive the company.

In 1974, while he was battling to revive his crippled company and at the same time assisting the federal government to revive its crashed economy as one of the few great minds brought together by the federal government under the body of Capital Issues Commission, the people of Obosi, his home town lost their king and consequently came to ask him to lead them as their new Igwe. He led the people of Obosi in one of the most revolutionary periods of the community from 1974 to 1996 when he passed on to glory.

Nominated by Afam Nnaji

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