The family of the Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO), Godswill Obioma, has said the examination body’s boss died Monday afternoon after a brief illness.
This was contained in a message the son of the late professor of educational measurement and evaluation, Godswill Obioma the 2nd, shared with the management of NECO on Tuesday morning.
This was also confirmed by Mr Obioma’s personal assistant, Obinna Otumdi.
Mr Otumdi spoke exclusively with PREMIUM TIMES via telephone on Tuesday morning.
The personal assistant, however, said he was not in the best position to speak on the death of his late boss.
He said; “I am sure the family will address the public soon. My boss was ill, briefly, before nature took its course.”
He was said to have died at 66.
The family’s message
According to the message by the son, which was sent on Tuesday morning to NECO’s Director of Human Resources Management, Mustapha Abdul, Mr Obioma died on Monday afternoon.
The short message, a copy of which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, reads in part; “Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father, Prof. Godswill Obioma, the registrar/chief executive officer of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday 31/5/2021 after a brief illness.
“We request that you kindly notify the board, management and the entire staff of the Council of this development.
“We shall keep you duly informed.”
The message, which was signed by the young Obioma, said it was sent on behalf of the family.
But PREMIUM TIMES could not confirm the nature of the late NECO boss’ illness as of the time of filing this report.
How Mr Obioma died –Sources
Sources at the examination body and relations of the late Mr Obioma told our reporter that the deceased travelled from Abuja to Minna on Monday morning.
“But when he reached the city gate in Minna, he told his entourage that he would not be able to go to the office and went home with his security aides. The others, including his personal assistant, Otumdi, left for the office,” one of the sources, who does not want to be mentioned, told PREMIUM TIMES.
This newspaper learnt that by 3 p.m., the NECO registrar called his personal assistant to say he was too tired and that he would not be able to be in the office.
“But by around 4 p.m., the police officials who were downstairs in his house called the PA to complain that their boss was yet to return downstairs. But the PA told them he already spoke to him and that he was fine. But around 5 p.m. when the PA returned home and went upstairs, he saw a lifeless body,” the source added.
This newspaper gathered that the PA called in the security details immediately and they rushed Mr Obioma to an unnamed hospital in Minna where he was pronounced dead. His body was also said to have been moved to the National Hospital in Abuja on Monday evening, where he was again confirmed dead.
The late NECO boss had been facing a tough time at the examination body, following allegations of mismanagement and corrupt practices.
Mr Obioma, a former executive secretary of the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), was the resident electoral commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission in Ebonyi State before he was appointed NECO registrar in May 2020.
His appointment followed the removal of the former registrar of the examination body, Charles Nwakwe, over corruption allegations and poor management.
However, he too was soon accused of corruption and other illegalities by staff and board of the agency.
He was queried over various allegations including compromising “the sanctity and integrity of the examinations” being conducted by the body, especially the release of keys to the examination body’s vault where sensitive materials were kept, to his PA, Mr Otumdi.
Mr Otumdi’s parents were said to own a private school in Nasarawa State, and so was accused of compromising the examination papers’ security.
According to the report of the investigative panel set up by the examination body, which was obtained exclusively by this newspaper, Mr Obioma was also said to have attempted to release the sum of N1.8 billion to some contractors who the board had said should not be paid.
Some of the allegations read in part; “On Thursday, 18th June 2020, you approached the Director, Finance and Account (DFA), with a document purported to have been given to you by the Hon. Minister of State for Education (HMSE), a government official, directing him to pay the duo of BIZZDESK and FRONTEDGE the sum of one billion, eight hundred thousand naira (N1,800,000,000.00) being money claimed by the duo for service rendered; whereas you were aware that the Council is in court with these companies for refund of three billion naira (N3,000,000,000.00) for services not rendered between 2010 – 2018.
“The DFA further claimed that you said that the companies would, in return, appreciate your gesture with the sum of nine hundred million naira only (N9,000,000,000.00) upon payment to be shared between the Hon. Minister of State for Education (HMSE), yourself, DFA and his staff. The DFA flatly refused, and promptly notified the Board Chairman. This act is tantamount to fraudulent practices, bribery, corruption and sabotage under Section 4, No. 030402 (j, k & t) of the PSR.”
The board of the examination body had recommended his removal to the education minister, Adamu Adamu. The recommendation was subsequently forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively learnt that the Presidency was prepared to announce the deceased’s removal during the week before his death was reported on Tuesday morning.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...