Born on a Christmas Day in 1920, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara was Nigeria’s youngest premier at 39, when he became the Premier of the Eastern Region of Nigeria, from 1959 to 1966.
Okpara never owned a house of his own while he was in government. In 1979, his close associates and friends took up a collection to build him a house in his village, Umuegwu, present-day, Abia State.
He received the award of GCON (Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger), one of Nigeria’s highest honours, in 1964.
Okpara died on December 17, 1984, eight days before his 64th birthday. The Michael Okpara Way, Abuja, as is the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, are some of the numerous places and institutions named after him.