First African Harvard Graduate, Ekpebu, Set For Bayelsa State Burial.
Prof. Lawrence Ekpebu, the first African to graduate from Harvard University in the United States, will be buried in his native state of Bayelsa.
Ekpebu came from the Okoloba village in the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area and went to Princeton University, another Ivy League university in the United States.
Ekpebu, the former Nigerian Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, died on January 2 at the Federal Medical Center in Yenagoa at 90.
During a condolence visit to the deceased’s family in Yenagoa on Wednesday, state governor Douye Diri revealed his government’s plans for a state burial.
Ekpebu’s death, he said, was a loss to his ethnic group, his state, and Nigeria in general.
The deceased, who was a founding member of the former Rivers State’s executive council when it was established in 1967, would be remembered for his exceptional contribution to the Ijaw ethnic nationality and Nigeria at large, according to Diri.
The governor said, “The late Professor distinguished himself academically and is seen as the first African that graduated not just from a foreign university but one that is reputed to be among the best in the world, the Harvard University.
“The late Professor was a founding member of the old Rivers State and started his service in that state. His death is not only for Bayelsa but indeed the old Rivers State and the nation at large, having served this country in an ambassadorial capacity.”
The Governor went on to announce that Prof. Ekpebu would be given a state burial when his burial date is announced by the family.