When a brilliant mind which impacted many, many people very positively passes, even nature heaves, quakes at this demise. Tears flowed dampening starched etibos and Senator suits and the eulogies unprompted tumbled out unceasing in Toru Orua and Yenagoa when the remains Of Prof Prince Ayebaye Efere were interred in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Saturday, August 25, 2018.
Prof Efere, who was popularly and affectionately known as Prince, was Dean of Foundation Studies, University of Africa, Toru Orua, Bayelsa State died suddenly June 13, 2018.
The passing of the brilliant, passionate, self-assured intellectual and educationist had sent shock waves down the spine of his friends and compatriots.
Following the release of the details of his final journey to Mother Earth, friends began to assemble in Yenagoa the week of the burial. They came in from the United Kingdom, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Warri, Toru Orua and Ekowe his hometown
The accolades for this man of learning flowed effortlessly at both the wake keep Friday, August 24 in Yenagoa, the lying- in state at Izon Wari, Yenagoa and final resting place in Yenagoa.
This sense of a giving free spirit echoed in eulogy and endless appreciation. Rowland Ekperi an expert on social housing in the United Kingdom, influential Diaspora Ijaw and one time president of the Ijaw Peoples Association, IPA of the United Kingdom and Ireland noted:
“We’ve lost an uncommon human resource in the shocking death of Prince Efere. Prince believed in education and the upliftment of people and society through education. He believed in it, he empowered many to acquire a good education in the UK and Nigeria. He was deeply involved in the struggles of the Ijaw people in the UK and back home in Nigeria. He was reliable in a way very few people are in times of crisis. You knew you could count on him. He was involved in many of the difficult, tasking endeavors we undertook as Ijaw people to protect our people and promote our issues. We have lost a true Ijaw son and compatriot”’.
For once, it seemed as though contending humanity with differing viewpoints on everything, was one in palpable grief over the loss of a husband, father, brother, cousin, uncle, friend, a spirit who touched so many at that deep point of human relations. His British born wife Janet, mother of their children Benjamin and Olivia captured the essence of Prince this way:
“Life with Prince was definitely an adventure; he just refused to be negative about people and was always trying to give people a leg up. Mind you, that could be frustrating-we were always trying to help people out financially while we ourselves struggled, or letting a whole range of people stay in our house-a bit of a shock for me. (I am an only child) to suddenly have this huge extended family around all the time!”
Efere was an untiring learner and teacher. He read a lot and acquired so many certificates, diplomas and degrees. There appeared to be a burning hunger to acquire knowledge so as to impart same to the young people he taught in the institutions abroad and back home.
Efere was an educationist par excellence. He studied in many institutions across several continents and acquired requisite exposure in areas covering Education policy and strategy; Managing educational institutions; Education quality assurance; Curriculum design and management; Science education; Education leadership; Education planning; Managing innovations in education; Managing technology education; Research; Strategic planning; Corporate governance; Emergency planning; Conflict resolution and arbitration; Corporate finance, Financial accounting; Management accounting; Tax planning; Financial management; Financial services regulation and compliance; Credit risk analysis and assessment; Corporate banking; Pensions administration; Mortgage lending and housing finance; Islamic banking practice; Investment analysis and strategy; Money laundering and fraud prevention and investigation; Public and community relations; Sustainable Community development strategy and development finance; Management of credit unions; Micro finance policy and strategy; Public sector accountability strategy; Total quality management; European business strategy; international business and Investment strategy; Communicating change .
In the area of Transport, Logistic and Management, he had competences in Transport strategy; Transport management and administration; Integrated transport system; Transport information systems; Logistics and supply chain management; Transport finance and investment; Facilities management; Management decisions; Leadership practice; Strategic management; Corporate finance; Corporate branding; Performance standards and planning; Logistics and transportation of oil and gas; Environmental protection; Disaster management and preparedness; Regulation and compliance; Transport security; Health and safety; Travel and tourism management and strategy; Transportation of hazardous wastes.
Energy and Petroleum, Housing and Healthcare were also fields in which he acquired competencies. He was exposed to Energy policy development Energy strategy; Oil, gas and energy industry; oil and gas services; Petroleum and gas contracts (management, negotiation and structure); Exploration and production (technology and techniques); Refining (planning and economics); Supply and distribution; Logistics and transportation; Acquisitions and divestments; Geopolitics and risks; LNG and global gas trading; Energy security; Waste management; Community development; Housing policy, Social housing strategy; Housing development, Housing strategic planning, housing management, housing finance and investment, Health and safety at work; community health and safety; Environmental health planning; Health education; sexual health strategy, Conservation; Disaster management and preparedness; Regulation and compliance.
Some of Efere’s academic qualifications and accomplishments include, Accountant – Institute of Financial Accountants, UK (1990) Graduate Diploma in Management Studies – Institute of Commercial Management, UK, 1992. Master of Business Administration (MBA) – International University, USA, 1992. Passed Associateship Exams – Chartered Building Societies Institute, UK, 1999. Passed Associateship Exams – Chartered Institute of Bankers, UK, 1995. Graduate Membership Exams – Institute of Credit Management, UK, 1996. Postgraduate Diploma in Transport and Energy Management – Trans-Atlantic College, UK, 1997, Postgraduate Diploma in Venereal Disease Prevention and Management.
He also bagged a BA in Banking, Insurance and Finance degree – Sheffield Hallam University, UK, 2005.
Doctor of Health Services – Central University of Nicaragua, 2007. Doctor of Education – International University, Panama, 2009. Associate Professor of Health Legacy (Education) – International University, Panama, 2010. Licentiate (Masters) degree in Transport and Road Security – Universidad San Juan de la Cruz – Costa Rica, 2011.Specialised Education Manager Award (Pgd) – Institute of Management Specialists, UK. Efere gained a diploma in Land Law, validated by University of wolverhampton, UK, 1999. A Diploma in Criminal Law, validated by University of Wolverhampton, UK, 1996. Diploma in English Legal System – Validated by University of Wolverhampton, UK, 1998. Several other law diplomas were in his kitty.
He was a Fellow Chartered Management Institute, UK, Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, UK, Institute of Administrative Management, UK, Institute of Financial Accountants, UK, Institute Public Sector Management, UK, Institute of Consulting, UK Association of Credit Professionals, UK.
Institute of Credit Administration, Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Nigeria among many professional associations too numerous to mention.
Since his relocation to Nigeria in 2011, Efere has kept very active spreading knowledge, educating people. His credentials as a resource person are simply intimidating. Some of his engagements back home include, training directors (including the minister) of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on their Retreat (December 2011) – on Performance management.
He was a delegate at the seminar on 2011, that edited and validated the Nigerian National Housing Policy. He had written an “Affordable Housing Strategy for Nigeria” (September 2011) for the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. He had written a strategy (November 2011) for the Federal Ministry of Education, on “How to Turn Around 70% WAEC/NECO Failure Rate to 70% Pass Rate in 2 Years”.
He designed a course on “Social Housing Management” for the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. He as well, structured a course on “Public Sector Analysis and Reform” for the Civil Service Commission and another course on “Mortgage Lending, Law and Practice” for the Federal Mortgage Bank. There was also, his take on Airport Planning and Management, Airport and Aviation Security and Safety among others.
Some of the articles written by the prolific writer and educator include, Early Works in Management’,
‘Evolution of Management’, ‘Causes, Consequences and Prevention of Homelessness’, ‘Urban Regeneration Strategy, ‘Principles of Social Housing’ and ‘How to fund N300b Nigeria Road Maintenance Bill without Borrowing.”
Along with his rich, varied life of research, acquisition of knowledge and the impartation of this came numerous awards and honours: In 2010, there was the President Barak Obama – Call to Service Award (US National Voluntary Service Award. In 2009 came the Apostolic Pastoral Congress, UK – Fellow, “The Order of St. Hadrian of Canterbury” an award presented by the Lord Lieutenant, a representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11.
In 2008, Friends of Africa Network, UK lifted him with the “Niger Delta Advocate Award.”
Work Experience spanned, from Sept 2013– date International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Bayelsa State, where he was head of Corporate governance and administration, building solid organisational structures, educational management and strategy, developing strategic plan and policy, developing national and international strategic partnerships, financial management and investment planning, project management, public relations and branding, developing alternative funding sources from national and international agencies.
From April 2015, he set up the Association for the Support of Urban Poor, Nigeria, where he was member Board of Trustees, Strategic planning, international partnership negotiations and establishment, corporate governance, social housing planning, public and external relations, education and training, From 2000 (but became a registered charity in Nigeria in 2010). He was chairman/founder, Prince Efere Foundation. The Foundation is a Nigerian registered charity for the promotion and support for education, healthcare, conservation and environmental protection; culture; community development, poverty alleviation and good governance, democratic values and peace.
It is often said that the cemetery is the richest place on earth. In the case of Prince this notion is shattered. As a generous soul, he shared so much that his natural brilliance made possible and available for him. Prince enriched friends and family with love, touched lives and gave many hope of a better future through exposure to empowering knowledge. Efere’s early childhood brilliance carried him over land and seas earning him tons of academic qualifications, which he bore with him as he returned to the country to deploy for his beloved country and community.