Professor Ogaba Oche, ace International Relations scholar who slumped and died on February 8th, 2019 is to be buried on March 2nd, 2019, the family has announced. The burial which has already been communicated to the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) where Oche worked all his life will climax with his internment at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) at Igumale in Ado Local Government Area of Benue State. Issued by Dr, (Mrs) Charity Oche, the activities would commence on February 27th, 2019 in Victoria Island, Lagos before the final rites of passage at Igumale.
The late Prof Ogaba Oche has had a peculiarly mobile life, attending primary school across Kaduna, Lagos, London and Washington DC between 1963 and 1971 before returning to St. Gregory College in Lagos from 1971 to 1975. It was a return to the United States again after earning a combined Honours Degree in History/Political Science at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979. This time, it was to the University of Kansas from where he rapidly picked two Masters degrees in Political Science and in Public Administration. And then back in Nigeria into Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria again for his PhD in Political Science which he earned in 1988. Academia seemed his ‘natural’ forte. He didn’t miss it, starting with the Department of Political Science at the University of Jos before moving to the NIIA.
By the time he died, he had covered virtually every subject matter in the domain of Political Science or, specifically, International Relations, be it Nigeria-Russian Relations; Nigeria-Indian relations; the African Union; the military factor in democratization in Nigeria; the Structural Adjustment Programme; Non-State Actors, (NSA) and the political economy of conflict. Others include the UN system; peacekeeping; Terrorism; Refugee problems and Small Arms.
Two of his papers would normally attract attention when situated in current concerns in the field and given the time they were written would be as follows. In 1999, he wrote “National Security Dimensions of Cross-Border Armed Incursions into the North-East Zone of Nigeria”. In 2000, he also wrote “Cross-Border Security, Cooperation and Integration: Focus on Nigeria’s Immediate Neighbors in the North-West Zone”. A careful observer is most likely to ask how it happened that Boko Haram is Nigeria’s experience in spite of excellent study of different dimension of national security long before the reality?
He has left a book that students of Peace and Conflict might find very useful. The 2006 publication is entitled From Dispute to Dialogue: Essays on Conflict and Conflict Resolution. He taught at the Lagos State University’s Masters Programme in International Relations and Strategic Studies. He was editor of NIIA’s now defunct flagship publication, Nigerian Forum.
Described by some former colleagues at the University of Jos as someone hardly ever ruffled by any situation and, in fact, too calm, the late Professor would be missed by both his immediate family and the scores of students he examined their doctoral thesis across Nigerian universities. Adieu Prof Ogaba!