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Biography: Iconic Story of Professor Ambrose Ali, His Journey From A Sitting Governor To Prison

Biography: Iconic Story of Professor Ambrose Ali, His Journey From A Sitting Governor To Prison  

Biography: Iconic Story of Professor Ambrose Ali, His Journey From A Sitting Governor To Prison

The man Ambrose Ali university was named after, his journey from a sitting governor to prison.


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He is a Nigerian doctor and politician who became well known nationally during the second republic in the years 1979 to 1983.

Born on 22 September 1929 at Ekpoma in Bendel state, Ambrose Alli was educated at the immaculate conception college Benin city before going to st. Patrick's college Asaba, and to the school of Agriculture in Ibadan. He trained as a medical laboratory technologist at the university college medical laboratory, Ibadan, from 1950 to 1953, and studied medicine at the university college of Ibadan from 1953 to 1960.

Alli did further medical studies in Britain after that and worked in hospitals there and in Zimbabwe (1960-1962). Alli return to Nigeria in 1966 to begin a distinguished academic career. He was professor of Morbid Anatomy Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1969 to 1971, and at the university of Ibadan from 1971 to 1974. From 1974 to 1979 he was head of the department of Pathology at the university of Benin.

But it was through his career in politics that Ambrose Alli rose to prominence. With the lifting of the ban by formal activity by political parties in1978, he became more involved in politics in preparation for the return to civilian rule on 1979.

He was a member of the 1977-78 constituent Assembly who deliberated. The 1979 constitution leading to the second Republic. He was a foundation member of Unity party of Nigeria led by Obafemi Awolowo on whose platform he was elected of Bendel state in July 1979.


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He served in that office until September 1983 when he lost the gubernatorial elections to another candidate. During his term as Governor Ambrose Alli vigorously implemented his party's programme of free education for all in the state.

The Bendel state University, situated in Ekpoma was founded during this period. Alli's practical and person involvement is said to have literally made the founding of this university possible, and perhaps the most remarkable achievement for which he will be remembered. 

When the civilian regime of president Shehu Shagari on 31 December 1983, Professor Ambrose Alli was detained alongside many other civilian politicians. He was charged of corruption charges and sentenced to 100 years imprisonment.

The sentenced was later reviewed and reduce to seven years. His health deteriorated while on jail. Alli was released on 13 February 1988 only after the payment of 983,000 naira raised by his friends into the government chest.


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Alli died on 22 September 1989 ( His 60th Birthday) at the lagos university teaching hospital. After sometime series of calls were made for the Bendel State University to be renamed after Alli as a tribute to him.

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