Dr. Ikemba Iweala is probably one of the most famous men out of Nigeria, or put in another phrase, one of the men whose names ring a bell in Nigeria, across the continent, and globally. This is not just because he is a well-known Neurosurgeon and the chairman of the IKE Foundation for Autism but also because he is the husband of Ngozi Iweala, a Nigerian-American economist presently serving as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. Ikemba was born on the 13th of June 1952 and hails from Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria. Like his wife, he also holds American citizenship.
Ikemba and Ngozi Iweala Have Been Married For Over Four Decades
Though we do not have the official date they got married, it is widely reported that the Iwealas got married in 1979 at quite a young age. Ikemba was probably between 26 and 27 years old at the time while his wife Ngozi was about 25 years old. This estimated date is a result of a social media post in 2016 when their first son Uzodinma wished them a happy wedding anniversary. In the post, he revealed that it was their 37th wedding anniversary.
The couple were both young when they got married and at that time they had not yet risen to fame even though Ngozi could best be described as a princess due to the status of her parents at that time. Sources have it that she is from a royal family in Delta State. Not much is mentioned about her husband’s birth parents but we suspect he was also probably born with a silver spoon considering his level of education.
Their Marriage Has Stood The Test Of Time
Ikemba and Ngozi’s marriage has stood the test of time and has weathered the storms of life. Sometime in November 2007, a 59-year-old Ikemba admitted to having had an affair with a 28-year-old nurse. The nurse, who is also a Nigerian, was identified as Queen Nwoye. She took advantage of the situation and began to blackmail him, threatening to expose the affair to his wife if he did not pay her some money. With the help of her estranged boyfriend who was identified as Adriane Osuagwu, they extorted large sums of money from him to the tune of about $180,000 but at the end of the day, his wife as well as the whole world found out about the affair and the whole thing became a huge mess with the nurse being charged with extortion.
Although Ikemba and Queen claimed that the affair ended in 2003, the extortion began in 2006 when according to Queen, her boyfriend compelled her to extort the doctor. They took the pain of setting up a meeting where Ikemba was lured into having sex with Queen in a parking lot then someone came and began taking photographs of them. This led to additional demands from the said Osuagwu who was disguised as Ufondu.
Nwoye’s lawyer, however, claimed that she did not intend to extort Iweala and was only acting on the orders of an abusive boyfriend. At the end of the day, both Ikemba and Queen’s marriages survived the scandal.
In a similar incident, the Iwealas faced yet another threat to their marriage when Ngozi was given an appointment by the then Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. She had to leave Potomac for Abuja, leaving her husband behind. It is reported that many of Iweala’s relatives were not comfortable with the idea of her leaving for Abuja especially to work with the president who they considered to be notorious for adultery.
She eventually got to Abuja and things began to happen. There was a time when the media was agog with photographs of the President and Mrs. Iweala in quite a suggestive position, although it was a simple gesture of the president adjusting her headgear. Many said she smiled approvingly and they read meaning to it. Reports also had it that her husband sent close friends and family to talk to her after the news got to him.
The Couple Have Four Children Together
Ikemba Iweala and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s union is blessed with four children. The first is a daughter and the last three are all boys. There isn’t much information about their birthdays but let’s take a look at how they are doing:
Their first child, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, Ph.D. Havard) is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology. She is happily married and has 3 children, and is in her early 40s.
Their second child, Uzodinma Iweala (AB Havard, MD Columbia), is the author of Beasts of no Nation. He was born in 1982 and attended St. Albans School Washington D.C. and later Harvard College where he bagged A.B., magna cum laude, in English and American Literature and Language, in 2004. He also bagged a degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2011 and was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Their third child, Okechukwu Iweala, is a graduate of Havard University in 2005, where he studied Social Studies and like his elder brother Uzo, he is more Art inclined and is into music, poetry, and writing.
Their last child is a son, Uchechi Iweala (AB, MD, MBA Harvard). He is also a Harvard graduate. He studied Economics and graduated in 2009.
Taking a look at their various choices of career, one cannot help but notice the similarities with that of their parents. It’s easy therefore to assume that their parents, in one way or the other, influenced their career choices. Even the choice of schools speaks volumes, all the children, just like their mother, went to Harvard University while Uchechi, the youngest son, studied Economics just like his mum and grandfather.
Ikemba Iweala’s Work History
Besides being a medical doctor, Dr. Ikemba Iweala could also be referred to as a philanthropist. He owns an NGO known as IKE Foundation for Autism (IFA). The foundation was established in 2008 to help people living with autism and other related issues live to their full potential.
A family medicine physician par excellence, and a neurosurgeon amongst other things, Ikemba Iweala had his early education in Nigeria, where he graduated from the University of Ibadan. He did his National Youth Service (NYSC) in Kwara State, Nigeria where he served as the center physician at the rural health center, Igbaja. After the compulsory youth service, he went on to complete his training in General Surgery/Trauma and Neurosurgery at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and came back to practice at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Ikemba has also worked as a clinical instructor for emergency medicine at the George Washington University Hospital, Washington DC.