About Dr. Clement Isong
Clement Nyong Isong was born on April 20th, 1920 to Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Isonguyo of Onna local government area. He was the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (1967-1975) and former Governor (1979-1983) of the erstwhile Cross River State, which today comprises Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. He was a teacher, banker, economist, administrator and politician.
He lost his father at a young age and was raised by his uncle, Chief Adam Inyang, who married his mother according to the native law and custom. Education was very important to his parents, so young Clement moved to Oron to attend the Methodist Boys High School, where he served as the school master’s houseboy while undergoing his studies.
Isong’s outstanding qualities of humility, honesty and sincerity caused him to shine wherever life placed him. Because of his hard work and diligence, he was accepted to study at the University College, Ibadan (now called The University of Ibadan and the oldest Nigerian university). He later won scholarships from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations to further his education in the United States. He received his Bachelors degree in Business Education from Iowa Wesleyan College, where he graduated summa cum laude, and later obtained his MA and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in Cambridge. His Ph.D. dissertation was on the role of “esusu (a cooperative savings association) as an informal financial resource mobilization system.” This piece of work is still used as a reference in studies carried out today.
Dr. Isong served in various leadership capacities in various national and international institutions including the University of Ibadan, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
Dr. Isong subsequently became the first civilian governor of Cross River State. He later served on the Governing Council of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University and later as an elder statesman in the country. In this capacity, he provided expertise, wisdom and guidance on various key issues that occurred in Akwa Ibom, and in Nigeria at large. Having contributed to the growth and development of Nigeria, Dr. Isong was honoured with Nigeria’s national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR) in 1982.
Dr. Clement Isong’s life experiences caused him to become an advocate of high quality education, and a strong proponent of excellence and integrity in leadership. He was known for his honesty, patriotism and loyalty - qualities which he upheld and emphasized in all he did. Having been the second Nigerian to be appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he has been honored with his portrait on Nigeria’s highest currency note – the N1000 – an honor he shares with the first indigenous governor.
Dr. Isong passed away on May 29th, 2000.