The Man Who Designed Nigerian National Grid “Father Of Electricity”, Clement Onyemelukwe Dies At 86 (pics)

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Clement Onyemelukwe & wife Catherine

Onyemelukwe, Nigerian Chief Electrical Engineer of the country’s Electricity Corporation, generated international attention when he married Catherine Zastrow, a white Peace Corps volunteer, who had just completed her service in 1964.

Although his parents had rejoiced that, he had returned from nine years in the United Kingdom without a foreign white wife, in 1963 he met Catherine in Lagos where they got married.

Father of Electricity' in Nigeria dies in Westport - The Hour
His wedding picture

“Peace Corps Worker to Wed Nigerian Engineer,” was the headline for a brief article in The New York Times from Lagos, Nigeria on Dec. 23, 1964.

Onyemelukwe initiated the planning and development of the electricity grid still used in Nigeria today when he became Chief Electrical Engineer in 1962.

He left the electricity industry to found Freeman Engineering in Lagos in 1973. In 1976 he founded Colechurch International Ltd, a project management and promotion company, in United Kingdom.

With wife & children

Engineer Onyemelukwe is the owner of Colechurch of International Ltd ,he is from Nanka , Anambra state, his son, China Danforth Onyemelukwe,one of the most prominent and important investment banker in Europe.

Today, Colechurch is active in 32 countries worldwide and has head office in London and a sub-head office in the US.

The group has an asset base of about $300m and annual turnover was $125m, the staff strength worldwide is 1,800 as at 2006.
Onyemelukwe has an impressive and perhaps, intimidating profile. He bagged an Engineering degree in 1956, from the University of Leeds and an Economics degree of London University in 1960. He has written and lectured widely on the power industry, economic development and growth.

He and his wife Catherine moved to Westport in 1993.

He initially held a residence card, known as a “green card,” as he was spending a good part of his time in his home country Nigeria on business.

In 2007, he finally became an American citizen. He was a speaker at the Y’s Men and an active library user while working on his latest book or researching business ideas.

His wife Catherine was president of the library board in 1999-2000, prior to becoming the Director of Development for the YMCA. She is an active member of TEAM Westport and The Unitarian Church in Westport.

Onyemelukwe died January18, 2020 in his home in Westport of lung cancer.

According to a family statement, his life will be celebrated on March 7, 2020, at 1 p.m at the unitarian church in Westport.

The statement added that Onyemelukwe would be buried in the family compound in his ancestral village beside his parents in April.

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He is survived by his wife Catherine, three children namely: Chinakueze, Elizabeth, and Samuel, and five grandchildren, Kenechi, Nkiru, Teya, Bruche and Ikem, a brother and three sisters.

Engineer onyemelukwe is the owner of Colechurch of International Ltd ,he is from Nanka , Anambra state, his son, China Danfort onyemelukwe,one of the most prominent and important investment banker in Europe.

Today, Colechurch is active in 32 countries worldwide and has head office in London and a sub-head office in the US.

The group has an asset base of about $300m and annual turnover was $125m, the staff strength worldwide is 1,800 as at 2006.
Onyemelukwe has an impressive and perhaps, intimidating profile. He bagged an Engineering degree in 1956, from the University of Leeds and an Economics degree of London University in 1960. He has written and lectured widely on the power industry, economic development and growth.

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