Apr 25, 2017

Ngo Lyop Gloria Mang (1953 - 2017)

Ngo Lyop Gloria Mang. Source: Henry (son).

Mrs Lyop Gloria Mang, a mother, a wife, and an avid educationist, died on April 14th, 2017. She was killed by a therapy that was supposed to save her life. 

Mrs Mang was born in Rim, Riyom, Plateau State, on December 21st, 1953 to a family that helped in building the footings of the early missions. Her dad, a dispenser with the missions, worked in Vom and Ganawuri, from where she earned for herself the alias, Ngyuk. 

Late Mrs Mang went to the Local Education Primary School in Rim, between 1962 and 1967. At the time, education for the girl-child hardly went beyond primary school. But her head teacher, who saw her exceptionalism and feared it was likely going to get ruined by a tradition that ensured girls never went beyond primary school, intervened. He approached her father and suggested she should be allowed to continue beyond elementary.  A final decision was taken in her favour, after the father had conferred with his eldest sons, Toma and Yohanna. She was then enrolled into Girls High School Gindiri, in 1968, graduating in 1972. It was a family record; four female siblings ahead of her never went to secondary school. After secondary education, she moved on to Advanced Teacher’s College (ATC) Kano, getting married while she was a student. In 1978, she was enrolled into the Faculty of Education of the Ahmadu Bellow University (ABU) Zaria, graduating with a Second Class upper degree in Chemistry and Biology Education, in 1982. Her husband, Mr Mang, encouraged her to sustain her drive for higher education. It was the reason why she returned to school to acquire a Master’s Degree, between 1983 and 1986. In 2015, she obtained a PhD from the University of Jos, eventually dying as an Associate Professor.

Mrs Mang’s work life started in 1975, after her graduation from ATC Kano, when she became a teacher with St. Joseph College in Vom. In 1977, she left her job at St. Joseph College to take up another teaching job with the Plateau State Government. By 1979, she had become a Vice Principal at Government Secondary School (GSS) Laranto, eventually becoming a Principal at GSS Babale. She became the Vice Principal of Government Teachers’ College, Jos, between 1983 and 1986, when she was transferred to GSS Du. By the time she moved to Du, the school operated in an interim facility. Hence, she initiated and completed the development of the school’s permanent edifices. Du happened to be the village of Jonah Jang, who was the Governor of Gongola State, which eventually broke to become Adamawa and Taraba States, at the time. It is said that Jang gave out financial support towards ensuring the success of the project, after warning that she would go to jail, if he hears that any money he had donated had gone missing. This is despite him being a friend to her husband. It was the first time she personally met Jang. Between 1993 and 1995, she was appointed the Director of Planning at the Plateau State Women Affairs Commission, after which she returned to Educational Resource Centre of Ministry of Education. Having held such glamorous positions as a Director in the Women Affairs Commission, the Education Resource Centre turned out tepid.  She left, to become a lecturer at the University of Jos, in 1995. In 2011, she succeeded Sarah Ochepe as the Chairperson of State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB. 

Her passion for education led her to start her own school, the Glorious Hope School, with just one room and with four students, one of whom was her last child. That was in 1996. Due to the difficult financial situation, her children and husband served as assistants to the masons who built the initial phase of the permanent site of the school, with her joining when she returned from work. It became the reason why the family deliberately refused to change the rusty awnings of the school. They want it to remain as a sign of the modest past from which they came. Before her death, the school had grown to have day-care, primary, and secondary schools that boast of boarding facilities.

Mrs Mang lived her life roving carefully around institutions to avoid mainstream politics. Apart from becoming a Director of Planning in the Women Affairs Commission, she had nothing to do with women groups with a penchant for raw politics. By the time her husband became a clergy with the Anglican Church in 1996, she became active with the Women’s Guild and Mothers Union. She became a board member of the diocesan Anglican School in Ganawuri and for its primary school in Bukuru. For more than a decade, she sent financial support to missionaries working in the fields. It was in lieu of her absence in the field. 

When the People’s Democratic Party lost the 2015 election in Plateau state, becoming the opposition, Mrs Mang resigned her role at SUBEB, even when she had a year of her contract remaining. People gave this decision a lot of stereotypical interpretations. But her first son, Henry, explained that Governor Jang had given her a leeway to operate according to her beliefs, as long as it does not come against the established policy of public service. She was, however, not certain it was going to be the same with the incoming administration. To avoid becoming a square peg in a round hole, she took a decision to resign her role at SUBEB. Given that she had another year remaining, it took a lot of coaxing to get Governor Jang, whose last tenure was to end in twenty-four hours, to endorse the resignation letter on the 28th May, 2015. 

In April of 2016, while still working with SUBEB, Mrs Mang had a minor surgery to remove fibroid. But in the course of the surgery, it was discovered that she had a growing mass that eventually turned out to be cancer. The family had an option of taking her abroad or staying at home for the treatment. But she insisted that the treatment be done at home to save money for the continued development of Glorious Hope Schools, arguing that there was nothing she wanted to achieve that had eluded her. She underwent chemotherapy, every three weeks. The treatment seemed “successful” but the effects of chemotherapy were overwhelming on her. She eventually gave up on April 14th, 2017, after an astonishing life.

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