Dr Martin Aliker needs no introduction for anyone that is close to the business sector in Uganda or in the academic circles.
At the age of 91, the former Gulu University chancellor and one of the few dental surgeons that Uganda still commands respect from different sectors.
It is upon that background that the Chess Parents and Guardians Association Limited Uganda (CPGA) named him their patron. While unveiling Aliker in a function held at Uganda Golf Club, CPGA chairman of Ssubi Kiwanuka indicated the appointed patron was a perfect choice because of his experience and knowledge.
“As CPGA, we are honoured that Dr Martin Aliker accepted our appointment. He is an inspiration to many in different fields. I’m talking about someone who has been on over forty boards of major corporate companies in Uganda. We, therefore, believe he will help our association through his guidance,” said Kiwanuka.
According to Kiwanuka, the association which is limited by guarantee of parents and guardians will help to promote, fund and teach children chess in Uganda. In his acceptance speech, Aliker expressed delight in being named the patron especially for the fact that the association promotes children’s interest in playing chess.
“I am delighted to join Chess Parents and Guardians Association as a patron. I am particularly energized by this opportunity because it allows me to influence the ability of the youth in Uganda, to realize their potential through the benefits of chess and make a positive contribution to the development of Uganda,” Alker said.
“Chess creates an opportunity to engage these future generations of Uganda in a developmental sport that stimulates and cultivates essential skills such as critical thinking, numeracy, problem-solving and strategic planning, in players of all socio-economic backgrounds,” he added
Who is Dr Martin Aliker?
Martin Jerome Okec Aliker is a Ugandan dental surgeon, businessman, entrepreneur, and community leader.
He is a senior adviser to the President of Uganda and has sat on the board of directors of nearly forty Ugandan companies.
He is the chancellor of Victoria University Uganda, a private institution.
From 2004 until 2014, he served as the founding chancellor of Gulu University, a public university.
Aliker was born in Gulu District on 21 October 1928 to Rwot Lacito Okech and Juliana Auma, a daughter of Musa Ali, the first ordained Anglican priest in Acholi.
He attended Gulu High School for his primary education, before transferring to Kings College Budo for his O-Level studies.
In 1948, he was admitted to Makerere University, the oldest public university in East Africa. Before he could complete his studies at Makerere, he won a scholarship to Northwestern University, in Chicago, United States, where he studied political science, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following that, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study dental surgery, also at Northwestern, graduating with a Doctor of Dental Surgery.
Later, he was awarded the title of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. After his doctorate studies in the United States, Aliker returned to Uganda and took up employment as a government dental surgeon.
Later, he left the civil service and set up the first private dental practice in Uganda owned by an African.
In 1971, when Idi Amin captured power in a coup d’état, his residence shared the back wall with Aliker’s house. Amin’s security people ordered him to move away from his home because he was deemed a security risk to Amin.
In late 1972, he fled to Nairobi, Kenya because of the deteriorating security situation in Uganda. While in Nairobi, he set up a lucrative dental practice, staying there until 1998, when he came back to Uganda.
On his return, he was able to repossess his home. Starting in the 1960s, Aliker began buying shares in blue-chip companies, including the Uganda Commercial Bank and the National Insurance Company.
As of October 2014, Aliker was a shareholder in the following publicly traded Ugandan companies: Stanbic Bank Uganda, Uganda Clays Limited, Nation Media Group, National Insurance Corporation, East African Breweries, among others.
He sits on the boards of many of these companies and is the chairman of Uganda Clays Limited. He sits on the Actis East African Advisory Board, launched by Actis, the private equity firm affiliated with the Commonwealth Development Corporation.
In July 2014, he was appointed the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Makerere University Endowment Fund.