Professor Joseph Gambo Akpoko was born in Fadan-Wate (now Fadan-Ninzo) on 6th September, 1956. He began his primary education in 1964 at the Native Authority (NA) primary school, Fadan Wate and later transferred to Evangelical Churches of West Africa (ECWA) primary school, Kafanchan where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1969. He proceeded to St. Peter’s College Kaduna (Government College, Kawo-Kaduna) in January, 1970, and later in the same year to Katsina Teachers’ College where he passed the Grade II Certificate in one sitting in 1974. He proceeded to the Federal College of Education, Okene where he spent one year but later gained admission through the Joint Admission Examination Matriculation Board (JAEMB) into University of Jos and received his Bachelor of Science (Ed) Geography in that University in 1983. Akpoko obtained his MSc (Rural Development) in 1988, and PhD in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology) in 2000 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
He began his working career a Grade II Teacher with the former Jema’a Local Government Area Education Authority in 1975. He was later coerced in 1976 by the Kaduna State Ministry of Education to teach Mathematics in Government Secondary School, Kafanchan as Mathematical Teacher Grade I. Upon completing his National Youth Service Corps at Bayero University, Kano in 1984, he returned to the Kaduna State Ministry of Education in 1984 and was posted to Barewa College, Zaria before he later joined the services of the College of Arts and Science (CAS), Zaria in 1985.
Professor Joseph Gambo Akpoko joined the Ahmadu Bello University in August, 1992 as Assistant Extension Specialist (equivalent of Graduate Assistant) and rose through the ranks to the position of Professor in October, 2008.
Akpoko joined the services of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) in August, 2018 as Permanent Commissioner Public Affairs and Information.
Before joining KAD-SIECOM, he was Professor of Agricultural Development (Extension) Communication in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture/Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He had over 24 years of cognate teaching and research experience in agricultural extension, rural development and policy issues at the state, federal and international levels. His principal teaching and research interest included agricultural extension, environmental economics, the sociology of agriculture, statistics for social research, gender issues and youth development, rural information dissemination and adoption studies. He had graduated twenty-one (21) PhDs, forty-three (43 MScs), 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Farm Management and Extension, and many first degree graduates. He had also given several invited presentations all over the world and one of his achievements is the appearance of his publication on “Asian Citation Index”.
His major areas of teaching at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria included Agricultural extension communication; Statistics for the social sciences; Innovative curriculum development; Agricultural administration and organization; Technology adoption and participatory extension approaches; Sociology of rural development; Gender, youth and leadership in development; Development of extension training materials, and agricultural extension policy and development planning. His researches focus mainly on evaluative research and adoption in the agricultural extension discipline. He has published widely in reputable National and International Journals. He has over 70 publications including 54 published articles in learned Journals, 22 in edited conference proceedings, 3 chapters in books and 7 monographs as well as 48 papers presented in various conferences and workshops.
He has three chapters in a contextualized textbook on agribusiness for Higher Schools in Africa focusing on case studies in agribusiness inputs and services. This book was initiated and funded by the African Network for Agriculture, Agro- forestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), Kenya. He is also the author of the three Reference Guides: i) Farmer Business School: Production System Potato, Maize and Soybean, ii) Doing Good Business with Quality Potato Production, iii) Doing Good Business with Quality Seed Potato Production. The three guides have been written in the Plateau State context as a part of the efforts to deepen economic development and de-traumatize the people for peace and stability.
He had been involved in many consultancy services including the Kaduna State Fadama II & III Projects, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Field Coordinator NAERLS-Sasakawa Global-2000, member CIRAD (PIM) Project, the Northern Guinea Savannah (NGS) Task Force (Vegetable Platform) of the Kano-Katsina-Maradi Learning Site of the Sub-saharan Africa Challenge Programme (SSA-CP), IITA/WECAMAN (Ibadan) and the National Facilitator for Research Into Use (RIU/DFID-UK) Project. Consultant to the IAR/Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) Project, the Socio-economist of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Soil Health Project, Consultant to the Millennium Village Project of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Soil Health Project. Consultant to the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), Abuja, German Development Cooperation-GIZ, Abuja (Jos-Plateau Office), and currently the Socio-economist in the Nigeria Soil Health Consortium (NgSHC). The success of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Project in which he was the Socio-economist had been featured in many radio, TV Programmes and several international magazines.
He had coordinated many workshops/seminars/conferences, and a leader of several research studies conducted by the Institute for Agricultural Research of Ahmadu Bello University particularly those that focused on dynamics of economic and technological change. He had also attended many local and international workshops/seminars/conferences.
He had held some academic administrative leadership positions including Pioneer Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Kaduna State University, Pioneer HOD, Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, Kaduna State University, Assistant Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Pioneer Coordinator (B.Sc. Agric. Extension) degree Programme, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Chairman of Committees. He has graduated many PGD, MSc and PhD candidates.
Akpoko is a member of Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria (AESON); Rural Sociological Association of Nigeria (RuSAN), Farm Management Association of Nigeria (FAMAN), Association for International Agricultural Extension Education (AIAE), USA; Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DeLPHE), UK, and member Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), UK. He is very passionate about the agricultural extension profession and was one of the Foundation members of the Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria.