Brig. John Atom Kpera was born on January 3, 1941 in Mbatierev, Gboko Local Government Area and after his primary education (1948 – 1955), he attended Katsina-Ala College, (now Government College Katsina-Ala), 1956 – 1961.
He joined the Army and has his Military Cadet Training at the Haile Selassie Military Academy, Ethiopia in 1962 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Corps o Engineers as Second Lt. in 1965.
Brig. Kpera held several command and staff appointment at various levels in the Nigerian Army. These include Engineers Brigade Commander, Squadron Commander, Regimental Commander, and Commander, Corps of Engineers.
After serving as Military Governor of Anambra State during the Murtala – Obasanjo regime, he became the Commandant, Army School of Engineers Headquarters, and later Director of Manpower, Nigerian Army Headquarters. He was appointed Military Governor of Benue State on January 4, 1984.
Married with children and plays squash. He retired from the Army in 1989.