Joe Effiong, Uyo,
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sen Godswill Akpabio has sensationally revealed that he was an illegally pupil who used to sneak into a nearby school without being admitted but chased into the bush by security men due to non-payment of fees.
Addressing the inaugural convocation of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene of which he is the chancellor, Akpabio however said that experience of being chased into the bush in which he injured himself, has moulded his life to the commitment of making sure every child is chased from the bush into school.
“I thank God for those security men who chased me from the school into the bush. They meant it for evil but God turned it to good. Ever since that harrowing experience, it has been my avowed duty and life-long commitment to chase children from the bush to the school.
´That bush race ignited a fire in me which neither the effluxion of time nor the limitations of resources can quench. As a Governor, that race for my life through the bush was the inspiration behind the free and compulsory education programme established by us.”Akpabio said.
He congratulated the proprietor of the university, Sen Emmanuel Ibokessien on reviving the pride of Ikot Ekpene which he said was the cradle of Akwa Ibom unity and the crucible of Akwa Ibom greatness, having been the first place where local government administration was experimented in West Africa as well as the birthplace of the famous Ibibio Welfare Union, which knit a historic quilt of ethnic unity and brotherhood.
The vice chancellor of the university, Prof Celestine Ntuen, said history had been made in the education system in Nigeria as Ritman University completed her wisdom cycle by graduating her first batch of students in exactly four years after commencement.
Ntuen said the institution which commenced its academic work on November 23, 2015, had kept the promise of producing education leaders and scholars capable of solving societal problems by turning challenges into opportunities and making a difference in their chosen fields.
He presented a list of 23 graduating students out of which, two bagged first honours in computer science and biology respectively, while the former governor Kano State, Sen Ibrahim Shekerau and a businessman in Akwa Ibom state, Chief Effiong Afiakurue, were conferred with honorary doctorates in science and business administration, respectively.
The proprietor of the school, Sen Ibokessien said Ritman University was a fulfillment of his childhood dream of seeing a school occupy the their forest in their community.
“Ritman University commenced academic activities for its premier undergraduate students on November 23, 2015., in three faculties with 14 as approved by the departments as approved by the NUC,” the proprietor said. END