UNN Alumni Ends IBOMNEC 2019 Meeting In Uyo, Pays Homage To Esio Oquong Udoh
The atmosphere was that of a re-union and memory recalling as members of the University of Nigeria Alumni Association (UNAA) in their numbers stormed Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom, for their 102nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting tagged IBOMNEC 2019.
The 2019 IBOMNEC meeting was quite symbolic and interesting as members were conducted on facility tour of some projects which include the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and Champion Breweries among others.
Interestingly too, the alumni also paid a courtesy visit on one of their alumnus, Esio Oquong Udoh, a certified medical practitioner of “Class of 78” in his residence in Uyo where they wined and dined together.
“Without mincing words, it was indeed the gathering of distinguished alumni, a moment of excitement, celebration, embrace, merry making and above all, a moment of reflection on their past lives while there in the university.
In his address on the 102nd National Executive Council meeting with theme, Integration And National Development and topic, Challenges of National Integration And The Rising Misery Index in Nigeria which took place from September 19-22, 2019 at Watbridge Hotels and Suites recently, the national president, Sir Ben Okoronkwo, who opened his address with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson thus “Be not the slave of your own past, plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with new self respect, with new power and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old,” said he was pleased to welcome all lions and lionesses, friends and well-wishers to the 102nd NEC meeting of the association for members to deliberate on the prospects and challenges facing the association and the university, their alma mater.
Okoronkwo maintained that it remains their avowed resolve to ensure that individually and collectively, they surmount these impediments that have become a cog in the wheel of progress, adding that NEC meeting holds every quarter to discuss matters affecting the association and also proffer solutions, even as far-reaching decisions are taken.
He explained that the importance of NEC and the strategic nature of Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom, to the association cannot be overemphasized, averring that the theme of the meeting is very apt, especially at this time that the nation is grappling with the fledgling democracy and good governance, but however, expressed the belief that at the end of the meeting, they will be better informed on the ways and means towards deepening our democracy through integration and national development which will invariably engender good governance.
The national president disclosed that Akwa Ibom is a state in the coastal part of the country created in 1987 from the old Cross River State, with a population of over five million and has developed infrastructure in no small speed, pointing out that Akwa Ibom has an airport, the first state own airline, Ibom Air, e-library, good road network, as well as Lion Plywood Industry, and can unarguably boast of one of the best stadia in this country.
He used the medium to congratulate one of their own, Professor Charles Igwe, a professor of Soil Science, for emerging the new and 15th vice chancellor, noting that it is a dream come true as it has long been their hearts desire and dream that one of them becomes the vice chancellor.
The national president who described the new vice chancellor as a calm, unassuming and dependable gentleman, called on lions and lionesses to rally round him and galvanize support for the growth, development and sustenance of their alma mater.
On the state of the university, Okoronkwo appealed to all to come together in one accord to support and secure the institution, saying that at age 59, the university has grown in population of students, academic and non-teaching staff and the facilities have been overstretched and need replacement.
In all, the president urged members, both in Nigeria and in the diaspora, and the entire university community to embrace and rally round the new management as they strategize and embark on the onerous task of repositioning the university geared towards the era of collaborative synergy in order to consolidate on the gains of the past and for the realization of the dreams of their founding fathers.
The Akwa Ibom State Chapter president, Professor Innocent Modo, remarked that when the state was created on September 23, 1987 under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, it was said to be a land of promise and indeed with the artistic ingenuity of the governors of the state since the Fourth Republic, everyone refers to the state as a land of fulfillment.
Modo stated that the state has automated industries including the unique Metering Industry, Flour Mill, Fertilizer Blending Plant, Plywood Industry and Syringe Manufacturing Factory among others, explaining that Akwa Ibom is the only state in the federation with a state-owned airline, Ibom Air, with ten tertiary institutions including four universities, a federal polytechnic, a college of education and Federal Maritime Academy.
The chapter president emphasized that the state is very peaceful as the citizens and visitors alike imbibe the culture of meekness, hospitality, as well as friendliness, and God is in every business they embark upon, and welcomed all to the 102nd NEC meeting.
Addressing the alumni numbering over 150 who paid homage to him in his residence in Uyo, Dr Esio Oquong Udoh said he was humbled by the visit as it was a mark of honour, recognition respect which speaks volumes of the recognition of his contributions towards the uplift and development of his alma mater.
Udoh, a two-term National Assembly member and a medical practitioner of no mean repute, thanked the NEC members for the visit and the choice of Akwa Ibom for the hosting of IBOMNEC 2019, emphasizing that Akwa Ibom was a state with good road network, viable industries, hospitable disposition and most importantly, the relative peace enjoyed in the state by both the citizens and visitors alike.
He expressed optimism that with the warm reception accorded them, and the development they have witnessed in the state, it was obvious that they were very eager to be back to the state for their next NEC meeting and like they have said, make his residence their first point of call, assuring that he was prepared to host them any time any day, even in their greater number.
The two-term National Assembly member charged the alumni to execute a signature project in the university and possibly look in the area of refurbishing some of the faculty buildings which are very old among other things, stressing that this is possible as there are many well-to-do alumni spread across the globe.
Udoh also encouraged them to show interest in having symposium with undergraduates of the university in order to inculcate in them the way of life after graduation because what is seen outside after graduation is actually different from what obtains in the university environment.
In his words; “In other words, the 21st century is totally different from what obtained 20-50 years ago when the university was at an early stage, but in this era of Information Communication Technology (ICT), graduates must be trained to show that entrepreneurial spirit that is totally different from the way that the university produced students some years ago. These days, students should not think of being employed but should think of being employers of labour by way of ensuring that before they leave the system, they acquire certain skills that could make them totally independent of government employment. These are the things we need to inculcate in these our young ones that are graduating these days,” he emphasized.