AKSU Chancellor: Hope For Traditional Institution In Akwa Ibom
By Franklyn Isong
I do not know how to express this cock-a-hoop moment that I found myself since yesterday, when I heard of the appointment of His Eminence, Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk, the Oku Ibom Ibibio as the new Chancellor of the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU), Ikot Akpaden, Mkpat Enin local government area, by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Nteyin Etuk, who is the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area and President General of the Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers (Ifim Ibom Ibibio), succeeds His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Najib Hussaini Adamu Kazaure, the Emir of Kazaure in Jigawa State, whose tenure ended in 2015, having been appointed as the first Chancellor of AKSU on October 6, 2011 by the Godswill Akpabio’s administration.
“…Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” John 1: 46. Nazareth is the hometown of Jesus Christ. The savior of the world.
Ibibio Nation, like Nazareth, is the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria and the largest in Akwa Ibom. Without sounding tribalistic, I am thankful to God that an Ibibio son in Governor Emmanuel is the one seeking to restore dignity, and recognition to the traditional institution in Akwa Ibom State. Like my friend would say, my heart is red! I am short of words to communicate the deep reflection of my inner recesses. This is a welcome development.
Over the years, I have been at the forefront advocating for improved welfare packages, respect for traditional institution and recognition of the roles of our traditional rulers in a democratic society like ours. This is yielding fruits today under the Udom Emmanuel’s administration.
This is one of the happiest moments of my life. A moment of celebration of the appointment of a royal father as the Chancellor of a State-owned university by the state governor. A moment of elevating the traditional institution. A moment of recognizing the traditional institution by the state governor. This is laudable and I must commend Governor Emmanuel for this hindsight.
Oh My God! Is this happening in Akwa Ibom? Can a royal father be this honoured in my life time? What a moment of joy for me. Thank you governor Udom Emmanuel. God will honour you and your generation for seeking to restore the lost glory of our traditional institution.
Well, most of my readers may not understand why I am this expressive and emotional. As an Ibibio traditional title holder of OTUEKONG, premised on the benevolence of Ibibio royal fathers, I found myself lucky to be a member of the traditional institution for over a decade. I can say without any contradiction that I know the problems of the traditional institution and the pains of royal fathers in Akwa Ibom State. I understand their handicaps, bounding pulse and aspiration to be like their counterparts outside the State.
On October 18, 2000, Governor Victor Attah, as he then was, inaugurated a committee for the establishment of Akwa Ibom State University of Technology (AKUTECH). The committee was made up of Prof. Ephraim E. Okon, Prof. Ekong E. Ekong, Prof. Ulo K. Enyenihi, Prof. Reuben K. Udo, Prof. E. W. Mbipom, Engr. (Mrs.) Mayen Adetiba, Engr. Esio O. Mboho, Engr. Akpan U. Ukpoho, Engr. Uyai Ekaette, Dr. Usen J. Antia, Sir Pius Wilson, Dr. Engineer Linus Asuquo, Mr. Moses Essien, Dr. Ini Udoka, Prof. Joe Uyanga and Mr. E. J. Akpan. The University opened its doors to its pioneer students in the 2010/2011 academic year.
At conception, the university was to be located within Akwa Ibom State’s Technology Triangle at the University Town. However, Akpabio’s administration changed the enabling law of the university into a multi-campus institution with the main campus at Ikot Akpaden, Mkpat Enin L.G.A and a second campus at Obio Akpa, Oruk Anam L.G.A.
The goals of the university was also modified in order to transform the university into a conventional university whose focus is not just Technology and Applied Science but also Arts.
The name of the institution was changed from Akwa Ibom State University of Technology (AKUTECH) to Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) through an enactment of the University Law on September 15, 2009 by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. With the pioneer Vice Chancellor, Prof Sunday W. Petters and incumbent vice chancellor, Prof. Eno J. Ibanga. While Prof. Okon Eminue, had served as the Pro-Chancellor.
I am now more than optimistic that with the appointment of the Ibibio patriarch as the Chancellor of AKSU by Governor Emmanuel, that truly ‘good thing can come from Nazareth’ – Ibibio nation, nay Akwa Ibom state. I can see a blinking light at the end of the tunnel, for traditional institution in Akwa Ibom State.
• Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and conscience of the society