• Ekanem Ibokessien

Akpabio Becomes First Ritman University Chancellor

Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio has been installed as the first Chancellor of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

Chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, Senator Effiong Bob, performed the installation, assisted by the National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary, Prof. Adamu Abubakar Rasheed, on Thursday 12th April, 2018.

Prof Rasheed, who was represented by the commission’s Director of Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs Essien Otu Usendia, said that Ritman University has since its inception in 2015 adhered to all extant policies of the NUC in line with best practices, and has not been involved in any governance or administrative mess. He disclosed that Ritman is the 137th university to be approved, 57th private university, and one of Nigeria’s 162 universities – 41 federal, 47 state, and 74 private.

Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Ritman University Governing Council, Prof Nsongurua Udombana, explained that chancellors, apart from being ceremonial or titular heads are political representatives of universities to the wider world and that by this university’s law, a chancellor has to be a highly respected and prominent member of society who has interest in promoting academic excellence. He said Akpabio fits this description after waging an aggressive war on illiteracy during his tenure as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. Udombana commended the Vice Chancellor and his staff for demonstrating “the sacrificial spirit that causes great things to happen”, and appealed for public support to make the university an institution of first choice.

In his acceptance speech, the new Chancellor, Senator Akpabio foresaw Ritman University becoming a prominent centre for research and development in the mould of Harvard, and declared it as shining a “great smouldering firelight of knowledge”. He said every child should be made to run to school rather than run from school as he was chased away from school at childhood for not having money to pay his fees. Akpabio also noted that the university is strategically located in Ikot Ekpene, which was the first centre of local government administration in Nigeria. The Vice Chancellor, Prof Celestine Ntuen, described Ritman University as “an all-round educational institution that offers the best of everything” and an epicentre of knowledge sharing, akin to Areopagus, a prominent rock in the ancient Greek city of Athens.

The installation ceremony was preceded by the university’s third public lecture, delivered by Effiong Johnson, a Professor of Theatre, Communication and Aesthetics on the topic, Theatrical Comic Genre and the Therapeutic: A Discourse. The Akwa Ibom State Governor was represented by his Deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, at the event. Also in attendance were the former and first Military Governor of Akwa Ibom, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, State Commissioner for Education Prof. Victor Inoka, Senator Anietie Okon, Comedian Ime (Bishop) Umoh and other dignitaries from government, the academia, traditional institutions and corporate bodies.

Edidiong Esara 13/04/18

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