Ritman University Celebrates First Convocation
Updated: Dec 6, 2019
Ritman University (RU) held her First Convocation Ceremony on Saturday 30 November 2019 in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State. Twenty-three pioneer students graduated, while honorary doctoral degrees were presented to Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Governor of Kano State, former Minister for Education, and serving Senator. The second honouree was Chief Effiong Afiakurue, a philanthropist.
The Chancellor of Ritman University, Chief Godswill Akpabio, in his convocation address said the event was a small step for that academic community, but a giant leap for education in Nigeria. He described RU an excellent global university which has done a difficult job well and left indelible footprints in the sands of time. Akpabio encouraged pioneer graduates and academics to brace up for the challenge of development and produce ideas that would change the world like the inventors Albert Einstein, Nicolaus Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, John Dalton and Louis Pasteur.
RU Pro-Chancellor, Prof Nsongurua Udombana said a university is a place of academic freedom where creative ideas are incubated and imaginations are allowed to flourish without restrictions and a place where scholars innovate, renovate and market their intellectual prowess. He charged graduating students to have a firm determination and vigorous pursuit of excellence, never settle for mediocre lives and never lower their standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
Arnold Victor Bassey of Mathematics and Computer Science was the Best Graduating Student with a CGPA of 4.60, followed by Enobong Monday Nyahette who made a First Class in Biological Sciences. Both shared a cash prize of two hundred and fifty thousand Naira endowed by Dr Emmanuel Abraham of Topfaith Schools.
Best Graduating Students in the Faculty of Humanities: Queeneth Archibong (History & International Studies) and Deborah Ahiakwo (English & Literary Studies) each received N20,000 cash prizes from Barr Cletus Udoh and Hon Unyime Etim (Chairman, Ikot Ekpene LGA) respectively. Idongesit Thomas of Political Science & Public Administration received a N20,000 cash prize also from the Ikot Ekpene Chairman as the best student from Social and Management Sciences faculty.
Other graduating students were: Mmenyene Silas, Okpontoyo Ndiok, Stella Duo-Duo, Precious Johnson, Innocent Okon, Idongesit Udo, Elijah Udo, Udeme Utuk, Idongesit Sunday, Uyo-Obong Essien, Victoria Ihekweaba, Kindness Nwosu, Joy Ndiok, Pearl Abasita, Juliet Ekanem, Paul Johnson, Utibe Akpan, and Gyankat Felicia Jonah.
Sir Effiong Afiakurue, a recipient of the Honorary Doctorate, described Ritman University as a bridge builder linking all parts of Akwa Ibom State, the Niger Delta of Nigeria and beyond, in addition to being a centre of academic excellence with learners from diverse ethnic and cultural roots. He said the award is in recognition of his bridge-building philosophy, and announced a donation of 100 sets of computers to the university.
Senator Ibrahim Shekarau in his acceptance speech said he was glad that Ritman University has laid a rock-solid foundation for developing and aspiring young intellectual minds to appreciate, create and own knowledge-based systems and processes. He noted that RU possesses great credentials and potential of excelling its contemporaries and identified education as the solution to poverty – one of Nigeria’s most pressing problems.
As part of convocation week, there was a career coaching session for students on 27 November, with accomplished men from different professions teaching students entrepreneurship and the right attitudes for succeeding in the workplace. Anietie Usen, a former General Manager of Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation and erstwhile Director in the Niger Delta Development Commission, taught the students to be responsible and positive at all times. Dr Essien Akpanuko, the Coordinator of Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Uyo, taught Entrepreneurship and Increasing Your Value. Prof Dennis Nkanga, a former Acting Chief Medical Director & CEO at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital spoke on Understanding and Managing your Value. Prof Godfrey Udo, former Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin) of UNIUYO harped on personal development and the winning mindset.
The First Convocation Lecture titled “Reflections on Qualitative University Education in Nigeria” was delivered on Friday 29 Nov 2019 by Prof Akaneren Essien, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo and Member of RU Governing Council. This was followed by a Dinner and Award Party for graduating students in the evening at Ruunic Hotels and Event Centre, Ikot Ekpene, with past and present student leaders receiving plaques of recognition. There was a football match between Ritman University staff and students on the preceding Thursday and a Thanksgiving Service on Sunday at New Apostolic Church, Ikot Abia Idem. Dignitaries at the Sunday service included former President, World Methodist Council and Member, RU Board of Trustees, Dr Sunday Mbang, as well as Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
INSTITUTIONS REPRESENTED AT RU FIRST CONVOCATION
1. Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State
2. Bayero University, Kano
3. University of Uyo
4. Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna
5. National Open University of Nigeria
6. Obong University, Obong Ntak, AKS
7. Nile University of Nigeria
8. University of Nigeria, Nsukka
9. Federal Polytechnic, Ukana, AKS
10. Ibom Institute of Management Technology, AKS
11. National Universities Commission (NUC)
12. Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities
13. Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities
14. Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB)
SOME DIGNITARIES PRESENT AT RU FIRST CONVOCATION
· Mr Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State
· Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State
· Chief Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Chancellor, Ritman University; former Governor, Akwa Ibom State
· Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Honouree; Former Governor of Kano State
· Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, former Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State
· Sir Effiong Afiakurue, Honouree
· Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, RU Visitor
· Senator Effiong Bob, Chairman, RU Board of Trustees
· Senator Helen Esuene, RU Board of Trustees Member
· Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs
· Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya
· Senator Ibrahim Shekarau
· Senator Mpigi Barinada, Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishments
· Senator Anietie Okon
· Mr Moses Ekpo, Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State
· Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Secretary to the State Government, Akwa Ibom
· His Eminence, Dr Sunday Mbang, RU Board of Trustees Member
· Engr Etido Inyang, RU Board of Trustees Member
· Prof Nsongurua Udombana, RU Pro-Chancellor
· Prof Akaneren Essien, RU Council Member
· Prof Comfort Ekpo, RU Council Member
· Prof Charles Ogbodo, RU Council Member
· Prof Imelda Udoh, RU Council Member
· Dr Salisu Ingawa, RU Council Member
· Dr Noel Saliu, Director of Academic Planning, representing the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission.
· Hon Unyime Etim, Chairman, Ikot Ekpene LGA
· Mrs Elsie Esara, former Transition Chairman, Itu LGA.
PROFILES OF HONORARY DOCTORAL DEGREE AWARDEES
Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau: Honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.), was born in Kurmawa Quarters in Kano City on the 5th of November 1955. He attended Makama Primary School, Aminu Kano Commercial College, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) where he graduated with a degree in Mathematics Education in 1979. Mallam Shekarau taught and served as Principal in various institutions and was two-term President of all Nigerian Secondary Schools Teachers Association. He also worked in Kano State Civil Service, rising to the position of Permanent Secretary, Civil Service Commission. Shekarau retired voluntarily from the service of Kano State civil service in October 2001 and joined politics in 2002. He was a two-term Governor from May 2007 to May 2011. He served as the Minister of Education from July 2014 to 2015 when Ritman University was approved by the Federal Government. He contested and won a senatorial seat in Kano under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the National Assembly elections held on Feb. 23 2019.
Sir (Chief) Effiong Daniel Afiakurue: Honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), was born to the family of a renowned entrepreneur and successful businessman, Late Chief Daniel Afiakurue of Uboro-Oro on 13th February, 1958. He attended Salvation Army Secondary School, Akai Ubium where he earned his West African School Certificate in 1977 with a distinction. He proceeded to the University of Calabar where he graduated in Mathematics/Statistics in 1981. He completed a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Computer Science at the University of Lagos in 1993. From a humble beginning as Master Grade II with the then Cross River State Teaching Service in 1982, he enjoyed a very steady career rise to the position of General Manager in the Oil and Gas sector. He served in this position for 15 years. His career had taken him through the Cross River State Teaching Service, Federal Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) where he retired in February 2018. He is a Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria, Member, Computer Society of Nigeria and Member Nigeria Institute of Management (Chartered). Some philanthropic works of Sir Afiakurue include: Building and equipping a computer centre with internet connectivity at Mary Hanney Secondary School, Oron and sponsoring 20 students of this school since 2018 by paying their boarding fees of 600,000 Naira per term; awarding over 100 full scholarships to students of Oro extraction studying in tertiary institutions of learning across the country; Empowerment of over 200 widows and less privileged indigenes of Oro nation; instituting an annual medical mission in Oro Nation where sick people who cannot afford medical bills are treated free of charge: in the last outing of the mission, four hundred and sixty five (465) patients were attended to and about sixty five (65) of them underwent surgeries for various ailments; establishing a worship centre in Urueoffong/Oruko LGA which also runs a primary school for over 120 pupils up to primary six/secondary school under his sponsorship.
Edidiong Esara 05/12/19