BY ANIEKAN UMANA
THE steam and the flame of the torch of development lit in Akwa Ibom State by the Governor Godswill Akpabio administration’s free, compulsory and qualitative education policy for primary and secondary schools will never dim. It remains fascinatingly aglow.
Like in a relay race, the baton of functional education for indigenes of the state has been handed to the Akwa Ibom State University, AKSU.
And if the hope brought by the successful commencement of academic programmes at the university was loaded in trucks, the installation of the first chancellor of the university, Alhaji Najib Hussaini Adamu (CON), Emir of Kazaure, Jigawa State born technocrat, lawyer, consummate administrator, and presently, the Pro-Chancellor of Katsina State University has brought shiploads of hope to the people of Akwa Ibom State. The appointment of this man of proven integrity has indeed, brought hope to the university.
In line with the administration’s vision to rapidly transform Akwa Ibom into a world class economy, education was made to occupy the front seat in policy formulations. Thus, even the university comfortably sat to the admiration of the people. The success story of AKSU is not a thing for a page, lest one may be tempted to dim the colours of a rainbow feat.
And it came to a point where a good vision was buried in swamp. Then Akpabio came. He wept and called out the people’s university from its swampy grave. Then Akwa Ibom leapt for joy. And today, the university is alive to tell its story. Oh AKSU, what is thy story?
I was a dry bone before Governor Akpabio became a governor. I was suffocating in the pipeline, except that occasionally, I would be taken to the drawing board and returned to my water-logged site for the toads to feast on me. As a matter of fact, the series of activities as to my birth commenced since October, 2000.
But I was a paper project, and my soul was squeezed into rented flats in Uyo even when my flesh was submerged at Mkpat Enin. I am happy to now sing a new song. Thanks to the Akpabio administration.
Yes, that song is on the lip of every Akwa Ibom person. Those who love good things hum it; because AKSU has come to put music to the education song of Akwa Ibom. Before the Akpabio government came, nothing happened in the school. In fact, it had nothing except name.
In fact, it had nothing because even its former name, AKUTECH is no more. The educational need of Akwa Ibom was too big to be reduced to a single slant. Not when a free and compulsory education was churning out students from the secondary school from all areas.
So, in May, 2008, Akwa Ibom State executive council approved the establishment of a conventional multi-campus state university with the main campus at Ikot Akpaden, Mkpat Enin, and a campus at Obio Akpa, Oruk Anam. The Model Science Secondary School, Ikot Akpaden, which was under construction, was approved as a take-off location for the main campus while College of Agriculture, Obio Akpa became a campus of the university.
The bill establishing the university was passed by the state house of assembly on September 25, 2009 but with effect from June, 2009. The bill, beamed as light, was immediately signed into law by Governor Akpabio, the great teacher.
The National Universities Commission, NUC, handed over the certificate of establishment of the university to Governor Godswill Akpabio on October 25, 2009. This was preceded by the commencement of academic programme by the university on September 23, 2009.
During its first matriculation ceremony on Saturday, February 26, 2011, some 300 students matriculated into the different departments of the university, and are offered the best in their studies under the vice chancellorship of an academic oracle, Professor Sunday Peters.
There were a thousand and one reasons for Akwa Ibom people to roll out their drums for the university especially on October 6, when the first chancellor of the institution was installed. Hitherto, several Akwa Ibom indigenes had been denied admission into universities based on the quota system that is being practised in Nigeria.
And it was so pathetic in that most of these children who were denied this was not as a result of poor academic standards or inadequate entry requirements. But just that one state cannot be so considered to the detriment of others even when the latter performed poorly.
This mounting university admission crisis kept on increasing in an alarming rate with the implementation of the free and compulsory education policy in the state. It was almost threatening the future of most Akwa Ibom youths. Thus, necessitating an own university; AKSU then came to the rescue, and timely, too.
Today, Akwa Ibom children are assured of a university that reserves for them, over 90 per cent of the admission vacancies. This is an opportunity for them to push up the ladder to be at par with other states of the federation who have been using their universities to complement admission droughts caused by the paucity of chances in federal universities.
With AKSU now in full swing in academic programmes, Akwa Ibom people are assured that the dismal picture painted for them in most fields will be a thing of the past especially in engineering and technology, as well as the money-spinning oceanography and naval architecture which are key areas that courses are offered in the university.
This is why the installation of the first chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University, AKSU, in the person of Alhaji Najib Husseini Adamu (CON), Emir of Kazure, Jigawa State is a thing of uncommon joy for the people of Akwa Ibom.
For this reason, they are appreciative of Governor Akpabio for giving them the catchment area for educational advancement and economic development all robed in AKSU. This is a day where their joy knows no bound.
The arrival of the university means a ship has been coast to the harbour of Akwa Ibom, anchored on the passion to rapidly sail the state to the waters of greatness and a burgeoning future for a people God named after Himself. The content of the ship is hope. Hope for Akwa Ibom State. This shipload of hope cannot be for nothing else than progress and development.
It is in that high spirit that they welcome the pioneer chancellor into the land of opportunities and extraordinary achievements, a good example of which is the university he is now the chancellor. It is, therefore, safe to say that ‘congratulations!’ is written on both sides of a coin.
Whichever side it falls, there is one for someone: either for the development consultant whose speed and commitment has brought the university to life, Governor Akpabio or Nigeria’s newest university chancellor, Alhaji Adamu. Congratulations!
Umanah is Akwa Ibom information commissioner