PROFESSOR (MRS) COMFORT M. EKPO ON THE OCCASION OF PRESS
BRIEFING IN RESPECT OF THE 21ST CONVOCATION, TODAY,
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2015.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) and
Chairman, 21st Convocation Planning Committee,
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic),
The Registrar, Bursar and the Vice Chancellor designate,
Other principal officers of the University,
My Very beloved members of the Fourth Estate,
Ladies and gentlemen.
I am most pleased to welcome you to the University of Uyo, the only Federal University in
Akwa Ibom State. You are here at our instance and for the usual exercise of briefing the
media on the flagship at this University event – the convocation; the 21st in the series
for this great University. This is the 10th most preferred University in Nigeria for
admission, as it attracted over 40,000 candidates for the 2015 Unified Tertiary
matriculation Examination (UTME), with a quota of 6,659 for admission.
The 21st Convocation is remarkable in several ways. Apart from being my last major event
as the fourth substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University, is auspicious event would
witness the installation of the fourth Chancellor of this University in the person of the
Emir of Hadejia and Chairman, Jigawa State Council of Chiefs, His Royal Highness,
Alhaji Abubakar Adamu Maje, CON.
A total of 4,186 students are to be graduated at this 21st convocation ceremony. A further
breakdown shows thus:- Postgraduate Diploma –347, Masters Degree– 899, Ph.D – 82,
Bachelors degree First Class – 11 Second Class Upper Division – 564, Second Class Lower
Division – 1,572, Others – 903, Diploma and Certificate – 309.
I wish to note that in this convocation, I have for the first time in the history of the
University of Uyo harvested a female as the overall best graduating student in the
person of Miss Nsidibe Solomon Etuk of the Department of Music, with a
Cumulative Grade point Average of 4.65. It is noteworthy that the overall best
graduating student in Medicine and Pharmacy are females. They are: (a) Dr. Imaobong
Ubom (Medicine) and Pharmacist Grace Monday Williams (Pharmacy).
Honorary Degrees of the University would be conferred on three eminent Nigerians.
(a) Senator Ita Solomon Enang– a celebrated former Senator of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, legislator par excellence, whose legislative services are traced
from Local Government, State House of Assembly, the Green and Red Chambers
of the National Assembly, and presently (but not lastly) the Special Adviser to the
President on Senate matters. This decision was taken long before his most recent
appointment by the President. He is to be conferred with the Honorary Doctor of
Laws of the University of Uyo.
(b) Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija – a frontline industrialist, passionate philanthropist,
entrepreneur who has touched the lives of widows and orphans across the globe.
She is to be conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Humanities.
(c) Chief Uko Akpan Umanah – the legendary music maestro, octogenarian and
composer of African musical classics. His music has educated, admonished,
entertained local and global audiences for about seventy years. He is to be
conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Music.
Apart from the convocation, may I use this medium to notify the media on some
milestones recorded in this great University during my administration:
University of Uyo has continued to maintain a high academic standard that makes her
products highly sought after in the labour market. Over 98%, of our academic
programmes have been accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) with
most of them at Full Accreditation Status. It is gratifying to note that the Pharmacy
programme which had always been on Interim Accreditation since its commencement 21
years ago has now earned Full Accreditation Status. The only academic programme
with denied status is the Efik/Ibibio programme, which is being repackaged for the next
accreditation visit. On the whole, the University of Uyo, with its highest number of
presented programmes (71) sailed through the accreditation exercise, and emerged as
3rd position in the country in the national accreditation exercise. All professional
programmes in the University have similarly obtained full accreditation from their
respective professional bodies.
In addition, the University presented 7 postgraduate academic programmes for the NUC
accreditation in 2014. I am happy to announce that all the 7 programmes have been
found worthy of full accreditation. Above all, University of Uyo has earned a FULL
Institutional Accreditation: this is in regard of its present facilities and academic content.
INAUGURAL AND PUBLIC LECTURES
The University of Uyo has played host to various national and international conferences.
The institution has also continued to support mind bugging inaugural and public lectures
that have attracted resource persons across the globe. Of note are Professor Maarten
Bosland from the University of Illinois, United States of America, Professor Daffyd
Gibbon from Germany and others. Our Professors in the University have presented
inaugural lectures on various matters of national and global relevance.
The present University administration has kept faith with the promise to support brilliant
but indigent students in the University. For such purpose, the Student Support Scheme
Project (known as the Hope Project), was inaugurated in October 2013. From the Work
Study component of the project, financial assistance and other packages, 41 students
have benefitted so far. We have not relented in identifying, promoting and supporting
exceptional students in the University through the introduction of the University Honours
Roll to celebrate academic excellence.
The financial assistance to children of deceased colleagues have continued to be
appreciated by both junior and senior staff members. The Staff Development Programme
is another impactful staff welfare package. It is important to mention here that one of the
outcomes of the rigorous pursuit of the University Staff Development Programme has
been that over 80% of our academic staff members are either holders of doctoral or
higher degrees and equivalent professional qualifications. Many are undergoing studies
leading to the award of PhDs in various fields within and outside the country.
The University has collaborated with other Universities and corporate organizations locally
and globally for mutual benefit. In this Convocation, a three-man team from the
Universite Omar Bongo (UOB), Libreville, Gabon led by their Vice-Chancellor, Professor
Marc-Louis Ropivia, would be in Uyo for our convocation. Our list of collaborations are
long, but, suffice it to note that from the collaboration with Nigerian Export Promotion
Council, Friesland Campina (WAMCO) Nig. PLC, West African Agricultural Productivity
Programme (WAAPP) Nigeria, the UNIUYO – Songhai Integrated Farm Project, etc major
benefits have been obtained. This convocation would feature the Ground Breaking of the
International Centre for Energy and Environmental sustainability Research (ICEESR).
Technology, Atlanta, USA, International Environmental Research Centre of the Gwanju
Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, Lancaster Environment Centre of the
Lancaster University, United Kingdom and the New England Bio Lab in Boston, USA.
During this convocation, the ground breaking ceremony of Allumni Conference Centre will
be performed. Thirdly, the Friends of the former Vice Chancellor of this University, Prof.
Akpan H. Ekpo will perform the ground breaking ceremony of the Centre for Policy and
Strategic Studies. Other features of the 21st convocation will be inauguration of some
projects, new and renovated projects.
The University of Uyo is a force to be reckoned with at the national and international
levels. We have the distinction of being ranked as the 12th in Nigeria and 55th in the
continent in the 2015 African Universities and Higher Institutions Ranking Report. Our
students and staff members have consistently harvested honours to the University.
These include the Faculty of Law Students who emerged the overall best in the 2015
Inter-University Moot Court and Mock Trial Competition hosted by University of Ibadan. A
similar competition was also sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) and hosted by the University of Uyo with 13 Universities in attendance. During the
event, the University won the overall best price and will therefore represent the country
in Harusha, Tanzania.
prestigious Gold Standard Chapter Awards for three consecutive years (2013, 2014 and
2015). For this feat, our students were invited to Houston, Texas, USA for the grand
international panels on Global Drug Policy Programme. Professor Aniedi Ette and a team
in the Faculty of Engineering have developed and patented a Cassava Peeling Machine
which is to be commercialized soon amongst several others.
In keeping with the extant laws governing the running of Universities in Nigeria, especially
as they provide for the tenure of a Vice-Chancellor in Nigerian Universities, Professor
Enefiok Essien, a Professor of Law, has been appointed as my successor with effect from
December 01, 2015. As I step out, I implore us all to give the new Vice-Chancellor all the
support he needs to move the University forward for our corporate good.
CHALLENGES & PROSPECTS:
The challenges of security, funding, encroachment on University land, undue interference
in policy implementation are challenging issues for the media to orchestrate to the
relevant state and Federal authorities for attention and redress.
The University of Uyo would continue to strive for excellence in spite of the challenges to
reclaim the “exiled brains” and past glory, given our current ranking and feats in several
I must not fail to express my sincere appreciation to the two Governing Councils I have
worked with in the course of my tenure. The Council led by His Excellency, Dr. Shem
Zagbayi Nuhu, OFR and the present one led by Professor Kimse Okoko, OFR,
deserves great commendation for their contributions to the success of my tenure and the
University. Not forgetting the Principal Officers who have worked with me, staff, students
the entire University of Uyo Community, the media, clergy, parents, friends, associates
and other stakeholders who have supported my tenure in several ways. May God bless
Finally, let me appreciate the press, especially Akwa Ibom State Branch of Nigeria Union
of Journalist. In most instances, the press has projected UNIUYO in good light before and
during my 5-year tenure. However, I should urge executive body in Akwa Ibom State to
closely watch and caution very few of their members to painstakingly verify information
given to them bearing in mind the high degree of impact they may create in the public as
the fourth realm of government.
I thank you all for honouring us at the 21st convocation ceremony.
PROFESSOR (MRS.) COMFORT EKPO