Ex-President Buhari’s Aide, Uniuyo VC, Others Pay Tribute As Prof Edet Akpakpan Laid To Rest

By Olumide Olusegun

Prominent figures such as Senator Ita Enang, former Senior Special Assistant to Ex-President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, alongside former Uniuyo Vice Chancellors Professors Akpan Ekpo, Enefiok Essien, and Akaneren Essien were among the dignitaries who paid tributes and eulogies to the scholar and icon, Professor Edet Akpakpan, who was laid to rest amidst fanfare.

The distinguished professor of economics was a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administrative) and was appointed to the board of National Telescope Newspaper on March 1, 2024, and was to assume the role before his demise.

Professor Akpakpan passed away on March 24, 2024, at the age of 76 after a brief illness and was laid to rest on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Honouring his memory, scholars, politicians, and traditional rulers from across the Country convened in Uyo from June 3rd to 8th to bid farewell to the late Professor.

The commemorative events included a service of songs at the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, 73 Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo, on Friday, and a commendation service at the University of Uyo township campus. The funeral service was held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at the Presbyterian School, Ididep, Ibiono Ibom.

The dignitaries at the event paid tribute to the Late Professor, praising his remarkable humility and contributions.
Senator Ita Enang highlighted Professor Akpakpan’s intelligence and exemplary character during the Songs of Tribute.

He emphasised the need to immortalise the late professor, acknowledging his significant impact.

At the commendation service organised by the University, Vice Chancellor Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo lamented the sudden loss of Professor Edet Akpakpan, describing him as an exceptional scholar who excelled in various capacities.

He said, “We are still troubled because of whom he was to us. Professor Akpakpan as a scholar in the university excelled as a scholar in many directions.
He recalled Professor Akpakpan’s tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration (now Management Sciences), noting the positive changes he brought.

“As Deputy Vice-Chancellor of administration, Professor Akpakpan was praised for his dedication and problem-solving skills, which greatly benefited the university.

“Professor Akpakpan was a Dean. I know we used to have some challenges in the Faculty of Business Administration now Management Sciences, but his arrival and eventual role as a Dean in that faculty changed a lot of things positively.

“We had peace and stability in that faculty. As a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of administration, he was wonderful, excellently.  Let me add my personal experience with him, when he was a deputy vice-chancellor, I was privileged to serve as head of the Department of Crop Science in 2006 and 2007, when we were working hard to see how we could have full accreditation in the university and my faculty.

“We needed to meet regularly, lay out our complaints, and report on how far we had gone. For one day, he never complained. He always packaged them and sent them to appropriate quarters and those problems were solved.

“And by God’s special grace, we had full accreditation at the end of it all. He used to work from morning till evening including Saturdays and Sundays and I used to ask myself, if DVC is working this way who am I, so I used to come here on Saturdays and Sundays to ensure that if anything happened, it should not come from my department.

“Thank God He granted us success. I want to charge all of us to try and emulate Late Professor Akpakpan. With what we are seeing today, what is in life, absolutely nothing. That is why we must as Christians learn to count our days.”

Similarly, Former Vice Chancellor Professor Akaneren Essien reminisced about Professor Akpakpan’s tenure and his profound commitment to the University of Uyo.

He commended his crisis management abilities and leadership during challenging times, emphasizing his invaluable contributions to the university’s progress.

He said, “I watched Professor Akpakpan closely and I saw that he brought his wealth of experience to bear. It was during interaction that I discovered his interest and genuine commitment to the progress of the University of Uyo which must have informed his decision to vie also for the post of vice chancellor in 2005. He worked so hard and brought in his very best.

“What he would have done as vice chancellor, he brought it to bear at that time. Professor Akpakpan assumed duties as VC Admin in 2006. He handled his five-point areas of responsibilities with so much zeal, dedication, and commitment and he gave no room for doubt for any duties assigned.”

Attesting to Professor Essien’s account of the deceased, the Vice Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Uniuyo chapter, Dr Kingsley Egemba, highlighted Professor Akpakpan’s unwavering dedication and commitment to ASUU, noting how he shared his extensive experience during the union’s challenges.

Dr Egemba praised Professor Akpakpan’s tenure as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Administration, where he worked collaboratively to advance the university, citing him as a paragon of diligence and integrity, truly a worthy scholar.

“He was a dedicated and committed member of ASUU. One who avail the union his rich experience during the union struggles. We saw him here while he was the deputy vice-chancellor, of administration. We saw how he worked harmoniously with his boss to move this university forward,” he said.

On his part, Professor Ijeoma Kalu, who spoke on behalf of the University of Port Harcourt, described Professor Akpakpan as a revered figure who played a pivotal role as a teacher and mentor at the institution.

He emphasised his stature in various aspects of life and underscored his humility, which inspired many, including his former students who strive to emulate his selfless service and generosity.

Reflecting on their bond, Professor Kalu shared anecdotes of their enduring relationship, mentioning how deeply his influence had shaped his life and even naming his son after him in honour of their longstanding connection since 1986.
“He knew me when I was in year one, 1986. The day we met was when mentorship started and the family took me as their first son. When I called, I was told he was ill. The day my wife heard that he was gone, she had forced labour. I want to say that our son was named after him.”

During the commendation service, Professor Ashong Ashong, the Officiating Minister, reflected on the universal experience of life’s challenges. He remarked, “While some may have relatively smooth or even pleasurable experiences, for most, life presents a bag of troubles.

It’s a natural law that all mortals, whether remarkable or ordinary, will eventually face death. Some may be eagerly awaited, while others leave us questioning why individuals like Professor Akpakpan, whom many of us esteemed, couldn’t have lived longer.”

As the Registrar read the university’s tribute, the profound loss was palpable, mourning the departure of such talent, knowledge, and wisdom, while acknowledging the legacy he left behind.

Quoting from scripture and ancient wisdom, Professor Ashong Ashong continued, “Knowing life is fleeting, the greatest wisdom lies in being prepared for moments like these. As Caesar remarked, death, an inevitable end, arrives on its schedule—a universal appointment beyond our control.”

Similarly, Rt. Rev. Dr. Theophilus Bassey, delivering the sermon at the Funeral Service, contemplated life’s mysteries. He quoted Ecclesiastes 3:20, emphasising that all beings originate from dust and return to dust, revealing life’s naked truth through death’s lens.

He urged the congregation to prioritize righteousness and community service, reflecting on Professor Akpakpan’s exemplary humility and ethical life, contrasting these virtues with the transient nature of material wealth.

“In the face of inevitable questioning upon our departure,” he concluded, “we must remember our humble origins and strive to lead righteous lives, mindful that from dust we came, and to dust we shall return.”

Hon. Nsikanabasi Ukobot, Chairman of the Transition Committee for Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, reflected on the passing of Professor Akpakpan in his address.

He remarked, “Today, we mourn the loss of one of our finest, but we find solace in the profound contributions he made to humanity, both locally and internationally. Professor Akpakpan was not just ours; he became our ambassador, representing us admirably on the global stage.”

Similarly, Dominic Essien, Senatorial Candidate of the Labour Party for Eket Senatorial District, reminisced about his relationship with Professor Akpakpan in an interview with NATIONAL TELESCOPE.

He recounted being mentored by the professor at Uniport in 1994, noting, “I consider myself fortunate to have learned from him, even though he was a professor among professors.

“His humility, contentment, and diligence left a lasting impression on me. Despite not being from my senatorial district, I admired his community development efforts. Now, I believe he is in a better place, and I pray for his soul to rest in peace.”

Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of National Telescope Newspaper, Mr. Pacqueens Irabor, during a condolences visit to the family expressed the organisation’s deep sorrow over the loss of the erudite scholar at a critical time.

“Please accept our heartfelt condolences. We feel the pain of losing Professor Akpakpan, especially when his contributions were most needed. We had high hopes and held him in high regard, but we trust that God’s plan is greater. Stay strong, and may God continue to comfort the family.”

About Olumide Olusegun

Check Also

Kaduna Orders Probe into Alleged Brutalisation of Dan Balki Commander

By Lami Victor, KADUNA | The Kaduna State Government said it has ordered investigation into …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *