Mr Udom Inoyo, Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudo Ndaeyo, Chancellor of the University, HRH Alhaji Adamu Maje, Mr Vincent Enyeama with wife, posing for photo after conferment of Doctorate Degree (Honorari Causa) on Inoyo and Enyeama.

By: Emem Nkereuwem

The recent 26th, 27th and 28th Convocation Ceremonies with the Grand Finale of the Conferment of Doctorate Degrees and Honoris Causa (Doctorate) to Udom Inoyo, Vincent Enyeama and Sen. Daisy Danjuma from the University of Uyo was the highpoint of the three (3) day event. The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Pastor Umo Eno graced the occasion.

The summation on the citation of the trio would give an insight into the trio’s deserving Honorary Doctorate from the University.

Mr. Udom Inoyo: A graduate of political Science and Law from the University of Calabar. Former Executive Director cum First Akwa Ibom born, Vice Chairman ExxonMobil Companies in Nigeria. An Advisor, Inoyo Toro Foundation. A philanthropist, who amongst his varied support to the development of Akwa Ibom State, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, facilitated the donation of a PCR Machine worth one hundred thousand Dollars ($100,000) to the State. By this donation, the State was the only State in Nigeria with two PCR Machines. Inoyo Toro Foundation’s consistent support for the eradication of poverty, through various schemes is invaluable, with the current investment in human capacity development totalling about six hundred and fifty million (N650, 000, 000.00) naira only in the last sixteen (16) Years.

Vincent Enyeama: An iconic footballer global note, all-time Africa’s best goalkeeper, bridge builder, creative and resourceful entrepreneur and an illustrious son whose name knitted Akwa Ibom State on the global map.

Sen. Daisy Danjuma: A successful corporate lawyer, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, philanthropist and a women’s rights activist.

But then i pondered on why the University of Uyo would confer such revered recognitions on the recipients when it could have used them to massage the already bloated egos of some selfish money bags? According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, the trio were duly recognised as patriots for their contribution to humanity.

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Whilst the contributions of the three patriots are already in the public space, I will take the liberty to expand the discourse on Udom Inoyo’s short yet soul searching acceptance speech entitled “Did You Look In The Mirror Today” as a paradoxical appraisal of citizenry and, leadership in all strata of our country. The humbling and mind boggling reflection on the polarising politicisation of core values and its attendant impact on nation building should inspire a discerning conversation on leadership beyond the transitory eulogia of concocted illusion. Those illusory ‘abracadabras’ and, empty rhetoric that have left many pondering what the view in the mirror of Nigeria’s 63 years as a nation and Akwa Ibom State’s existence in 36 years have offered her citizens?

Here is a peep into some salient and worrisome ponderings. When we look in the mirror of our communities, our despondent youth population, the rising poverty index, the collapse of the entire spectrum of our education both the output and infrastructure, what do we see?

When we look in the mirror of the debt profile of our country including the states, what reflection stares back? Need I mention the collapsing health infrastructure, the capital flight of our reserves through medical tourism by the political elites? The list of social dissonance and angsts are as varied as the multi-layered waste of our common wealth. It is as varied as the suffocating waste of dwindling public funds on “padded cosmetic projects” climaxed with some tasteless dramatic launchings.

But something else struck me. Institutions such as the Universities ought to set high standards that should insulate them from overtly or covertly political influences. Here is why.

Soon after the Governor, Pst. Umo Eno finished his speech and sought permission to leave to attend to other engagements, he did so with the legion of entourage in tow. No qualms about that as this has unwittingly become the standard in our clime. But the commotion that ensued should give us some food for thoughts. On the flip side, His Excellency’s protocol team could have appraised the flow of the event and advised accordingly. This approach could have saved the day and the disruption that ensued after.

Then gbooom! Like a swarm of bees, over 90% of the graduates who had already been conferred with their degrees, left the hall. Just like that! The Vice Chancellor, the lecturers and perhaps the visitors to the University were stunned. They were embarrassed.

To wit, the Vice Chancellor of any University can be equated to the President of that Institution who in real terms should be accorded the respect due to the office in such a grand occasion. This struck a chord. What ‘view from the Mirror did this act bespeak?’ Whilst our Universities have raised great men and women, perhaps, it is about time to institutionalise certain core social ethos to regenerate and inspire patriotism.

Udom Inoyo’s sobering call for a sober reflection is an urgent and patriotic call to all. As our country and our dear State journeys through the labyrinth of serving her people, should it not suffice that leaders particularly those whose actions impact directly on the country through governance step back and ponder on the reflection of our country and its communities?

Oh yes, they may wish not to look in the mirror nor the reflection therefrom. They may choose to deify power above patriotism and decency. But truly it is time to ponder. These are dire and troubling times. Perhaps the timeless preposition by Socrates could inspire some sort of re-awakening, “the laws and governments of the best cities should be concerned with the moral and intellectual development of its citizens.” How apt!

This is exactly what Udom Inoyo, the Advisor of Inoyo Toro Foundation has done for more than a decade and six years. In these past 16 years, the Foundation has invested about Six Hundred and Fifty Million (N650,000.000) Naira to inspire, support and eradicate poverty through education in Akwa Ibom State. And the passion transcends beyond the moment.

Therefore the trio of Udom Inoyo, Vincent Enyeama and Sen. Daisy Danjuma earned their awards through the University’s view through the mirror of their services to Nigeria. These are well earned accolades from service above self. This is patriotism. This is what Socrates proposed.

But this is what was at the verge of being devalued with our rising propensity for the mundane that tended to ignore morality, intellectualism and public decency. It is the relegation of these values that encouraged that gravitation that almost marred the solemn event. Did You Look In Mirror Today? Ponder!



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