…Be Focused And Determine To Succeed No Matter The Odds – Chairman Governing Council
By Edidiong Obot
The serene environment of College of Education, Afaha Nsit, Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, was agog with parents, guardians and families to celebrate their children and wards on the 31st NCE and fourth batch degree matriculation ceremony held on Friday August 19, 2022 at the college’s sports ground. In his opening address, the provost, Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit, Dr. Daniel George Udo thanked God for the grace that has sustained the college through times and seasons while thanking the state governor and visitor to the college, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, for his visionary leadership which, according to him, has not only sustained the college but has also facilitated enormous infrastructural and academic growth in the institution.
“The peaceful environment for learning which the governor has provided is the key to the giant strides that this college can boast of today. We can proudly say that since October 2019 when the current administration in the college came on board, our students have enjoyed unprecedented, secure and stable academic environment without any disruption of learning from either staff or students unions.
“The issues that may generate incessant disruption of academic plans elsewhere are promptly and diligently addressed in this college through the students-centred administration of His Excellency. It is on that recognition that I salute the maturity in the leadership of both staff and students’ unions in the college.”
He acknowledged the selection of the cream of personalities constituting the college council by the visitor which he said has given the institution an enviable administrative and academic pride as a citadel of learning. This college could not have asked for anyone better,” he said.
Dr Udo informed that a total of 757 students matriculated spread across the different schools: School of Languages – 51, School of Vocational & Technical Education – 58, School of Science – 108, School of Arts and Social Science – 84 while School of Primary Education – 41 and Degree Programme – 419.
He pointed out that the number matriculated was less than the previous year’s intake 572. “This statistics is necessary because, as a people, we need to examine the abysmal degeneration in the nation’s educational system, moving fast in the reverse gear. The poor enrolment as experienced in this year’s event is widely attributed to the ongoing industrial dispute between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government. We sincerely hope that the Federal Government of Nigeria will see the need to urgently address the rot in the nation’s tertiary education system,” he said.
In his words, “We rely on the fatherly disposition and determination of His Excellency to address the challenges that may further deplete the enrolment statistics in the years ahead.” The provost informed that it was on good record that the governor has graciously approved the immediate construction of internal roads in the college, adding that the gesture is unprecedented and the college remains eternally grateful to the magnanimity of the state government. With the accreditation exercise fast approaching, the timing for such intervention is perfect and its delivery assured.”
He congratulated the matriculating students and seized the opportunity to express gratitude as an institution to the visitor for addressing other challenges like the proposed construction of medical centre, cafeteria and renovation of students hostels in order to bring the students back to hostels after more than a decade of their wandering in the wilderness of search for accommodation.
Udo noted, “Your choice to be trained to become a teacher is a noble choice. The prestige of a teacher can never wane despite the odds that the dwindling economy of today’s world may pose. I know also that anyone who can read or listen to me with understanding owes their eternal debt to teachers.” He explained further that the future of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria is in their hands once they arrive at the destination that they have begun today by becoming a qualified teacher.
He assured parents, guardians and students that the governing council, management and indeed the total workforce in the college are up to their tasks and are determined to make their academic venture in Afaha Nsit fruitful and worthwhile.
Udo informed that as a teacher-grooming institution, the school expects zero tolerance to all forms of indiscipline and dishonesty from the students, noting that they are expected to abide by the rules and regulations prevalent in the academic community and as entrenched in their matriculation oath. “The college operates a well organized administrative system and so due process is expected at all times. Given its pedigree as the only NCE teacher-training institution in the state today, College of Education, Afaha Nsit, will not entertain any form of sentiments, ethnic bigotry or political gimmicks that seek to derail the focus of the current administration in this college. We shall insist on getting it right, and the time is now! However, we solicit understanding, particularly from groups or individuals whose age-long tradition of anything-goes may be injured in the course of our ongoing corrective measures.”
The provost appreciated the commissioner for education, MrsIdongesit Etiebet; the chief supervisor on the degree programmes and vice chancellor, University of Uyo, ProfessorNyaudo Ndaeyo, the governing council, management team, deans, directors and heads of departments/units, as well as other dignitaries and guests to the occasion.
He further appreciated leaders and youths of the host community for their peaceful and cordial relationship, which they have maintained over time. “We will continue to dialogue in warm atmosphere of understanding as we seek solutions to all issues of concern brought to our knowledge. We therefore implore you as landlords to work in close synergy with the authorities of the college and government to permanently stamp out cultism and other social vices threatening our developmental efforts as a community.” He urged the community to be alive to that duty because the great tomorrow in the dreams is only realizable in responsiveness to the well-being of the students today.
Also speaking, the chairman of the governing council, Mr Dan-Abia (Jnr) Esq, appreciated God for making the day a reality. He acknowledged that the college has attained an enviable landmark, noting same to be an extra notch up. “The college over the years has painted a name for itself and within our space as the governing council have sustained same because of the superlative qualities of the distinguished council and the fantastic support from the management led by the provost and the esteemed population that seem to clearly understand the dynamics and nuances of education and also the academic and spiritual needs of the students,” he said.
Dan-Abia urged the matriculants to be focused and determinedto succeed no matter the odds. In his reference to the scriptures according to Proverbs 23:7, he informed the students that they have a duty to be diligent, committed and persistent in their academic endeavours. “The difference between you and other students is that while they are striving to earn a living, you are learning to impact generations. Your learning is more of impartation because you are expected in the future to impact the world.
“You are blessed to be a blessing and taught to be a teacher. Charisma may help you climb but character will sustain your climbing, you must love discipline, correction and be willing to learn and be taught,” he admonished.
He charged the students to be law-abiding and adhere to college regulations which they swear to uphold. “Ensure you use all available channels of communication to relate your grievances when necessary. The council runs an open door policy that ensures fairness in addressing issues brought before it. So be rest assured that we will take all necessary steps to provide a conducive learning environment. However, the council has zero tolerance for indiscipline and all forms of anti- social behaviours. We advise you to adopt acceptable conducts as you go through the college as students. Congratulations!” he maintained.
On his part, the vice chancellor of University of Uyo, Professor Nyaudo Ndaeyo, appreciated God for the success of the day. He further commended parents and guardians of the matriculating students who worked hard and encouraged their children and wards to be in the college so as to be trained. He enjoined parents/guardians not to abandon the students since they have brought them this far but to see them through because tomorrow will be brighter when they graduate.
The vice chancellor acknowledged and commended the provost and management of the college as well as the council for providing a serene environment suitable for studies, noting that truly, they have secured a stable academic environment for the college.
He admonished the matriculating students that their parents have done 99 per cent to make them great while the remaining one per cent lies in their hands to complete and have 100 percent. “You have to work hard so you do not put them to shame. You must not be involved in examination misconduct, if you are found culpable, you know the implications. You must not belong to any cult group. When you graduate, your parents’ stories will change for good. Thank God you have opted to be a teacher, a no less profession, you must be God-fearing, focused, do not take your eyes off the track, do not be derailed by anyone but get to the end and at the end of the tunnel, there will be light,” he said.
Commending the management of the college and the governing council, the commissioner for education represented by Dr Glory Ekpo, a member of the college governing council appreciated the sacrifice of the management. She said, “it is one thing to gain admission into the higher education and another to complete. It will be more glorious during your convocation when you will all gather to celebrate. The ball is in your court, you are now in the institution of higher learning and do not expect teachers to run after you with cain.”
Ekpo, who described the institution as a model where people want to be trained as teachers, informed that teaching is a noble profession which is what they have decided to join. “You must be a model in all ramifications, including your dressing on campus. Your dressing should be quite different from other institutions because you are coming out to mould characters and make destinies. While education system is depending on you, the output of college of education is what they have in schools.
She furthered that the state government has put everything in place including the accommodations, hence they have no excuse not to excel. “It is left for you to also play your part and when you do, you will be successful. To be successful is a choice, so choose it. Your parents have sacrificed for you to be here and I believe you will not let them down. Our governor celebrates and recognizes excellence, if you determine to be the best graduating student in your set, you will be happy that you did.
She appreciated the management team and the governing council for the good work they have done in the school, noting same as worthy commendation while charging the matriculating students to be serious with their studies and be outstanding.
In an interview with Dr. Godwin Akpan, the Akwa Ibom State focal person, National Social Investment Programme, and governing council member, COE Afaha Nsit, he said the reduction in the number of students is as a result of students waiting for school to resume if they will have admission while some may look at teacher education as a substitute. He enjoined that the school should educate students more on teacher training institutions, adding that if they have an understanding that teacher education is a foundation in which every society can grow, the better for all.
“I have discussed with the management the opportunity of enlisting Akwa Ibom State College of Education as one of our training centres and with the infrastructure promised by the governor, because we cannot send our trainees here without accommodation and security but with the security architecture I have seen on ground today, it is superb and there is hope that we look forward to working in very close relationship with the college in making them one of our training centres for the N-power training programme while congratulating the matriculating students.
On the school feeding programme, he informed that government has been magnanimous enough to play their part. “By September we are going to have N100 per child” and appealed to the cooks that when they get the money, they should be sincere. “We have put in place a robust monitoring evaluation team as it will not be business as usual when we resume September this year.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to capture all the schools in the feeding programme. “We have 1,065 primary schools in the state but only 600 schools are captured, a far-cry from what we have, hence some schools are feeding while some are not. The challenge I have is that corruption is now fighting me since we question the cooks for not doing the right thing,they now form themselves to fight the focal person to bring the programme down. As we resume, we will do a perfect job this time around,” he stated.