By Chris Ochayi
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has stated that he desires to be judged by the legacy he would leave behind and not by what critics say.
The Minister stated this during the courtesy visit of the Alumni of the University of Calabar led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Florence Banku Obi, in Abuja.
While receiving the ‘Distinguished UNICAL Ambassador Award’ conferred on him by the Vice Chancellor of Unical, Akpabio stated that the award is an indication of his unceasing commitment towards infrastructural development and commitment to the growth of humanity.
According to him, “this award is not ordinary but one that recognizes my antecedents inspite of all manner of political misinterpretations and blackmails”.
While expressing his gratitude to the Unical Alumni, the Minister dedicated the award to all politicians, who pass through ‘smear campaigns of politics’ like him and still remain focused.
Senator Akpabio further stated that the Ministry would collaborate with UNICAL and relevant stakeholders to end the menace of insecurity especially in the waterways and restore the decayed infrastructure in the institution.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Babayo Ardo, in his welcome address noted that the Minister who graduated from UNICAL in 1986 has been a great achiever and the Ministry is privileged to have him at the helm of affairs.
Babayo said the “Ministry is undergoing a silent revolution and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is being repositioned to achieve greater heights. Adding that the Ministry has recently commissioned the NDDC Headquarters in Rivers and over 30 completed projects are awaiting commissioning.
The Vice Chancellor, UNICAL, Prof. Florence Banku Obi, stated that the conferment of Distinguished Alumni Ambassador Award of the Institution to Sen. Akpabio was based on his outstanding achievement and contribution to the university and humanity.
In his address, the Director, ALUMNI Affairs, University of Calabar, Professor Ernest Bassey Asikong, stated Sen. Akpabio’s appointment as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari was “a clear recognition of his trajectories of good leadership potentials, administrative competencies, political ingenuity, doggedness and uncommon transformer amongst other qualities”.
Asikong, represented by Barrister Paul Eshiemomoh, asserted that Niger Delta region would experience sustainability development considering Sen. Akpabio’s wealth of experience as a former two term Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and several other leadership positions the Minister had occupied in life.
The Director, Alumni Affairs, UNICAL stated that the Minister’s open door policies, transparent leadership, and humble disposition have endeared him to all, hence the need to recognize him as a Distinguished Alumnus of University of Calabar. Going down memory lane, he noted that Sen. Akpabio was a distinguished parliamentarian (Speaker of the Parliament) and Student activist of the Student Union Government (SUG).
Prof. Asikong noted the Minister’s contributions to the school as an Alumnus, which include aiding the completion of the Engineering block of the University and other intervention projects- the construction of hostel block by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He however, stated that like ‘Oliver Twist’ the institution calls on the Minister to use his good office to assist the University at the Qua River Water front with speed boats for regular patrol to curb the menace of kidnapping in the institution. Other areas include completion of the collapse Alumni building and provision of a utility vehicle for the Directorate of Alumni Affairs which has been a major challenge amongst others.