Education

Udom Inoyo: “NIGERIA WOULD GET WORSE IF…”

TheHILL | EDUCATION | OCTOBER 8

In what came as a call for all hands to be on deck, Mr. Udom Inoyo, former National President, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) has said that things would only get worse if Nigeria’s finest brains give up on the country.

Mr. Udom Inoyo stated this October 7, 2021 while addressing lecturers of the University of Uyo at the Uniuyo Senior Staff Club.

The immediate past Vice Charman, ExxonMobil Companies in Nigeria who currently is Advisor, Inoyo Toro Foundation, dissected the problems bedeviling the nation including unemployment, poverty, insecurity, decay in education and health sectors; celebrated the contributions of the academics so far, but encouraged them never to take back seats, if things must get better in Nigeria and in Akwa Ibom State.

“Any apathy on your part, any indication of withdrawal or giving up would only make things worse. Reflect on your knowledge across board, your support so far, your sacrifices, the people you have mentored and coached so far, what would happen if they realize you too have given up.

“In 2016, a UK Institute came up with a report that indicated that Nigeria is one of the poorest, unhealthiest, unhappiest, most dangerous places in the World to live in. Just last year, our National Bureau of Statistics talked about 40% of Nigerians living below the poverty line.

“Between 1999 and now, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has embarked on strikes for about 16 times, pressing for better working conditions, in the interest of Nigerian youths and the nation at large. In 2014, when I was the 19th/20th Graduation Speaker at the Uniuyo Convocation Ceremony, speaking on ‘State of Education in an Era of Moral Decadence’, what I realized about the state of education in the country, which I shared then, was painful, disappointing and humbling”.

Despite the gamut of challenges, Mr. Inoyo noted that it would pay Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State if members of the academia and other persons who have made marks in various career paths get involved in fixing the problems, offering solutions and evolve new ways to get the country on the path of enduring success.

He noted that it was the drive to fix the problems and offer enduring solutions that informed the birth of Inoyo Toro Foundation, a human capacity focused NGO that has contributed greatly towards bettering the lots of education and human capital development in Akwa Ibom State in the last fourteen years. He mentioned just a few of the contributions of the Foundation and cited the most recent in the technology space, which was ongoing.

“Few weeks ago, I was approached by some youths who were interested in promoting technological innovation in Akwa Ibom State. That gave birth to the 2021 Akwa Ibom Tech Week. I spoke at the event. We advised that anybody that had an idea that can impact any sector should pitch. 72 applied, 30 of them from this University. This is the 21st century and tech is key. There are potentials in this state and in this school that can be harnessed for betterment of society.

“Head of Innovation at Nigerian Exchange Group, an Akwa Ibom person, became aware, knew I was involved and decided there would be a boot camp and capacity training of N100 Million worth for all 72 persons who applied. This speaks to two things: One, when you have integrity, people would look in your direction and offer support. Two, if our young persons are willing to work hard, support would come”.

Mr. Inoyo recounted that at the peak of the Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria, between 2002 and 2005, he was frequenting various parts of the globe, meeting with groups like The Black Caucus, US Department of Justice, Corporate Council on Africa, etc., in an effort to position the Niger Delta for sustained investments and to particularly isolate Akwa Ibom State as a destination of peace for investors. He noted that the efforts made major investors or potential investors in the Niger Delta region to always reach out to him for help.

The former corporate leader of global reckoning said that since unemployment was a major part of Nigeria’s problem, a sure way to better the situation of Nigeria was to provide jobs and a sure way to provide jobs was to attract investments and create multiple opportunities. He mentioned the two things required to get this done as: Discipline and Investor Connection, strengths he has already been utilizing for decades to better the Akwa Ibom experience.

Responding to a question on why successive governments tend to abandon lofty ideas, projects and plans of their predecessors, with particular reference to the Akwa Ibom Development Plan initiated by the Obong Victor Attah-led government, Mr. Inoyo noted that it was best to follow through quality initiatives of preceding administrations in the common interest of the state. He commended the present administration for efforts in that direction.

“I give credit to Governor Udom Emmanuel because I know what he is doing in difficult circumstances. Beyond 2023, it would be important to make sure the airlines succeed, the port development succeed, the Companies attracted remain.

“We cannot afford to have missed opportunities like we did beginning from the 1970’s with Sunshine Battery, Biscuit Company, Ceramic Company, ALSCON, Ferry Services – Oron/Calabar. We need to get to a stage where businesses are sustained, get quality people to run the businesses and resist corruption.”

In their separate remarks, the President of the Uniuyo Senior Staff Club, Prof. Ini Jona and the Adviser to the Club who facilitated the conversation, Dr. Aniekan Brown, commended Mr. Inoyo for honoring the Club’s invitation, for sharing his thoughts with members of the academic community and for his contributions so far to the development of the state and the empowerment of her people.

There was also a session of questions and answer on various subjects, as raised in the gathering that had about 50 lecturers in attendance, due to COVID 19 restrictions.

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Other leaders of the Senior Staff Club included Mr. Tijani Musa (Vice President), Dr. Francis Oborguh (Secretary), Mrs. Mary Obot (Treasurer, Mr. Eddy Eyenighi (Sports Secretary), Dr. Kingsley Egemba (Social Secretary), Dr. Anthony Umoh (Assistant Secretary), Dr. Abayomi Okediji (Bar Secretary), Mr. Edem Jacob (Financial Secretary), Arch. Emmanuel Okon (Ex-Officio).

In attendance also were Prof. Lawrence Etim, Pro. Felicia Ekpu, Prof. Valerie Solomon, Prof. Imaobong Akpan, Prof. Charles Obot, Prof. Anthony Okonofua, Prof. Ken Opara, Dr. Edu Inam, Prof. Godwin Akpan, Prof. Joseph Obinaju, amongst others.

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