By Emmanuel Ufot
In the midst of the growing cases of the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, engulfing Nigeria and other parts of the world and the quest for a suitable vaccine and drug to cure the strange disease, the University of Uyo Alumni Association now led by Onofiok Luke, a Lawyer, former Speaker of Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly and now a member of the House of Representatives, who incidentally is its International President recently cue into the fight against the disease with a donation of N5 million to the state Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, to support research works towards finding a cure for the novel Coronavirus.
The Lawmaker, who made the donation on behalf of the Uni Uyo Alumni, noted that universities around the world were working tirelessly as well as sharing information to bring an end to the pandemic and
He said that Universities around the world were working tirelessly as well as sharing information to bring an end to the pandemic, as such there was an urgent need for the tertiary institutions to do same. He predicted a post Covid-19 era when countries of the world would become very nationalistic in approache. The UniUyo Alumni International President challenged the governments at the federal and state levels, corporate organizations, institutions and the political class to key into funding researches towards getting a lasting solution to the global pandemic now ravaging Nigeria.
He expressed optimism that in the ways and manners of God, the ideal cure of this global pandemic could be found in Akwa Ibom and harnessed in the laboratories of UniUyo Faculty of Pharmacy, hence the decision of the Alumni body to support the school to attain that elusive feat.
“This particular strain of the virus was unknown to man but now it is here. Our researchers and research institutions need to rise to the occasion in challenging this pandemic that threatens our collective existence. Let us not think that the cure to the coronavirus will come or can only come from the North American country of the United States, US, China or Europe, it may be right here with us in Akwa Ibom and it is in your hands to bring it forth, he said.
He further charged them to put in their best and ensure appropriate use of the funds while reassuring them of the support of the entire alumni. The Alumni President however donated an initial N2 million with a promise of the balance of N3million to be donated later The Dean of Pharmacy,d Emmanuel Etim, a Pharmacist, who received the donation on behalf of the Pharmacy Department appreciated the Alumni for the very thoughtful initiative. He was full of praise for the Luke-led Alumni for its show of solidarity while acknowledging that the desire for scientific work was always there but was hampered by the paucity of funds, pledging that the funds will be used judiciously.
Similarly the chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Akwaowoh Akpabio, one other beneficiaries of the Funds appreciated the gesture and prayed God’s wisdom on the leadership of the Alumni.
The event, which took place at the Dean’s Conference Room, Faculty of Pharmacy, UniUyo, had in attendance the deputy president of the Alumni, Godwin Akpan, Alumni secretary and deputy Dean of Students Affairs, Dr Essien Akpanuko and other members of the Alumni Executive.
Onofiok Luke, representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency in the National Assembly was elected and sworn in as the National President of the University of Uyo Alumni Association worldwide after the general election of the body held at the Main Campus of the University in January this year.
He had after his election promised to reposition the Association for the greater good of all, stressing that his tenure will pursue four cardinal goals.
“We are going to pursue reconciliation. Genuine reconciliation so that we have all hands on deck on this new administration so that we can give back to this Institution that has given greatly to us, that has given us the certificate which we have used as foundation to pursue our lives endeavours,”
“We are going to work towards the expansion of chapters. We are already talking to our friends within the country, across the states of the Federation. We are going to use our network of all of us that are going to be members of this executive and all of us seated in this hall today to make sure we have chapters in America, South America, North America, Europe, Asia and Middle East. We are going to work on the expansion of those chapters. We have person who are ready and willing to contribute to the growth of this organisation.” Luke added. He had also promised better days for the students of the institution both former and existing and disclosed that the Association already has a portal of a data base of all persons who have graduated from this institution right from the days of UNICROSS in 1983 to the days of University of Uyo from 1991. We are going make sure that we have robust communication machinery”.
He had last February during the inaugural meeting held by his executive reiterated his lofty dreams for the association Which include completion of unfinished projects of the former leadership some of them being the Bookshop, Press Centre, Conference and Event centre.
Luke, a graduate of Law from the University of Uyo, had served the institution as President of the Student Union Government and was also Speaker Nigerian Youth Parliament before his election into the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for two terms whereby he was elected Speaker.
Many students and ex-students of institution that have been following the political and leadership strides of the House of Representative member, believes he will take the Alumni to a greater heights before the expiration of his tenure in four years time ,2024.