Ahead of the maiden convocation ceremony of Ritman University on Saturday, November 30, Senator Ibokessien has made known the activities and guests expected to grace the occasion.

Platinum.ng had earlier reported that that the event which will feature the award of first degrees to students as well as the conferment of honorary degrees to deserving members of the public, will take place at the University’s sports ground in Ikot Ekpene.

Ibokessien who is the proprietor of the institution also spoke extensively on the institution’s journey so far, during an interview session with Comfort FM in Uyo.

Also Read: African Church’s Bishop Arrives Uyo Central Diocese, Assumes Duty Dec. 1

The senator expressed that he nursed the dream of owning an institution from his childhood, and started its master plan in 1989.

“I conceived the idea of a school (Ritman University) when I was 6 years old…I had this initiative the first day I was enrolled into Primary school. The school I was enrolled (Akai Odu) was a Methodist school and there was a forest behind the school”, he recalled.

“I thought that the forest behind my school at Akai Odu can be a school, on that note, all through my years in school, I kept thinking about how I can come up with a school and by providence, I was able to acquire the forest”.

“I started a master plan which was made in 1989 for some industries, schools, accommodations, residential quarters. A master plan to facilitate this structure came into fruition and I started developing it with the first foundation in December, 1989, the building process started until today which we now have a world class evidence of that kind”, he explained.

Senator Ibokesssien noted that “Ritman Primary and Secondary school is now 16 years old while Ritman University is 4 years old”.

He revealed that the initial intention was to run a polytechnic, adding that “that was why we registered Ritman College of Agriculture, Science and Management Studies Limited and in 1994”.

He further explained that he gave the project’s feasility to the National Board For Technical Education (NBTE) who advised him to make it a university.

“When NBTE came for a preliminary inspection of the school, the inspectors advised that the facilities they saw on ground was beyond that of a polytechnic, that I should be looking at coming up with a university. I needed to abandon the idea of a polytechnic and start working towards a University”, he expressed.

Having put up a Projects and Implementation committee, headed by the Late Prof Uyah and coordinated by Mr. Emmanuel Jeo Akpan, a former Registrar of the University of Calabar, Sen. Ibokessien said that the University plan was actualized in 2015 and licensed on March 5, 2015.

The institution, he noted, was approved by the Federal Executive Council on February, 25 2015, while classes commenced on November, 23 2015.

“That’s why we are graduating the first set of students on 30th November, 2019”, he reasoned.

Speaking on accreditation, the school’s Proprietor mentioned that the institution was in 2019 accredited for 14 programmes and fully accredited so far.

“Currently, we have 20 fully Accredited programmes because we have received 3 new programmes to be commenced this academic year in 3 faculties of the school”.

He expressed delight at the pace of the University’s growth and likened it to a pregnant woman delivering a baby after carrying him/her in her womb for 9 months.

“You can see the excitement, not only from the mother but from the father, family and even the community”.

“Everybody is very excited with Ritman University reaching maturity state because for you to graduate students, it means you have reached a matured level in life, having received all the necessary approvals cum accreditations from National Universities Commission and other appropriate authorities like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that our students will soon join the train, that shows that you are a proud father, he expressed”.

Speaking on fees charged by the institution, Sen Ibokessien stressed that the crux of the institution is to provide affordable education to its students.

“That is why we make our fees affordable, compared to other universities who pay 2M. Our fees are only N350 which covers tuition and hostel for a full academic year. This fee can be paid installmentally”, he explained, adding that Ritman University has made provision for supporting brilliant indigenous students through scholarship.

“Currently, I have 100 students on my personal scholarship in the school”, he said.

Meanwhile, a press release made available to newsmen on Wednesday, November 27, has invited members of the public and lovers of education to the convocation ceremony by 10:00am.  

The release listed dignitaries expected to grace the occasion to include: the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and wife, Dr. Mrs. Martha Emmanuel; Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Moses Ekpo; Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister for Education, Sen. Prof. Adamu Adamu and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga.

Others expected are Senators Effiong Bob, Christopher Ekpenyong, Bassey Albert Akpan, Akon Eyakenyi (Mrs) and Anietie Okon.

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, Prof. Is-haq Olarewaju, and the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), are also expected to grace the occasion, while and an Honorary Doctorate Degree will be conferred on former Governor of Kano State, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and Chief Effiong Affikure, the Ikpoto Oro.