The Chancellor of the University, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Obong of Calabar, has turned 70. Series of events were organised to celebrate the monarch. At the church service, held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral, Calabar, Cross River State, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Calabar, Most Rev. Joseph Ekuwem, administered on the Obong, the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a Knight in the Catholic Church. According to the Archbishop, numbers have relevance in the Bible, noting that age 70 is a moment of reconciliation and peace. He spoke glowingly of the virtues of the monarch, extolling him as a man full of humility, who is divinely appointed to lead the Efik Kingdom.
The University was represented at the occasion by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa; the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako; Council members; and Principal Officers. Speaking at the grand reception for His Eminence, the Pro-Chancellor noted that the Obong had exhibited humility, dignity, love, and peaceful character to all. He added that the monarch came to FUNAAB with the spirit of affection, which has turned the University into a peaceful citadel of learning. Dr. Zhawa said FUNAAB team had come all the way to Calabar to bear witness to the humble character of the Obong and to align with other admirers in celebrating him at 70, as he wished the royal father more fruitful years in life.
The celebration featured a colourful kaleidoscope of the Efik culture, while prominent sons and daughters of the Efik descent, graced the event. They included the incumbent Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade; a former governor, Mr. Donald Duke; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; notable traditional rulers such as the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Chukwuemeka Alfred Achebe; the Amayanabo of Opobo, who doubled as chairman of the event, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja; and the Etubongs-in-Council of the Obong; among others. Responding to the encomiums showered on him, the Chancellor appreciated the Council members, Management, staff and students of the University for their support towards the success of the celebration.
Family members, friends, associates and well-wishers said to the Obong and Natural Ruler, Treaty King and Grand Patriarch of the Efik Kingdom, Happy Birthday, “Amasi Nyim, Itong Uwem Osong fi ooo”, meaning Your Majesty, may your days be long. It would be recalled that in 2015, the Federal Government appointed Edidem Ekpo Okon as the fourth Chancellor of FUNAAB alongside other 37 prominent traditional rulers as chancellors for all the nation’s federal universities.
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