Abbey, Okoh, Ekine Bow Out At 9th Valedictory Senate Session By Obinna Nwodim

An emotional atmosphere totally enveloped the hallowed Senate Chambers on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 as three Professors were formally pulled out of the services of the University at the 9th Valedictory Senate session in their honour.

Those honoured were the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research and Development, Professor Bene Willie Abbey of the Department of Biochemistry, former Head of the Department of English Studies, Professor Nkem Okoh, as well as former Dean of the defunct Faculty of Physical Sciences, Professor Anthony Ekine of the Department of Physics.

In his tribute, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, praised the contributions of the retiring scholars to the development of the University, adding that they paid their dues through the quality services they rendered in different capacities.

“I stand before this august assembly of distinguished scholars and guests to proclaim that our three colleagues who are formally bowing out of the academy today have paid their dues and earned themselves enduring places in the academic hall of fame. If they did not achieve all that they set out to do in the three core mandates of teaching, research and public service, the blame should go to the suffocating environment in which they operated,” the Vice-Chancellor declared. He stated that nobody would dispute the fact that Professors Bene Willie Abbey, Nkem Okoh and Anthony Ekine have most creditably discharged the onerous responsibilities that fate and human agency thrust on their broad shoulders. The Vice-Chancellor wished them well as they open the next chapters in their lives in whichever capacity they wish to function on retirement.

Also speaking, one-time Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, Emeritus Professor Emmanuel Anosike, lauded the contributions of the Valedictorians, adding that they made significant contributions in their various specialisations to make the University what it is today. He wished them a well-deserved rest in retirement.

In her response on behalf of the others, Professor Willie Abbey attributed their successful career and retirement in good health to the grace of God and support from colleagues. “The University of Port Harcourt afforded us a platform to engage in research and make impact on society. We enjoyed our stay in the University and I wish to advise our colleagues who are still in service to always abide by the ethics and code of conduct governing the academia in order not to ruin their reputation. This University should never be associated with practices that may compromise the integrity of staff,” she warned.

Earlier, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Femi Shaka and his counterpart in the Faculty of Science, Professor Gordian Obute, took turns to read citations on the three retiring Professors, who were decorated with the University Mufflers and presented with Plaques. The event was attended by family members, friends and well-wishers, including  performances by the Department of Music.

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