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UNIUYO’s 74th Inaugural Lecture: Prof. Comfort Etok Speaks On Microorganisms: Invisible Emperors of Visible Empires

By Edidiong Albert


Knowledge has been man’s greatest weapon for development. Our society is what it is today as a result of the inputs of men and women of distinction drawn from all fields of endeavour.
Outside empirical means, knowledge equally comes as a gift; an endowment beyond explanation. An American scientist, Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878), who served as the secretary for the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, a precursor of the Smithsonian Institution aptly stated that “The general mental qualification necessary for scientific advancement is that which is usually denominated “common sense,” though added to this, imagination, induction, and trained logic, either of common language or of mathematics, are important adjuncts.”
The flow of knowledge is congruent to everyday life. It improves and add value to all facets of human existence. Institutions, largely universities, as citadels of knowledge places high premium on the generation of ideas germane for advancement and general development. Through the convocation of lectures, universities have facilitated the amplification of the rich content of its resource persons, using this means to place on the knowledge table, fruitful thoughts, concepts, researches and discoveries.
The University of Uyo (UNIUYU), which is a federal university, stands tall in this regard. It hosts very regularly, inaugural lectures designed for eggheads in the institution. Apart from being an occasion of significance in an academic staff member’s career at the University, inaugural lectures provide professors the opportunity “to inform colleagues, the campus community and the general public of their work to date, including current research and future plans.”
In this wise, the University of Uyo is convoking its 74th Inaugural Lecture on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at the 1000 Seat capacity’s TETFUND Auditorium, Main campus, along Nwaniba Road, Uyo by 1pm. The lecturer for the 74th Inaugural Lecture is a cerebral scholar, Professor Comfort Aloysius Etok.
In an invitation issued on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Enefiok E. Essien, SAN, the University’s Registrar and Secretary to Senate, Mr. Aniediabasi D. Udofia, said Prof Etok, who is a professor of industrial microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Uyo, will speak on the topic: Microorganisms: Invisible Emperors of Visible Empires.
The paper will “highlight the activities of microorganisms seen in this context as emperors that have exhibited expertise within their different empires by the survival strategies that make them inhabit environments that are alien or harsh to other organisms.”
It will also dovetail into “the most important work tools they use to concretize their activities which are enzymes that find applications in many industries, environment clean-up and other aspects of biotechnology.
“Although some of them are responsible for diseases of plants, animals and man, and are sometimes misused for bio- terrorism, a vast majority could be harnessed for the production of foods, drugs, biofuels, other industrial products and in climate change mitigation.”
The lecturer, therefore advocates “a man – microbe partnership for sustainable economic development.”
The university don started her education at Presbyterian Primary School, Ibiaku Ibiono, proceeded to Immaculate Conception Secondary School, Itak Ikono and then the University of Calabar.
She bagged her Bachelors degree in 1983, Masters degree in 1989 and Ph. D in 2002. She has, to her credit, more than 50 publications in reputable national and international Journals and several awards.
Prof. Etok is the chairperson of the Akwa Ibom chapter of the Nigerian Environmental Society, National Financial Secretary, Nigerian Society for Microbiology and also the Chairman of the Board for Gender Studies, University of Uyo.

She is a Justice of Peace – conferred by the United Nations. She is also the national coordinator of an NGO “Comforters and Safety Home Initiative” and uses this platform to give succour to indigent students, widows and other less privileged in the society.
She is happily married to Senator Aloysius Etok and they are blessed with children.
She shares the thoughts of the former American President, John F. Kennedy that, “The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.”

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