Society Watch

Uyo Old Boys Debuts, Gets Executive Committee

By Edidiong Albert


The ovation was thunderous. It was in deed a worthwhile reunion as friends, school mates and acquaintances of many years standing gathered from far and near, under a renaissance group, the Uyo Old Boys.

The historic event, held at the Legacy Hall of the Samlaw Hotels, off IBB Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Sunday, December 29, 2019 attracted about 100 people, who grew up, schooled or lived in Uyo in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The fun memories of the nascent Uyo, the evolutionary growth the town has witnessed since assuming the status of a state capital, following the creation of Akwa Ibom State in 1987, and the lofty attainments of the once ‘young boys’ encouraged the birth of the group towards contributing to the development and well-being of the city and state.

To give shape to the lofty ideals of Uyo Old Boys at the maiden gathering under the chairmanship of Mr. Augustine Utuk, who was ably represented by Pastor (Hon.) David Okpon, a one-time Governorship Candidate in Akwa Ibom State, an executive committee was constituted.

The officers appointed to pilot the affairs of Uyo Old Boys for the next two years are Mr. Eugene Ekanem President; Hon. Ofonmbuk Ukim, Vice President; Elder Ubong Inwang, Secretary; Mr. Udim Philips, Assistant Secretary; Mr. Emmanuel Inyang, financial Secretary; Mr. Ifiok Umanah, Treasurer; Elder Patrick Albert, Director, Media and Publicity; Mr. Udeme Obot, Organizing Secretary; Mr. Goddy Eton, Welfare Officer 1; and Mr. Ime Akpan, Welfare Officer 2.




Others are Mr. Aniedi Iwok, Director of Protocol; Mr. Aniebiet Offiong, Auditor, Elder Anietie Ekpo, Director of Mobilization; Barr. Dominic Okon, Legal Adviser; Mr. Ibanga Ekanem, Director of Logistics and Mr. Uko Udofia, Coordinator, Diaspora.

The inauguration of the body, interim steering committee as well as members of Uyo Old Boys by Pastor Okpon who was assisted by Barr. Okon, was greeted with pomp and celebration.

The chairman on the occasion, Pastor Okpon commended those who envisioned the formation of the forum, describing the Uyo Old Boys as a community of friends and brothers.

He remarked that it was a very good vision that must be supported by all who are involved, both at home and in diaspora.

According to him, Uyo is a melting point for all people, indigenes and non-indigenes and called on members not to allow political interests or affiliations to thwart the growth or progress of group or divide its ranks.

“Let us keep political interests or affiliation out of this group so that it will not be affected negatively in any form,” he said.

With the guiding principles, “That we may come together in love with our collective strength make impact in our city” the group has the slogan, Uyo Old Boys with the response being Friends forever!

In his keynote address, Obong Victor Okon, an entrepreneur, politician and industrialist, said that the inaugural meeting has provided a veritable platform for Uyo Old Boys to meet as old friends and acquaintances who perhaps were separated for over 30 years.

“We are a generation that will shortly extinct in the next 50 or so years and so beyond the very idea of meeting as old friends, it will be of rational necessity to also deeply reflect on the prestige, status, seeming obsessive, fear of decadence that has caused us to gather today and the need to recover our rank or grandeur if it would be possible considering our efforts of sustained thinking and resolution now and in the days ahead.

“Please permit me here to restate our rich collective history while also reminding our good selves of the risk of despair and eclipse that could follow those who are not educated in their natural history.

“Our dear and rare habitat; Uyo was created as a Province in 1959 by the colonial masters with the aim of splitting the Ibibio tribe into smaller administrative units for effective governance.

“Under the defunct South Eastern State cum erstwhile Cross River State (until 1987), Uyo was a division or Local Government Headquarters. Presently, it is the Capital of Akwa Ibom State (from 1987 till date).

“Deducing from the Synopsis above, it is a truism that Uyo is Central to pan Ibibio republicanism; she is also the administrative and economic capital of Akwa Ibom State; and also the headquarters of Uyo Local Government.

“This classification shows that Uyo is clearly overburdened by history and bruised by the endless movements of serving three (3) weighty political interests.

“It is therefore to be regretted that certain problems have been thrown up as it were: 1ssues of adaptation caused by the emergence of a new social order occasioned by the creation of a new State and for Uyo playing host to numerous socio-political entities at the same time.

“Issues of dispossession of Revenue (Keke) amongst others that now accrue to the state Government instead of a joint venture arrangement. Issues of loss of unique identity. From the foregoing, I might begin to imagine that perhaps Uyo Old Boys is agitated by the seeming receding mystique of Uyo and so conversely I want you to consider all of these remarks and the following questions in your calculations and conclusions.”

He asked, “Is Uyo at the cross roads of an expanding Akwa Ibom Civilization? Is Uyo a Conquered Host?
The keynote speaker observed that “Many of us may be well endowed financially, spiritually, morally, politically etc. The question is: can we use the forum of Uyo Old Boys as a vehicle to assisting fellow members?”

“Eventually, our dream should be to transform the Uyo Old Boys to a Mutual Improvement Society or a foundation for purposes of mentoring and investing in the education and well-being of the future and succeeding generations, specifically what are your views on this proposition?

“Finally, Mr. Chairman Sir, I want to again thank you and all the members for being participants and not spectators in the first ever conscious movement to reinvent Uyo, and to restore it as it once was a spirit, a place and a future,” he said.

In his acceptance speech, the President of Uyo Old Boys, Mr. Eugene Ekanem, on behalf of the executive Committee, thanked members for the confidence reposed in them and assured that they will work assiduously to justify the collective dreams and aspiration of all.

Ekanem, a business tycoon of the Extracon Nigeria Limited, said he and some like minds were motivated to bring about the formation of the group not only to reconnect with their friends and acquaintances but to use it as a platform to drive the development of Uyo and the State.

He said the inauguration is a dream come true for him and others and called on all members to give him and the executive members their total support.

Goodwill messages were delivered by prominent Uyo Old Boys living in Nigeria and in diaspora who pledged to make Uyo Old Boys a voice to be heard and seen politically, economically and socially.

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