Poverty almost denied me secondary education – Akpabio

The Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, has narrated how as a boy it was difficult for him to get into secondary school because his mother, a widow, was not able to sponsor his education. “My dear late widow mother, may her gentle soul rest in perfect peace, had told me that it would be difficult for me to enter secondary school on completion of primary school because her hands were full with my siblings,” Akpabio said in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, during his investiture as the pioneer chancellor of Ritman University.

“But because of my love for education, I used to sneak into a nearby secondary school to mingle with the students and acquire education. One day, the security man spotted me and chased me and I ran for my life. I fell down and injured my leg with a deep cut. “The scar is still there,” he said, in an emotional tone. The senator said the school which he had the encounter wasn’t far away from the university where he was standing to be honoured as its chancellor. He continued: “It was then, as I lay on the ground and bled and cried, that I vowed that if I had the opportunity, I would chase our children to schools instead of chasing them away from schools.

“God allowed that scar to remain there as a constant reminder of this vow. Chase them with the same ferocity the security man chased me. “That scar has become a trophy for our children, for when God brought forth the opportunity, I, as the governor of this blessed state instituted the free and compulsory education of all children living in Akwa Ibom state. “Run to school do not run from school!” the senator said. Ritman University was among the nine private universities in Nigeria that was granted operating license in 2015 by the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

It is owned by a former senator from Akwa Ibom state, Emmanuel Essien. Akpabio said he knows what is expected of him as the chancellor of the young university and that he sees the university becoming the “Harvard of our nation.”

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