Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo At 70
Prof Akpan Hogan Ekpo

Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo At 70

1 month ago
4 mins read

Eminent economist and university administrator, Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo, is formally retiring from the University of Uyo on June 26 when he turns 70; and to mark it, he will launch his autobiography and give a valedictory lecture. In April, he gave a thought-provoking lecture on the ‘The Collapse of the Naira’, and the monetary authorities took in a few lessons. His friends, students and colleagues across the country are also planning series of activities to celebrate this accomplished academic and Pan-Africanist whose generosity, good nature and intellectual prowess are legendary. On behalf of my friends and family, I send warm greetings and best wishes to Prof Ekpo, my dear friend, brother and mentor, on this very auspicious moment. May God continue to bless him and his family with good health, long life and happiness as he enters another phase of his beautiful life.

A son of a police officer, Ekpo was born and raised in Lagos where he completed primary and secondary education. He then proceeded to the United States and attended Howard University, Washington, D.C., from 1973 to 1976. In 1975, he won the American Economic Association Fellowship to study briefly at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, with the condition to return to Howard University. He was in the Dean’s list throughout his undergraduate studies and won various scholarships during his post-graduate programme. Ekpo holds a Ph.D in Business Administration and another Ph.D in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is married to Rev (Mrs) Njeri Mbaka Ekpo, originally from Kenya, and they are blessed with children and grandchildren.

Ekpo returned to Nigeria in 1983 and joined the University of Calabar as a lecturer in the Department of Economics, beginning what has turned out to be one of the most consequential careers in academics. I met him in early 1987. I had just returned from my NYSC assignment in the northern part of the country and was frantically looking for a job. He was then a senior lecturer. Young, handsome and erudite, he was one of the most likable lecturers on campus, as I came to know.  My elder brother, Lawrence, then a postgraduate student at the university (now a professor), was already collaborating with him in some academic works. He told me about Ekpo and suggested that I should go and see him since he had a lot of contacts with some senior government officials in Calabar then. I had never known him before, but desperate for help, I was ready to do anything.

I went to see Ekpo in his office. It was crowded with students seeking his attention, but he received me with warmth and thoughtfulness, and without any hesitation; he facilitated my first post-NYSC employment – in the civil service of the newly created Akwa Ibom State. I worked for only three months before I moved to Lagos. His gesture etched a permanent impression on my young mind, teaching me to be sensitive, kind and compassionate to people in need. Since then, I have taken to him like an elder brother from another mother.

When Prof. Ekpo was appointed Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo in 2,000, I was a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian newspaper. I wrote a piece in my column titled “The challenge of a new Vice Chancellor’’, celebrating the promotion and setting an agenda for him. In 2021, he wrote the foreword in my best-selling book, ‘’Inside Story of the Struggle for the Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy’’, published that year. I’m hoping to host him to a big celebration when he turns 80.

A Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Ekpo has participated in Nigeria’s public policy space for over 25 years. He was once Chairman, Ministerial Advisory Committee, Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja from 1994 to 1998; a Non-Executive Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Member of its Monetary Policy Committee from 2005 to 2009. He was Technical Advisor to the Vision 2010; member of the Steering Committee to Vision 20:2020; member of the Economic and Recovery Growth Committee; member of the Federal Government Minimum Wage Committee and has participated at various federal and state governments policy-making committees in the country. He has also been a member of several Economic Management teams of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Prof. Ekpo was Editor of the prestigious Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies for eight years and President of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) and a fellow of the Society. In 2008, he was appointed Director General and Head of Mission of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM). He served for 10 years. WAIFEM is a professional and management development institute owned by English-speaking Central Banks of West Africa. He was commended by the Board for repositioning the Institute, especially in the areas of fund raising, research and introducing French language as a course.

READ ALSO: We Need A New Generation Of Pan Africanists – Uyo Varsity VC 

As VC of UniUyo between 2000 and 2005, he was applauded by the NUC for re-positioning the University. He went on to serve as the pioneer Vice-chancellor of the Akwa Ibom State University of Technology (now Akwa Ibom State University) from 2005 to 2007, but had to resign his appointment because his principles of merit, transparency and accountability were being threatened. He returned to the Department of Economics, University of Uyo in 2007. He told me: “Of all the positions I have held, being VC of University of Uyo gave me the opportunity to make the greatest impact. My team and I sanitized the university system. I restored the quality and integrity of the system by stopping ‘sorting’ and harassment of female students. I reduced cultism to the barest minimum. I was the first to introduce post-UTME examination in the country. I stopped certificate racketeering and burst the syndicate that was forging and printing our diplomas and selling them. I started the medical school and changed the medical center to University of Uyo Teaching Hospital. Overall, the discipline I brought to the system gladdened my heart.’’

He has been a visiting scholar to the World Bank and the IMF at various times and a recipient of the Federal Government of Nigeria Merit Award on Productivity. Ekpo has also lectured in several universities in the USA, Zimbabwe and Nigeria and consulted for several global and national institutions such as the World Bank, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Forum of Federations in Canada, Center for Democracy and Development, National Manpower Board, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, among others.

He has been a member of various boards and Think Tanks such as the Management Committee of the AERC in Nairobi, African Heritage Institutions, African Population, Health and Research Consortium (APHRC), Clement Isong Foundation, Edet Amana Foundation and New Nigeria Foundation, among others. From 2020 to 2023, he was requested by the Nobel Prize Committee in Switzerland to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Professor Ekpo has written eight books and edited three. His latest book: Nigeria: A Resource Rich Economy in Disarray has been widely acclaimed. He’s published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in books and other research outlets. He has over 1,850 citations in Google Scholar. His areas of interest include Economic Theory, Public Finance and Quantitative Methods.


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