By Jeremiah Archibong
Dr. Lucy Ambekeh Udida, lecturer in the Department of Educational Administration and Planning, University of Calabar, UNICAL is also an Associate Professor in Higher Education. She is the first female Academic Doctor and first female Associate Professor from Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State. In this exclusively interview with CrossRiverWatch, she spoke about the role of her dad in her education successes and Governor Ayade’s signature projects.
How does it feel like being the first female Academic Doctor and now the first female Associate Professor in the entire Obudu LGA?
God is the one that giveth and promoted, when I got married to my husband, he encouraged me and I pursued my education without turning back. I am due to be a Professor next year 2016 God willing. I feel very happy about it because it has given me the grace and the will to contribute to the life of people, to promote knowledge and be a source of encouragement which I have been both in my area and in the life of people that associate with me.
What may have informed your decision to choose the academia as an endeavor?
I did not grow at home, I came from the north; my husband married me from Minna in Niger State. When I came because of my father’s love for education and his interest in sending all his children to school, when I decided to marry, his blessing for me was that he wants me to become a great woman and I should never forget my education. It propelled me to work and meet up with his vision which became my personal vision to work hard and become somebody great and help others too be great, enlightened and exposed. I know with education you have everything, education is the key to life. I have acquired it and I want to continue to remain a model for girls and other younger women, of how to be a success both as a mother and a career woman.
You have been around for some time now to understand the politics of the state, what is your take on Governor Ayade’s signature projects, specifically the garment factory where he has said women will be given priority in employment?
I am so happy about the election victory of Professor Ben Ayade. His vision for the state is fantastic. He has come to sacrifice to build the state from where it is to a greater height. The projects will ameliorate poverty, they are going to make Cross River State an international hub and put it on the global map. These projects will welcome a lot of investors that will come in with foreign capital and produce goods that will be exported to many countries. What is of particular interest to me is that a lot of Cross Riverians will be employed and to think that the governor believes that women should be given priority in employment at the garment factory is even more heart warming. The challenges of womanhood, particularly in our society are numerous and women need every form of support to empower them to continue to carter for their families. I should also add that with such consideration for women by the governor, it is a clear sign that women will get a better deal under governor Ayade’s government.
Considering your professional field what are some ways you think education can be improved in the State?
Education is a very important aspect of every nation and most of our higher institutions have challenges but I believe the current governor has interest in education and health. There is an urgent need to strengthen our tertiary institutions to become more self reliant. The governor had muted the idea of venture capital for the institutions to strengthen that capacity. The primary and secondary sectors are also in dire need of injection of resources to procure instructional materials and of course the issue of curriculum update to ensure that what the pupils are taught reflect the current reality and global best practices.
What is your advice to young females out there who are struggling to shape up their lives?
The path I’m taking is an inspiration from my father who wasn’t educated but had passion for education especially for his girls, what I have to say to young girls and boys out there is that whatever you want to do in life do it very well, do not look at finances as your challenge, do not look at other people who are not making it as an example, I never gave up so don’t, it is my hope that young men and women especially girls stay focused and get the education that will enhance their well being.
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