From the Abyss of Memory: Efiong Ukpong Aye


Port Harcourt: Desertwater Communications, 2011

About the Book

Chief Efiong Ukpong Aye, popularly known as Ete Aye, rendered sel?ess service worthy of emulation as a teacher, vice prirtipal and principal of various schools in Calabar. His service years as two-time principal of the legendary Hope Wadell Training institution, Calabar and his penchant for discipline made him a house hold name. Generations of HOWAD students who came under Aye‘s apparent “tenor regime”, today, admit that Aye and his cane shaped their lives for the better. His ” taking of numbers in the Chapel”, “Bongo-cutting exercise”, “surprise inspection”, and attempts to outwit his students with his trademark “Erimore and pipe”, keeps the reader glued to this book.

Ete Aye is an icon of our time that enjoys utmost respect and regard not only from his past students but from the Presbyterian Church whom he served diligently, the Efik people whom he has projected through numerous books, Cross River Nigeria from whom he has received various state and national awards.

ln spite of the exemplary lifestyle of Aye as a non flamboyant personality however, only very few people knew what challenges he faced and what hurdles he had to cross in in order to rise to his chosen profession. This book is the story of Aye s life – a life of courage in the face of uncertainty. Aye stands for fairness, hard work, justice, and modesty. His highly successful students found almost all over the world and in various disciplines, are a testimony to his hard work and contribution towards human development and nation building. In the words of Professor Okon E. Uya, Aye is “]ust the kind of model that Nigerians, especially the youth need to know better” .


Way back in 1989 when I successfully completed my B.A. research project, supervised by Chief E. U. Aye, renowned scholar, educationist and former principal of Hope Waddell Training Institution for many years, l had jokingly informed him that I would be the one to write his biography, and I meant it. The life of Chief Efiong Ukpong Aye is the story of a man of humble beginnings who, in spite of all odds, broke the barriers of hardship and discrimination to attain greater heights in his chosen profession. Chief E. U. Aye is best known during his working career as a teacher, Vice Principal and Principal of various secondary schools and colleges in Calabar and its environs. These include Government Secondary School, Creek Town; Edgerley Memorial (Girls Secondary School, Calabar; Teachers Training College, Calabar; and of course, the In-lope Waddell Training lnstitution(HOWAD), Calabar. His service years as two-time Principal of the famous Hope Waddell Training Institution made Aye a household name in Calabar. At that time, one could not differentiate between Aye and HOWAD. It was as if Aye was the institution itself!

Discipline with which Chief Aye and his cane were synonymous; astute leadership qualities as a fine administrator; constancy as ” the northern star”; selfless service to schools, the state and the church; organised nature which was clearly visible as he recorded every daily school event in a log book; ink which never ran dry as a scholar, marked Chief E. U. Aye out as a legend of his time.

His highly successful students found almost all over the World and in various disciplines, academics, medicine, law, engineering, business and politics, are an eloquent testimony of his hard work and contribution towards human development and, by extension, nation building. It is a thing of joy that Ete, at ninety-three, is alive to see his own story written. It is also a great honour for me, a historian and his pupil, to document the history of this legend, as a fulfilment of my long time dream.

Winifred E. Akoda, Ph.D
University of Calabar – Nigeria
May, 2011.


Dawn .. 2
Chapter 1 – In the beginning
Chapter 2 . . .there was a child
Chapter 3 . . .who went to school
Chapter 4 – . . .and returned to work in the village

Chapter 5 – The child desired knowledge
Chapter 6 – …and the child sought knowledge
Chapter 7 … far he went to seek knowledge
Chapter 8 … and he found a place of learning

Chapter 9 … A New Journey
Chapter 10 – …into the unknown
Chapter 11 – Cold Comfort

Chapter 12 – Fight and Runaway
Chapter 13 – To fight another day
Chapter 14 – All is well that ends well

. . Dusk, 264


Prof. Winifred Akoda

Winifred Eyoanwan Akoda (Nee Eyo Adam) is a Professor of History in the Department of History and International Studies at the University of Calabar. A mentor in Research Methods to both undergraduate and postgraduate students for over two decades, Wini has published in numerous journals and books in diverse areas of interest such as Research Methods and Historiography, Biographical History, Gender Studies and Calabar Historical and Cultural Studies. She is also a widely travelled scholar, having attended several conferences within and outside the African continent. Between 2012 and 2014, Prof. Wini Akoda served as the Head of the Department of History and International Studies where she recorded several outstanding achievements for the department. Wini is the mother of two enterprising children, Philip and Mary-Brenda, with whom she loves to travel and play badminton with during her leisure time.
More information can be obtained on her personal knowledgebase at

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