INTERVIEW WITH SIR (PROF.) ITA OKON BASSEY EWA
The former Honourable minister of science and technology, Federal Republic of Nigeria re-emphasized in this interview that the grace of God can lift a man and crown him with honour. Enjoy!
Q can we meet you?
A. Yes, I am glad to interact with you. It is indeed a delight to see the progress made by most of you in your chosen fields. It is our prayers that you sustain this feat while focusing on your future career.
Q what was growing up like for you?
A. ‘it was relatively smooth for me notably from the perspective of my Christian background. All through my formative years I have always obtained the favour of God assisted by my parents who are strictly Methodists.
Q . How did you become a Christian?
A. Living a Christian life was made possible by the ambience of Christianity that surrounded my childhood development. Being taught the tenets of Methodist, it was much easier to flow in the Faith even when the dictates of life were to manifest through the assurance of salvation. Being of member of a Christian union in the university assisted me immensely in the realisation of the saving Grace of our Lord. I gave my life to Christ in December 1973. Ever since then the forgiveness of sins, the the new life in Christ, the In-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in my life, and the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ has made life to be more assuring to me everyday. It is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me(Gal 2:20).more than ever, the life of soul winning through my participation in the ministry of the Gideons International in the placement of scriptures has been very rewarding and fulfilling in the Christian race. I am also grateful to the conference of the Methodist Church in awarding me the knighthood of John Wesley (KJW) in view of the little that I have been able to do in the Lord’s vineyard.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your educational background and your current state in academia?
A My early childhood education has been under tutelage obtained from missionary institutions commencing with my nursery education at Holy Trinity School Looks in 1956 and terminating with my primary education at Saint George’s Anglican school, Zaria in 1963. The secondary school component was actualised in 1970 at Methodist Boys High School, Oron, Akwa Ibom state. You could see the blessings of God and the disciplined exposure to the dictates of youthful Christian upbringing summed up in the phrase in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.
Taking off from the secondary school level I was privileged to read B. Sc (physics), university of Nigeria, Nsukka at the undergraduate level and at the post-graduate level M. Sc(Nuclear Physics) and Ph.d(physics) at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria respectively. It was not an easy task to run effectively the Nuclear physics post-graduate program since there was no nuclear research reactor then. By the grace of God it was a blessing on the other hand as I was offered an opportunity by the international Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), Vienna, Australia of conducting several research reactor of the Nuclear Research Centre of the Texas A and M University, Texas, USA. Since then I have been able to conduct researches, analyze and study a lot of matrices at several globally renowned laboratories using thermal neurons,epithermal neurons, fast neutrons, epithermal neurons, fast neurons, charged particles as well as electrons. This is the Lord’s doing. These efforts were rewarded by my admission into the prestigious New York Academy Science. The development of the centre for Energy Research and Training, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has been outcomes of the effort of many foundation staff of the University. Having been exposed to the use of Triga Mark Research reactor in USA, I proposed same with a 5MW ratings are useful for the production of radio-isotopes with wider applications in radio-pharmaceuticals researchers and nuclear medicine.
Q. Sir, we have good reasons to believe you are internationally recognized and celebrated in Nigeria. Can you tell us a little about your breakthrough and your footprints on the sands of time?
A. well, I may not term them as breakthroughs in life but rather the Grace of upon my life. Firstly my endearing academic rapport with the International Atomic Energy Research, Vienna, Australia kept me at a good pedestal with global researchers in Nuclear physics and was able to collaborate with research Centres in Hungary (institute of Nuclear physics, Technical University of Budapest) France (institute National des Sciences ET Technical, Nucleaire, Paris:Institute de LA physique Nuclear, Lyon), canada(Dalhousie University, Halifax) and Italy(international centre for Theoretical physics, Trieste). Outcomes of these collaboration ended up in several publication both in local and international journals having high impact Factors. Besides, I have been sponsored several times by the IAEA on international conferences in India (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre), Switzerland (control European pour LA Recherche Nucleaire, Geneva), Ghana (Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Accra), Egypt, Morroco (centre d’etude Nucleaire De maamora Rabat), Cameroon Monaco( Marine Environmental Research Centre (kernforschungszentrum, Karlrushe) by the grace of God my achievements have been profiled in the 1st Edition of Who is Who in Nigeria and the 16th Edition of Who’s Who in the World.
Q. Finally sir, what advice do you have for young people in Nigeria.
A. My advice is that youths should always remember the investment of God upon their lives as how much the family expects from them on leaving school. They should therefore move ahead with these major precepts in life. As future professionals, we can learn much from our Lord Jesus Christ on his model in actualization of the principles of living.