It is not an anomaly for universities around the world to lay claim to Alumni who are flying their flags high and making them proud. The same applies to schools in Nigeria, as they from time-to-time recognize notable Nigerians (Alumni), who are making remarkable impacts in different spheres of the society. Given the present realities of the country, it is worth mentioning that a good number of Nigerians are braving the odds to contribute substantially to national development while advancing in their respective fields.
Here, we shine the spotlight on 5 notable Nigerians you just may not know are alumni of the University of Port-Harcourt. They’re renown individuals, recognized for displaying inventiveness and causing global scale impact through their endeavours.
GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN
One notable alumni of the University of Port-Harcourt is the renowned former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He is a Nigerian zoologist and politician who served as the Nigerian president from 2010 to 2015. He meted one of the most commended administrations in the history of Nigeria.
During his reign as president, he commissioned large scale construction of federal roads and opened up the Nigerian economy, putting it within Africa’s top 5 destinations for foreign investors. During his tenure, he liberalised the press and ensured the freedom of speech in Nigeria was not tampered with. Most importantly, his administration clinically combatted the Ebola outbreak to the admiration of the world.
His excellent display of leadership in his years as president, and his countless contributions to the nation has made him one of the exceptional alumni of UNIPORT.
Richard Nyong is one of Nigeria’s biggest entrepreneurs and a savvy real estate mogul. He obtained his B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Port-Harcourt in 2004. He is the CEO of Lekki Gardens Estates, one of the largest real estate companies in West Africa. Richard Nyong is a formidable force in the Nigerian real estate sector; an incredible entrepreneur who set out to change the landscape of the country’s real estate industry and did it.
Lekki Gardens Estate is responsible for the creation of over 14,000 housing units spread across over four states in Nigeria. He has also created thousands of jobs to the benefit of several Nigerian youths: a great contribution to the battle against unemployment in the nation. He is also a philanthropist who constantly gives back to the society, and was most notably referred to, as a supportive pillar during the Covid-19 pandemic.
His extraordinary showcase of entrepreneurial genius has earned him a well-deserved recognition from his Alma Mata, who felicitated with him during his recent 40th birthday celebration.
Agbani Darego is an international model and beauty queen who was crowned Miss World in 2001. She was the first indigenous African to win the Miss World contest. She studied computer and mathematics in Uniport before she launched her modelling career.
Through her years of modelling, she bagged deals with several international brands and renowned agencies. She also appeared on the front pages of countless global magazines. She has acted as a judge in several pageantries including the Miss World pageant in 2004, Miss England in 2002, Mr Scotland in 2002 and the Elite Model Look in 2012 and 2014.
All through her modelling career and till date, she remains one of the few models who have maintained modest appearances thereby setting a suitable example for the younger generation.
Alex Otti is a Nigerian economist, banker, investor, philanthropist and politician. Like Richard Nyong, he obtained a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Port-Harcourt. He has risen to enviable heights in the Nigerian banking sector. He has held crucial positions in several Nigerian banks including Nigerian International Bank, Intercontinental bank, Societe Bancaire Nigeria Limited, United Bank of Africa (UBA), First Bank Nigeria PLC and Diamond Bank PLC where he functioned as the Group Managing Director. In 2014, he took a voluntary retirement.
Following his contest for the Abia state governorship in 2015, the Court of Appeal declared him the governor of Abia state, a declaration that was eventually overturned by the supreme court.
He is currently a member of the editorial board of one of the most respected newspapers in Nigeria – Thisday, and writes a fortnightly column, every other Monday, titled “Outside The Box”.
Hon. Timipre Sylva, a graduate of the department of English, began his political career in 1992 and has served in various political position since then; from serving as a member of the House of Assembly, to being the Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum in 200. He continued in that position until May 29, 2007 when he won the Bayelsan gubernatorial election and succeeded Goodluck Jonathan.
In August, 2019, he was appointed the Nigerian Cabinet Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. In his current role, Hon. Timipre exudes top leadership performance which has brought about certain achievements including the implementation of downstream deregulation in the petroleum industry which leads to specific benefits including job creation.
The University of Port-Harcourt is one of the top 10 Nigerian universities, and like some other universities, she has turned out notable personalities who are performing remarkably in the society.