Prof. Mbarika Wins 2022 Man of The Year Award
Yesterday’s brief yet colourful event was organised on the Yaounde campus of the ICT University. It was attended by members of the ICT University community as well as some special guests. In a speech delivered during yesterday’s ceremony, the president of the award jury, Nde Richard Lajong, said Prof Victor Mbarika emerged winner of the award “for his historic and inspiring move in leading the ICT University to become the first higher
institution of learning in Sub Saharan Africa to launch a space programme that aligns with President Paul Biya’s digital transformation vision”.
Nde described Prof Mbarika as a young and dynamic personality who has impacted society in no small way. He said Prof Mbarika has transformed
the lives of uncountable Cameroonians and non-nationals alike. He explained that Prof Mbarika nominated alongside two other prominent Cameroonians emerged winner after sweeping majority of the votes following an online poll conducted by The Guardian Post.
“This award is about credibility. Nobody doubts the credibility of Prof Mbarika. He has done so much forthis country. In fact, he is amongst the
few Cameroonians in the diaspora who have heeded the call of the Head of State to come back home and assist in building this nation,
” Nde, who is also Publisher of The Herald Tribune newspaper stated. He added that: “This recognition is prove that Cameroonians have been
noticing the works of Prof Mbarika. This is award is well merited”. Recognising hard work Taking the cue during Thursday’s event, the Publisher of The Guardian Post newspaper, Ngah Christian Mbipgo, took time off to present the rationale behind the award initiative. He said besides recognising the
selfless efforts of individuals in nation building, the award also seeks to promote national unity. “We are the most widely read newspaper in Cameroon. Permit me say in the entire CEMAC sub region, The Guardian Post is the only news- paper be it public or private that is published seven times in a week, ” he said of the institution before disclosing that: “We count more 15,000 subscribers spread all over the world”.
“We are read in almost every public and private institution in Cameroon; that is why we pride ourselves as the most widely read newspaper in
Cameroon, ” Ngah added. Speaking on the raison d’être of the annual achievement award, The Guardian Post Chief Executive Offer,
CEO, recalled that: “We started the award ceremony in 2001”.
He said objective of the award is recognise both nationals and foreigners who reside in Cameroon, who offer selfless services to the nation.
“We also use the award to promote peace and national unity, that is why from inception, the award ceremony has been rotating from one town to
the other, ” Ngah said, stating that: “We have been to almost all towns of the country. We have been to Douala, Bamenda, Bafoussam, Limbe,
Ebolowa, Kumba, Sangmelima…”
He said former laureates of the award include top government officials, diplomats, economic operators, journalists and politicians amongst
others. Enter Prof Mbarika Meanwhile, in an impromptu acceptance speech at Thursday’s ceremony, United States-based Prof Victor Mbarika, while thanking members of the public who voted him Man of The Year, said his institution is determined in writing Africa’s own technology story.
Commenting on the award, the revered university don said “the dis- tinction came as a surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting this”.
He said: “I have received three life- time achievement awards, something I thank God for. Hardly any University Professor in the world has
that number of awards to his or her credit…but those were from other countries but this one is from Cameroon”.
He added that: “It means the world to me to get such an achievement award in my own country. So I really feel honoured”.
“Sometimes a prophet is not recognised in his own home. I have had a lot of international recognitions. I became a professor at a very young
age, so I have had a lot of big awards but to me, this is the most special and I mean it. This is because it is from home,
” he continued. “This award means a lot to me, this is home to me. I have been blessed in so many ways. I have had so many awards but this one is so special to me. Being the Man of The Year for such a great country, is so humbling,” he added.
Quizzed on the significance of the distinction, Prof Mbarika noted that: “This award represents God’s grace in my life. I was brought up to believe in
God and in myself. I was brought up to understand that nothing is impossible”.
“I am dedicating this award to my family and staff members not just here in Cameroon but beyond,” he concluded.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration at the ICT University, Prof Pierre Fonkua, had thanked the management of The Guardian Post for the initiative He said the award was not only recognition of hard work but resilience to a man who has continuously spent energy in contributing to the growth of higher education in Cameroon. Strides in space programme The ICT University is currently developing the first ever satellite facility developed by a University in sub Saharan Africa. The satellite dubbed ICT-U Sat 1 will be launched into orbit in 2024.
The development of the satellite is part of the ICT-U Space Programme.
The programme is being realised by the ICT University in partnership with Nanosatellite Missions Design LTD, NMD LTD. When launched, the satellite will be used for civilian purposes such as in medicine, agriculture, infrastructure amongst others. With process now unfolding, the ICT University has positioned itself as a major human capacity developer in the Cameroonian space sector and the African space industry in general.
The ICT University is anticipating a rapid rise in its contribution to machine learning, neutral networks, and other data science methods applied to to nanosatellite space missions.