A somber mood hangs over Lango sub region following the death of Professor Fred Opio Ekong, vice chancellor of All Saints University, Lango and author of Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) project.
The Professor was admitted at International Hospital Kampala after a serious road accident in Mpigi that left him with multiple injuries.
He was from attending a meeting of all university vice chancellors at Nkozi University.
His vehicle was rammed from the back by a trailer and broke eight of his ribs and sustained a deep cut on the head. He was rushed to Mulago Hospital under critical condition before being transferred to IHK.
State minister for northern Uganda Rebecca Amuge Otengo on Sunday said since Opio has been in coma since then.
The paramount Chief of Lango, Won Nyaci Yosam Odur said the death of Prof. Opio was a big loss and serious bad luck to Ugandans and the people of Lango in particular.
Prof. Opio Ekong talking to the chancellor, Bishop John Charles Odurkami at Lira Hotel after the swearing-in of the council members. Photo/Patrick Okino
He said: “I am highly saddened by the death of Prof. Opio Ekong and I want to say this is very bad luck for the people of Lango and Uganda at large.”
He passed away on Tuesday evening at about 9:45pm, according to the Bishop of Lango Diocese John Charles Odurkami who is also the chancellor of All Saints University, Lango.
“This is the second big loss to the people of Lango after Prof. Mathew Okai, the first Vice Chancellor of All Saints University,” Odurkami told New Vision on Wednesday.
Prof Okai died in 2008 shortly after opening the university.
Rev. Jacky Milton Otto Olima, the Chaplain of All Saints University Lango described prof. Opio as a person whose heart was pro-poor that is why he wrote NUSAF project for the government and he was consequently appointed to implement it as the first Executive director.
“We have lost a great man with all his knowledge whose heart was pro-poor; who spoke for the poor and I think that is why he decided to accept being VC at All Saints University Lango instead of leading a lavish life elsewhere,” Otto said.
Former Erute South parliamentary contender Joel Okao Tema said Prof. Opio was one of Lango's best gifts to Uganda, and one of our leading lights in academia and one of the best economists the country has ever had.
Born in Agwata Sub County, Dokolo district, Prof Opio was a renowned scholar who lectured in many universities in and outside Uganda.
He is the one who authored NUSAF project for rebuilding northern Uganda that was devastated by several years of insurgencies. He was made the first executive director of NUSAF, a post he resigned and settled back in Lango to join hands with other academicians to start All Saints University, Lango.