College of Education Provostship: The South & the rest us: a case for C’River central

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Efio-Ita Nyok|20 February 2017
The Office of the Provost of Cross River State College of Education (COE), Akamkpa will from March 2017 be up for grabs just like that of the Registrar of the same institution was recently until Mr Bernard P. Okon of Akamkpa local government area in southern senatorial district of the state clinched on it.
With the practice of an extant culture of zoning/rotational politics in Nigeria (a culture that is frowned upon and endorsed as well by some schools of thought) generally some interest centres are beginning to be quite apprehensive over what may characterise the emergence of the new Provost of the institution under review. Sometime, about last week, while fine-tunning my research knob across the frequencies obtainable in the state I stumbled on COE Akamkpa and the brewing leadership tussle taking place over there. After having a feel of the entire gist there I have decided to throw in my portion to enrich the ongoing debate.
Without mincing words, my thesis is that the good people of Central Senatorial District of Cross River State be given a chance at the Provostship of College of Education, Akamkpa; preferably, Old Obubra axis of the said senatorial district comprising Obubra, Yakurr and Abi LGAs be given a chance. The question becomes —why!? Hear me out as I take you through a detour of what’s going on in my mind. What follows are my supporting premises for the thesis.
As it is the norm, principal offices in an academic institution like University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), Federal College of Education (FCE), College of Health Technology, etc in the state are occupied in such a spread that reflects (a mockery of the) federal character system with the state considered as a microcosm. For instance, in UNICAL the current Vice Chancellor, namely Professor Zana I. Akpagu is from Obudu in northern senatorial district while the Registrar, to wit, Mr Moses Owan Abang is from Boki in central senatorial district. Again, in CRUTECH the Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Owan Enoh is from Etung in central senatorial district where as the Registrar, one Mr Beshel (surname not identified as at press time) is from northern senatorial district etc. Also, Institute of Technology and Management (ITM), Ugep has a Yala-born-northern senatorial district Provost in Professor Austin Angba and Registrar in Mr Anthony Oshin from south-western Nigeria. The point is that no one senatorial district in the state is occupying both the principal offices of Vice Chancellor/Provost and Registrar all at the same time.
Jubilant students of COE, Akamkpa dancing in celebration to the news of Gov Ben Ayade 9th December 2016 Supreme Court victory over Mr Joe Agi SAN 
Contextualising the above practice in COE, I am of the opinion that southern senatorial district who has an Akamkpa-born indigene, Mr Bernard Okon, as the incumbent Registrar should not produce the Provost of the institution. You may ask me why. For those who may be pretending not to understand or honestly do not see the logic, the spread of principal officers across senatorial districts in the state is perceived to reduce the chasm created by an overtly conscious ethnic/tribal society. That is, if southern senatorial district produces both of the said principal offices Nigerians/Cross Riverians of other districts may mirror the official activities of the occupants from a purely ethnic/tribal perspective. Their perception may be skewed but that will be the reality. And I think being realistic here should be emphasised. Besides, this reductionist perception retains the capacity of overheating the system.
Thus, since the current Registrar is of Cross River south and the out-gone Provost being Associate Professor James Bassey Ejue was from the Cross River north let Cross River central be given a chance. My argument doesn’t say, even though the anticipated Provost from central is an imbecile, he should still be allowed. Contrarily, I am saying that from the qualified candidates/aspirants from central, a Provost should emerge. Competence is sacrosanct.
Accordingly, as the incumbent Provost in acting capacity, Chief P. O. Abiam takes a bow as his 6-months acting tenure expires by March 2017 and the Governing Council of COE advertises for a vacant Office of the Provost the preceding submissions should be taken into consideration.
It has also been perceived that the Cross River community especially those of the south are regretting their failure to adhere to the wisdom of some power centres in the state who earlier had observed that through out the entire leadership structure of academic institutions in the state, non are from the south. Accordingly, these political bigwigs had suggestingly asked the south, during the battle of who becomes the next Registrar, to let a Cross Riverian from the central occupy that seat so that by this year, Provostship becomes a natural birthright, but alas they declined, suspecting that they were to be scuttled, insisted on gunning for the Registrar position despite the fact that the south has produced the occupant of the said office consistently for 21 years beginning from Ntufam S. B. Ajom (Akamkpa 13 years) to Barr. U. I. Ogban (Biase 8 years) and to now Bernard Okon (Akamkpa 2017).
When I recall how big shots in Akamkpa LGA beginning from Ntufam John Okon former PDP State Chairman, Rt. Hon. Daniel Asuquo of the National Assembly, principal traditional stools clamoured and lobbied for this same Registrar position I began to wonder what is very particular in this Registrarship that the south preeminently clamoured for? Whatever it is, let’s give fellow Cross Riverians from central a chance and for once bear responsibility for our decisions.
In logical studies, it’s contended that one cannot accept a statement/proposition to be true and deny the implication(s). That is to say, Cross River south in holding unto the Registrarship of COE can’t accept the verisimilitude of a rotational culture in Cross River State nay Nigeria and deny its implications in COE, Akamkpa leadership structure as it is obtainable elsewhere.
While there shouldn’t be grandstanding in debates of this nature the opinions harped on above are mine. I stand to be corrected and is open to debate.
Efio-Ita Nyok
Is a Public Commentator