|L-R: ex-Bursar Peter Agi and Vice Chancellor Zana Akpagu|
Efio-Ita Nyok|25 February 2017
It’s no more news that the University of Calabar (UNICAL) now has a new Bursar in the person of Mrs Beatrice Ifeanyi Igwe, that is, after the unfortunate sacking of the former financial czar Mr Peter Agi. If we recall how Agi who graduated as recently as 2004 and became Bursar of a tertiary academic institution barely four years after, then one may have surmised, and rightfully so, that this premature rise to such a staggering height would result into an unexpected fall. And so it was —an unexpected fall!
However, the true story concerning what really characterised the grounding of Agi seem to be shrouded in a mystery: the one party is affirming whereas the other party is denying. It’s therefore for reasons like this that we at NegroidHaven embarked on fact-finding expedition to decipher why Agi was sacked unceremoniously from his former exalted office in service of UNICAL.
To set the record straight, Agi’s dismissal stems from the latter’s vice of insubordination, arrogance, disrespect and usurpation of Vice-Chancellor’s duties as ‘Accounting Officer/CEO, Head of Procurement Planning Committee and Chairman of Tenders Board, and as final ‘Approving Authority’. Documents at my disposal supports this position.
According to Schedule 1, Section 2(2) subsection 3 of the law establishing the University of Calabar the Bursar ‘is responsible to the Vice Chancellor for the day to day administration and control of the financial affairs of the University’, however, instances abound where Mr Agi would arbitrarily cut down and reapprove, after the Vice-Chancellor has approved as well as take over the leadership of procurement, becoming the procurement officer purchasing official vehicles, making sundry supplies, thereby setting aside the Procurement Unit and Tenders Board of which the VC is Chairman. This in itself grossly contravenes the Procurement/Due Process Act.
|Mrs Beatrice Igwe, UNICAL new Bursar|
Concerning the former allegation, there is the unsavory incident of the renovation of QA3 Staff Quarters for one Professor Arikpo B. Arikpo of the Department of Continuing Education and Development Studies of the University. The contract for the renovation of the said residence was valued at N3, 782, 130 and awarded to Ukewuta Aluminum Ventures located at No. 3 Okon Esuk Street at Ikot Ansa, Calabar. The Vice-Chancellor approved the payment of stated sum above to the said contractor after completion and inspection of the job on the residence.
However, when it was time for the Bursar to pay the money, he declined, reviewed and rather approved the sum of N2, 682, 130 and ended up not even paying the said reapproved sum. As usual, this caused a furore between the school and the contractor.
Concerning the latter, that is, usurpation of the duties of the VC as the Chair of Procurement Unit and Tenders Board of the University, documents has it that in an internal memo dated 29th June 2016, the former Bursar directed the Procurement & Supplies Unit to advice in respect of the furnishing of the office of the Director of Pre-Degree Programme. Accordingly, the P&S unit submitted an ‘indepth market survey’ and among three contractors, namely, Arumo Nig. Enterprises, Shillings Resources Limited and Great Glakom Nig. Limited recommended Arumo Nig. Enterprises to execute the contract at N2, 987, 250. According to extant rules the former Bursar had no such powers to ask the T&S unit to conduct market survey. It’s the job of the VC. It even surprises me that the P&S acted on the Bursa’s directive without approval from her Chair, the VC.
According to the thinking of the ex-Bursar, he was only responsible to the Council of the University and not the Vice-Chancellor. Thus, when he was asked to respond to a query from the VC he declined alleging that he wasn’t answerable to the VC but ‘the Council’. Nevertheless, when a joint committee of the Council and Senate Committee asked him to appear before her for fair hearing regarding the case he would refuse and labeled them —’the Kangaroo witch-hunt circus by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar’. Put differently, Agi wasn’t in practice answerable to the council. He was accountable only to himself and nothing more.
The question begging for immediate answer is, how could this potentate-of-a-Bursar survive for long in civil service? It seems to me that it’s his honest acknowledgment of his deficiencies that may have compelled him to scuttle his way through the rank and files at such speed to become Bursar, a trend that has been adjudged as ‘a recruitment error’. It was fitting for the present leadership of the University of Calabar to have excused such a psychological megalomaniac from such sensitive public office. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar should be commended!
|Procession by academics in UNICAL during 2017 matriculation exercise|
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