UNICAL: After ex-Bursar Peter Agi knelt down and pleaded with me at Owerri… – ex-VC James Epoke


Efio-Ita Nyok|17 March 2017 This is the fourth in my line of publications on the incidents that characterised the unfortunate suspension and eventual dismissal from service of the erstwhile Bursar of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Calabar Mr Peter A. Agi. I had published UNICAL: ex-Bursar Peter Agi: a story of insubordination and usurpation of Vice-Chancellor's duties http://www.negroidhaven.org/2017/02/unical-ex-bursar-peter-agi-story-of.html?m=1 on 25th February, UNICAL: Four Incontrovertible reasons that led to ex-Bursar Peter Agi's 22 August suspensionhttp://www.negroidhaven.org/2017/03/unical-four-incontrovertible-reasons.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&m=1 on 7th March and Revealed: How ex-Bursar Peter Agi frustrated NUC accreditation of 2 depts in UNICAL http://www.negroidhaven.org/2017/03/revealed-how-ex-bursar-peter-agi.html?m=1. The underlying story line is that 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 by UNICAL's former financial czar. In this particular publication I will be continuing former Vice-Chancellor James Epoke's experience with ex-Bursar Peter Agi. In his 30th January 2017 letter to the Honourable Minister of Education referenced UC/VC/45.2 the incumbent Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Prof. Zana I. Akpagu, contended that Agi has always been in conflict with every Vice Chancellor he has worked with. Agi corroborated this assertion in his much earlier 2nd December 2016 letter to Honourable Minister of Education where he confessed that, 'My predicament… started off on the 7th of April 2014 on what should be a promising note' whereas, VC Akpagu assumed office as Vice Chancellor on 1st December 2015. In his 21st September 2016 report to the committee set up to investigate of Mr Peter Agi the former Vice-Chancellor Epoke noted that his basic quarrel with Agi was when the latter 'unilaterally changed the fee collection portal from one with a subsisting agreement to another one which we had no agreement with the provider'. This is obviously where the disconnect sets in. 'The discord lingered for three months within which the Council ordered him to return to the original portal. This was reluctantly obeyed but he refused to send the details of the collections he had made illegally on the authorised platform. He verbally told Council he collected over N200 million within three months he operated the platform. Several letters written to him to update our authorised platform with his collections were ignored until a query was issued to him. The query was unanswered for over a week nor the request data submitted. Those actions prompted the first attempt to suspend him after duly informing the Chairman of Council', Epoke continued. Incidentally, the suspension did not see the limelight of day because a principal officer who was intimated along with a council member prevailed on the chair of council to invite both Epoke and Agi to Owerri. Available documents has it that Epoke stayed action to suspend Agi but rather proceeded to Owerri. At Owerri, in the office of the Chair of Council '… Mr Agi in his usual deceitful manner went down in his knees in the chairman' s office, pleading for forgiveness with a firm promise to be of good behavior. We returned back to Calabar and from then on was branded enemy number one to Mr Agi. Everything about me was treated with levity.' The ex-Bursar reportedly according to Epoke, stopped funding the bills to the Vice-Chancellor's lodge like payment for diesel, Agi stopped releasing funds for security thereby compounding security, he bribed unions to demonstrate over earned allowance making the union to believe that the VC having bought an N18 million vehicle for himself could not pay their earned allowance, whereas, Agi had actually taken delivery of two cars for the VC but released one to Epoke and parked one at his residence, Agi further ensured that after Epoke finished his term as VC, he could not receive his severance allowance and other entitlement accruable to him, this even extended to those perceived to be loyal to Epoke. This was a clear case of a relationship gone awry. Albeit, one would have expected that Agi would have taken a new leave sequel to the Owerri resolution. This wouldn't be the case. It's quite demoralising to know how the prestigious ivory tower that has churned out reputable human capital in various spheres of our national life demetamorphosed into an avoidable theater of the absurd. Agi had alleged in his letter to the Honourable Minister of Education that he earnestly wished 'to ensure probity in the financial affairs of the University', but, I am still at a loss as to how refusing to officially ensure that the various departments of the University are running smoothly especially when it is within his brief to fix that becomes a 'posture which ordinarily should be celebrated as a virtue'? This isn't a rhetorical question —I earnestly demand answers. The question is, as Epoke has penned down, did Agi go to Owerri at the auspices of the member of council? Did Agi apologise to Epoke and promised to turn a new leave? If the responses are in the affirmative it suggests that he was culpable already. It confirms that Agi had made deliberate efforts to frustrate the smooth running of the University under his former boss. Go to, let's say this was an oversight, an instance in a million occurrences; why didn't it change? Why was peace not given a chance for once, for good and for all!? Was this characteristic belligerence still geared towards ensuring 'probity in the financial affairs of the University'? So, after the Owerri supposed peace accord, hell was let loose!? Hmmm! I profoundly shiver at what civil servants and their counterpart in public service do in strategic corridors of power at the expense of the unsuspecting tax payer. Efio-Ita Nyok
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of NegroidHaven.org