26 June 2020
With the precipitous winding down of the Professor Zana I. Akpagu-led Vice Chancellorship of the University of Calabar, Calabar, Southern Cross River Advocates have observed the distinctively alluring frenzy that has characterised the jostle to occupy the high office of Vice Chancellor (VC) by sundry distinguished researchers of the said University.
While it must be admitted that this frenzying is normal as this is a demonstration of goodwill to the University of Calabar and the altruistic disposition to serve Nigerians at this level of our societal organisation, it must be stressed that Southern Cross River Advocates have observed with dismay a prominent but unfortunate feature in the respective and collective ambitions to replace Prof. Akpagu.
Without mincing words, it should be stated outrightly that this identified 'unfortunate feature' is already undermining the perceived expression of goodwill and altruism that has altogether characterised the general race for who will be the next and substantive Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar. Therefore, it is important we nib this bad blood at the bud before it blossoms into an fiery enthusiasm that will be certainly uncontainable, and with dire consequences for all of us.
This unfortunate phenomenon is the entrance of Nigerian academics from the Central Senatorial District of Cross River into the race for VC of UNICAL. If you do not understand, this entrance and entrants undermine the claims of distinguished Nigerian academics from the Southern Senatorial District of the state.
The insensitive presumption of the unholy entrance of our brothers and sisters from Cross River Central is that Akpagu's Vice Chancellorship (2015-2020) from Obudu does not represent the interest of Cross River North, neither did the Vice Chancellorship of Professor James Epoke (2010-2015) from Abi represents the interest of Cross River Central. If this presumption is anything to go by, one would have expected that of the nine (9) current contenders for the office of VC of UNICAL, we would have seen a VC hopeful by now coming from either Bekwarra, Obanlikwu, Yala, Ogoja and even Obudu where Akpagu hails from.
Granted that, until Prof. Akpagu, there was no such senatorial district consideration according to which the CEO of the University of Calabar should be selected, the fact still remains that we cannot wish away the consequences of the development which has instilled brotherliness, unity and order in the University community. It does not spell of wisdom to take for granted that perceived brotherliness, unity and order as well as the narrative of justice, fairness and equity it has portended.
As a consortium, Southern Cross River Advocates do not mean to say that every Tom, Dick and Harry including an imbecile insofar as s/he is from Cross River South is automatically eligible and thus, must be allowed, without restraints, to vie for the top office of Vice Chancellor, we are rather affirming that there is competence too in Cross River South as you can attest to by reason of historical antecedents.
All we are saying in essence is let us not stand the status quo in the University of Calabar on the head by compromising the cherished ideals of brotherliness, unity and social order. Rather, let us enthrone these ideals above any form of clannishness, sentiments and/or jingoism. We will be better for it.
For and on behalf of Southern Cross River Advocates…
Comr. Agbo Eta, former Vice Chairman NYCN C'River, Calabar Municipality,
Comr. Ebita David, former SUG President UNICAL,Odukpani,
Comr. Ekpo Tete, former SUG President UNICAL, Akpabuyo,
Comrade Ekpenyong Akiba, former NACRISS Worldwide Secretary, Odukpani,
Hon. Comr. Nkanu Enun, former Member Nigerian Youth Parliament, Biase,
Comr. Clinton Amang, Chairman, Youth Council of Nigeria, Biase,
Comr. John Ndifon, Chairman, Youth Council of Nigeria, Akamkpa,
Comr. Nkese Ita, former Worldwide President, Bakassi,
Comr. Emmanuel Duke, President, NACRISS Worldwide, Calabar South.