BY: Judex Okoro
As the race for the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) has continued to gather momentum, as eight professors have indicated interest for the coveted seat.
Those jostling to replace the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof Zana Akpagu, on December 1, 2020, include Joseph Asor (Biological Science); Prof Offiong Offiong (Chemistry); Prof. Ndiyo Ayara (Economics); Prof Francis Bisong (Geography) and Prof Florence Obi, (Education) former Commissioner for women Affairs, and former Deputy VC Academics.
Others are Prof. Patrick Asuquo (Education Administration); Eyong Ubana (English); Prof Benedict Ita (Chemistry) and Prof Anne Asuquo (Medical Microbiology)
The UNICAL Governing Council had declared the position of Vice-Chancellor vacant and listed eleven 11 conditions for the aspirants including being an acclaimed scholar and a Professor of very high repute; must have published in academic journals that are both of national and international repute; have had a wide range of academic and administrative experience and be on the rank of professor for at least nine years by December 1, 2020 and be able to provide administrative leadership to a well-informed and articulate local academic community.
Others are being a fair-minded and dynamic individual with a reputation that is impeccable in dealing with people at all levels; possess requisite and relevant managerial experience to be able to provide leadership to the University; and must not be more than 65 years of age by 1st December, 2020.
Daily Sun investigations revealed that out of the nine candidates so far, Professors Joseph Asor, the former Dean of Student Affairs and Rector of Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture, Obubra, Ndiyo Ayara, the incumbent Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, and Offiong Offiong, former commissioner for education, are topping the race for the plum job.
Prof Joseph Asor, also a former dean of Biological Sciences and later Science and an international scholar of repute, is seen as a disciplined intellectual, a bridge builder across all the ethnic nationalities that make up the university community and is said to have consulted widely within and outside the university before embarking on the journey to the office.
Daily Sun have it on good authority that Asor is a favoured candidate among top echelon of power brokers within and outside the state because of his ditrabalised outlook and wide contacts.
A source close to Governing Council confided in Daily Sun that most of the Council members are favorably disposed to Asor’s candidacy and are said to have discreetly conducted what they described as ‘due diligence’ on Asor’s personality and his activities and seem satisfied with him.
For the duo of Professors Ndiyo Ayara and Offiong Offiong, they are not resting on their oars as they are said to be pushing their credentials to relevant places and to people that matter, with the aim of trying to pull the strings.
Speaking on the tussle for the Vice Chancellorshp, the Coordinator of UNICAL Stakeholders Forum, Comrade Agbor Samuel Agbor, said this is the auspicious time to reposition the institution by selecting the next Vice Chancellor based on merit and what the person can offer.
Agbor said: “We are happy that this time ethnicity is not at front burner as before and we want the screening panel to do justice to all candidates fairly and equally to reduce tension and acrimony in the system.”