PETER AGI was appointed Bursar of the University of Calabar in April 2014 at the age of 39. Two years and four months into an appointment that should have ideally lasted for five years, he was removed in very acrimonious circumstances. Fervent in the believe that the records must be set straight for posterity, Agi sat down and had a no-holds-barred interview with IWARA U. IWARA, publisher, www.calitown.com…Excerpts:
Briefly, introduce yourself.
My name is Peter Agi. I am from YALA local government area in CROSS RIVER STATE. I graduated from the University of Calabar, Unical, with a Bachelor of Science, Second Class Upper degree in Accounting. I also attended the prestigious University of Lagos, where I did my MBA. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of NIGERIA, ICAN, as well as the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN. I have twice attended the Executive Education Certification Programme in Harvard. I am a detailed-oriented, efficient and organized professional with extensive experience in accounting, highly trustworthy, discreet and an ethical financial manager. My professional career started in the private sector before joining the public sector, first as Chief Accountant and until recently the Bursar, University of Calabar. My preoccupation professionally is to institutionalize financial discipline, focusing on transparency, probity and accountability while maintaining ethical values and standards at all times in the discharge of my assigned functions.
You were Bursar of Unical for how long?
I was appointed Bursar of Unical in April 2014 after an extensive interview process and was unjustly removed in 2016 August. I had spent a total of 2 years and 4 months for an appointment that should have been for 5 years. The implication is that I still have 2 years 8 months left to complete my tenure as Bursar. The process of reinstatement is still ongoing.
Now as Bursar, you were removed from office in very acrimonious circumstances, what really happened?
Yes, I was removed from office in very acrimonious circumstances like you have correctly observed. For the records, let me begin by taking you through the background of events leading up to my emergence as the youngest Bursar of a second generation Federal University at the age of 39.
When I went through the requirements for application, I discovered that I was qualified and therefore applied. The whole process went full circle and I was subsequently appointed Bursar of the University of Calabar. Painfully, this did not go down well with some key stakeholders within the University who saw me as a young man, even an outsider, who was not part of their succession plans. Moreover, I was just a Chief Accountant at the time I applied for and got the job. There were Deputy Bursars who also participated in the interview process, unfortunately for them and fortunately for me, I got picked ahead of them and was thereafter so appointed. It was a difficult task getting accepted by key stakeholders, who grumbled and mouthed things under their breath. In the face of this kind of muffled hostility, I tried to ensure we worked as a team to realize the strategic vision of the University, yet it was glaring these people, completely consumed by negative personal needs, wanted me out of the system. It is important to quickly mention here that in the course of the interview for office of Bursar, I had notified The University’s Governing Council of my intention to block financial leakages in the system so that all inflows will be transparently accounted for and eventually put to judicious use. I had also tacitly assumed beforehand that effective and efficient utilization of funds can only be guaranteed if our financial inflows are accurately accounted for. It became clear to me later that the blocking of these financial drain pipes set me up against an unrepentant coven of persons who were feeding fat on the finances of the university.
While you sound like a solution architect, it is largely maintained within and outside Unical that as Bursar, you were exceptionally high handed and seemingly operated in that office like it was a private one. Did you?
Those who have elected to reason this way are unmindful of certain glaring circumstances, or have elected to look away from obvious realities, sad as this is. See, my first challenge was to deal with the Deputy Bursars, people who were hitherto my superiors but who suddenly became my subordinates, for no fault of mine. Secondly, I needed to institutionalize financial discipline by blocking leakages in the system, something that did not go down well with those who were copiously benefitting from the system.
Thirdly, I worked to ensure that only items with budgetary provisions and cash backings are rightly approved. This position did not go down well with key stakeholders within the management level of the university. See, the ICPC Act is clear on the fact that approvals should only be given if there’s cash backing. The process should be such that we make recommendations based on the budgetary provisions as captured in the departmental vote books and cash backing. Most stakeholders felt that I was trying to undermine their authority, but whatever I was doing was to allow the provisions of the financial regulations to be stoutly followed. Many were benefitting from the flawed system and were not ready to do the right thing. It is of note, to state here that in support of the above position, the university’s financial regulation was clear that “tenders shall not be invited before the bursar shall have certified in writing that financial provision has been made for the contract and the balance of the vote will accommodate the contracts”. A lot of approvals were made without cash backings, no resort to budgetary provisions and the pressure of payment was on me. I frowned at these deliberate flaws in the system and stood up against them; will that qualify as high handedness?
Again, there was a fundamental issue that had to do with collection of Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, particularly the collection of school fees for the University. As Bursar, I was not responsible for the collection of IGR. There was an arrangement for a consultant to collect internally generated inflows on behalf of the university. This consultant was reporting directly to the Vice Chancellor. There were certainly no reports on cash collected, coming to my office and it was therefore difficult to account for inflows. Managing the budgets implementation was a challenge too. I was indeed limited in the performance of my duties. I consequently probed to understand why the consultant was refusing me access to the collection platform, while also not reporting to me as the collection agent of the university. In the course of my investigation, I uncovered massive diversion of university monies to three (3) miscellaneous accounts created with the intention of defraud the institution. One thing led to another and the matter was taken to the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The attendant consequences of this issue set the stage for the conspiracy to oust me from Office. My crime was simple, I uncovered fraud. Why did I dare to expose it? The University regulation states that “…arrangements for the banking of university monies shall be made by the Bursar in consultation with the VC and with the approval of the Governing Council “. The agreement that gave the consultant right to collect monies on behalf of the University had no input from the Bursar and did not follow due procurement process. It was entered outside due process and was to be terminated only on the condition that the company became liquidated. That was preposterous and alarmingly wicked.
There was consequential justification to review the contract. This provided another opportunity for them to fight me. Unarguably, my crime was that insistence on due process and frantic efforts made to protect the most vulnerable asset of the university. These people were not ready to let me institutionalize financial discipline and this provided fertile grounds for the conspiracy to oust me.
For the records, this accusation is a misconception, indeed a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts around my operational framework while in office as Bursar. It was and still remains a conspiratorial attempt to debase my personality; more of an attempt to give a dog a bad name because they want to hang it. It is also a devious campaign of calumny aimed at picturing me as alleged. I was not high handed but trying to bring about a paradigm shift in the financial operational frameworks. It didn’t augur well with them. I operated as a principled man with a strong conviction for insistently following the rules. Remember, the job of the accountant is to protect the vulnerable assets of any organization where he/she works. He must ensure that ethical values and standards are adequately preserved. In the course of doing that, most people always feel you are high-handed. I couldn’t have run the office as a private one, but I am required to protect that asset for judicious utilization. My job was to ensure that we operated the university funds emphasizing probity, transparency and accountability. Anyway, every good accountant is seen to be high handed when he/she insists on following the rules and regulations in managing the use of funds. In most case where there’s shortage of liquidity and you can’t meet up with payment obligations they say you are wicked.
For record purposes, who was this consultant and was this heinous agreement taken down or it is still there?
Paul Adingwupu, the consultant.
The consultant was a company known as “GUCCI Chis”, her Chief Executive Officer was one Hon. Paul Adingwupu, who was foisted on the University by the erstwhile Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie. From the background that the consultant came from, evidently, there was unimaginable pressure and a compelling superficial need for the university to obey the instructions of the Executive Secretary. The contract was signed without regards to due process. Apparently, there was visible collaboration to defraud the University from very high quarters. A review of the said contract papers pointed to the fact that the financial destiny of the university had been put in the hands of a man from Agbor in Delta State. About a significant 60% of the regular inflows were diverted.
In the month of August 2014, for instance, of the N28, 949,300.00 (twenty eight million, nine hundred and forty nine thousand, three hundred naira) realized as school fees, N10.5 million and N11.5 million, were respectively paid into Zenith Bank account numbers 1013048113 and 1012568328, opened and run by Adingwupu, while only a paltry N6, 833,300.00 paid into account number 1012211387, went to the University of Calabar. Again, in the month of September, 2014, N31, 829,900.00 (thirty one million, eight hundred and twenty nine thousand, nine hundred naira) realized too as school fees, was split into these three accounts. N9, 986,400.00 (nine million, nine hundred and eighty six thousand, four hundred naira) and N11, 561,000.00 (eleven million, five hundred and sixty one thousand naira) to the consultant’s account and N5, 934,200.00 (five million, nine hundred and thirty four thousand, two hundred naira), went to the university.
The three (3) accounts so created were domiciled in Zenith bank. I discovered the fraud while investigating the transactions through the back-ends Data at the point of split settlement distribution. I called the attention of the VC who later invited the Director of ICT, the consultant and a few stakeholders for a meeting to address the matter. They said the money was meant for welfare. Wasn’t it strange that such massive diversions should be for welfare, when the resources available to meet up our financial obligations were inadequate? I needed to protect the vulnerable liquid asset of the University, so I refused to get involved in this heinous financial crime. Nevertheless, the consequential actions following that meeting and several other meetings both with Council and management resulted in putting a stop to the use of the accounts and preventing further massive malfeasance. The matter was referred, as it were, to EFCC. Quickly, I activated measures to block further plundering of the lean resources of the school. To answer your question directly, presently these accounts are not in use.
Was there any rationality behind the siphoning of these funds? No. Everyone was either afraid to confront the matter head-on or they were not ready to relinquish the associated inducement from this fraudulent process, detrimental to the growth of the university. Acting out of a compelling professional and personal conviction, I had to say no to it. The stakeholders were not comfortable with my position; after all, the welfare of all and sundry was to be covered, clearly at the expense of the majority and the institution. There was apparent need to review the agreement, reclaim fat sums of monies stolen or terminate the contract where necessary. Series of meetings were held on the matter culminating in the matter being taken to the EFCC.
For standing up against this anomaly, the die was cast and the battle line drawn; indeed, PETER AGI HAD TO GO NO MATTER WHAT. The travails began and culminated in my eventual forceful removal from office with their spurious, unproductive and unproven allegations of fraud. Sincerely there was no fraud, but a nonexistent image of fraud was created in everyone’s imagination. Isn’t this Nigeria, where corruption keeps fighting back?
I can confidently say that while I successfully stopped the contract by ensuring its termination, it cost me my job and tarnished my hard earned credibility and reputation. The truth is before the world. People are regretting. Those propagating falsehood about me evidently lack the required moral compass to talk. Truth has won its usual victory over lies. Nonetheless, a new transparent platform is currently operational. God is not mocked, His handwriting will soon be written all over this story.
The current system in use met the procurement threshold procedures and/or processes. For the benefit of hindsight, I was told the system has been compromised; although I am yet to validate that claim. All were part of the due process I institutionalized following the interesting financial intelligence efforts of my team then. I guess it assuredly allowed almost full inflow of IGR to the school. I would have consolidated on the success story, but the conspirators will not have me do it. We have all sat back and are currently witnessing the reckless extravagance or wastefulness in the use of university resources for personal aggrandizement rather than official use, the one reason the school has seemingly become an EFCC and ICPC customer.
You say the Politics in Unical is evidently dirty. Can you point us to a few instances?
I shouldn’t be compelled to do some kind of roll call of events that point us all to the fact that administrative politics in Unical is dirty. But sincerely ask around, you are a crack journalist, you will be adequately informed that there is an oppressive and repressive administration in Unical, maliciously drawn to character assassination, propaganda of falsehood and an unhealthy obsession to destroy the credibility of honest people.
You will even be shocked to hear that when several administratively backed persons in that institution become fixated on a position, they employ extreme means to get to whatever position they have eyed. It is not strange that people explore devilish means to want to remain in power; is that not dirty politics? Iwara, there is something I experienced firsthand. I walked into my office in Unical one morning and behold, five dead rats were on my table. I locked my office the previous day and went home with the keys only to return in the morning to the ugly sight of five dead rats on my table, neatly lying on my table. Or how do you describe a situation where you come to work and repeatedly meet the same owl at your door? Is it a good sign? If the diabolical approach doesn’t bring desired results, they employ negative propaganda and misapply several millions in towing an ignoble path. Or don’t you people know about the employment of police brutality and the press to wantonly intimidate people who dare to oppose or question any mischief in Unical?
Weren’t you people here when agents of the university, acting on the instructions of whoever, attacked my wife and our less than four months old baby? Wasn’t it designed to scare the hell out of me and my family? How heartless can one family man be, to attack another man’s wife and an innocent baby? Weren’t huge sums of monies paid to media organizations in this country to publicize the VC’s wicked declaration of my wife and I as wanted persons? Because of the negative consequences, people are too afraid to speak up about the underhand tactics in Unical, they prefer the long suffering silence that hangs over all of them like a thick smoke. But I can assure you that these negatives will soon get out of the way. I have simply elected to speak because we all will die only once.
Again, many point to the fact that your level of insubordination to constituted authority in the University was legendary…
(Cuts in) Let me quickly address this, insubordination implies defiance, rebellion or refusal to obey orders. On the issue of insubordination, let me state clearly that within the organizational structure of the University I was a principal officer. I was consequently expected to report to the Vice Chancellor, who necessarily should report to Council. There’s no evidence that I know, that points to insubordination. The constituted authority within the organizational structure should be the VC. At least the VC would have accordingly issued me a query if he felt I was insubordinate. On the contrary, I was a very loyal subordinate who did everything possible to show loyalty to the Vice Chancellor. The apprehension or fear leading to this unnecessary claim, if any, may have resulted from my insistence that we all operate within the confines of financial regulations. I am not aware of any known act(s) of defiance exhibited by me while I was in office. Nevertheless, there are channels for dealing with such acts; at least I would have been queried or questioned to explain why punitive actions should not have been passed on me. That was never to be.
Rightly, this speculation is callous and seeks to debase my personality and this is regrettable. In the meantime, if the vice chancellor did not at any time complain privately or officially that I disobeyed his order, then it is apparently appalling where this is coming from. How legendary the misconstrued allegations can be.
You were arrested by the police for allegedly unleashing a group of persons suspected to be cultists, on the university, please react.
All my life I have tried to be a free man not directly or indirectly associated with behaviours involving physical force, intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. I abhor savagery, violence, ruthlessness or brutality. I am credibly decent and my decency can never be associated with cultism. Why should I stoop so low as to unleash any group of persons suspected to be cultists on anybody?
The true story is that, a couple of persons were allegedly arrested and tormented to implicate me as alleged. Yet despite the horrendous efforts to force them to implicate me, they stood their grounds and showed that they had no connection to me. When the matter came up in court, the court evidently had no compelling evidence to proceed with the matter and struck it out. I didn’t unleash any group of suspected cultists on the university; the politics in Unical is evidently dirty. Their intention was to find me culpable of a crime at all cost, but God fought for me.
Do you have personal issues with the VC?
Non that I am aware of. Till this moment, I can state unequivocally that the justification for the unwarranted assault on my integrity, distinctive character albeit my personage seems bewildering. Relationship, either officially or personally, demands communication of any misgivings that may have required explanation. I couldn’t have had issues with someone who did not complain at any time that he made an exception or had a reservation concerning any attitude I must have exhibited against or contrary to his expectations. Assuming, all things considered, there was any officially, he would have issued a query unmindful of the personal relationship I had with him then. In the alternative, he would have addressed such matters, if any, unofficially, at least call my attention. Therefore, I can say that there was no issue. Most often, when I hear rumors concerning us, I rush to him to inquire apparently to get his reaction on them. My conjecture has always been to forestall issues, solve them before they degenerate to an avoidable tension level. In instances like that, he will tell me, “Exchequer don’t bother yourself, we are okay. That’s what matters”. Little did I know that he had a lot of evil plots up his sleeve.
At a point in one party, I knelt down to express my absolute loyalty to him before everybody in that gathering. Anyway, I later found out that he allegedly disclosed prior to his emergence as VC that he couldn’t work with me. The conspiracy involved key others within the group that share intense and wild enthusiasm for something I cannot explain. My insistence on following financial rules and regulations was certainly going to prevent them from achieving their goals. Aren’t those goals visible to all staff and the
So that we will be on the same page, which VC are you referring to? Again, don’t you think it was comical, desperate, even fool hardy, to kneel down before the VC as a demonstration of “absolute loyalty”?
The VC I am referring to is Professor Zana Akpagu. I built an imaginary relationship of trust with him and saw him as an elder brother not necessarily a boss. He after-all was a close ally of my brother Joe Agi, SAN. They were together in Mary Knoll College. But then the pressure of the campaign to enshrine divisiveness in our relationship was pervasive. I was pictured as being disloyal to his office. Nevertheless and evidently, there was no reaction(s) from him either to dispel the rumour or align with the position of mischief makers. He was not ready to say anything on that matter, yet I was hearing stories from the grapevine that something sinister was up his sleeve and about to happen to me. There was a while I met him to seek reassurance that all was perfect between us; yet he told me not to bother about such trivialities. Indeed, there was no effort on his part to assuage the feelings of his agents on the misrepresentations going on about my personage. Deep inside me, I felt he was in doubt about my loyalty to his exalted office. On the surface, it appeared all was well; yet we began to feel close, yet very apart from each other. Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude and deep fears, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, hands on my face and sincerely I knelt down to reassure him of my commitment to be loyal to his office. I am a Catholic and the sacrament of Love is a sacrament that’s taken kneeling down.
I was not being comical, I was pushed to my knees by the pervading pressure then that labelled me as been disloyal. It was neither comical nor desperate but a calculated reaction to reassure an elder brother and superior colleague of my firm loyalty to him. There’s a known saying that you should fall on your knees and grow, in fact he who stoops, conquers. My appearance must not outshine my master’s. My spontaneous act was not make believe, but sincere and believable commitment to loyalty.
Amazingly, twenty days after that incident, the VC bared his fangs and threw his weight behind a conspiracy that attempted to shred my integrity to pieces. I simply sat back, took in all the underhand tactics, became awed by the actions of certain actors and importantly, left everything in God’s hands. Today I would rather die standing than live kneeling down.
How do you react to the allegation that you put your wife on a trip to the USA, for a phoney workshop at the school’s expense?
It is so strange that this became an issue. The letter in question was written by the wife of the VC and addressed to the VC who did the approval. She had recommended my wife to join her in the journey to the USA. In that same letter, the wife of the then Chairman of Council was recommended. Also on the list, was the purported personal assistant to the wife of the VC. The VC gracefully approved and the transaction went through audit appraisal and subsequently payment was done to everyone on the list. It is important to say here that I was in the dark about the journey until I saw and treated the mail. When did I suddenly put my wife on the list let alone going berserk? Was it a phoney workshop? I don’t think so. There have been several workshops of this nature that we can point to in the university, this one was definitely not an exception. I met a situation, where annually, the VC graciously approves that some women in the community are selected to participate in foreign workshops. The recommendations are often at the instance of the wife of the vice chancellor. Who advised me to jettison the idea? Was the letter originated at my instance? I paid all that were recommended after the transaction passed through audit and only my wife became an issue. Did I force the VC to approve? Did I force his wife to recommend my wife for this workshop? Honestly, several attempts including this one were carried out to associate me with fraud. Unfortunately for them it failed. That matter came out in the open and the money in question was frozen because it was not time to proceed for the journey. I cannot say that others attended. Let them so prove.
Don’t you think you were illogical in refusing to vacate the Bursar’s office after you were replaced? Advised to jettison this idea, you went berserk.
There’s no iota of truth in the supposition that I refused to vacate the office after I was replaced. I had written to the school that I was detained based on the malicious petition written by the then protocol officer to the VC. Effective from the day of arranged demonstration I had not entered that office till this moment, so when did I refuse to vacate the office. In their induced delusion they broke into the office. Should they have broken into the office while I was attending to their purported allegations? Why didn’t they explore internal mechanisms to investigate the matter before going to the police? Suddenly without knowledge of Council and without any attempt to follow matters using internal conflict resolution procedures I was suspended by the VC and indeed he treacherously published it in the pages of newspapers. The Chairman of Council came out to declare that he was not aware of the suspension. Can you see the despicable level and disdainful disrespect for Council by the VC?
The protocol officer you refer to is who and what was the content of his malicious petition?
His name is Godwin Nyiam, he use to be the Protocol Officer to the VC. He was the hatchet man, hurriedly recruited by the conspirators and mobilized to execute their nefarious activities to denigrate my reputation and forcefully ensure my removal from office. They had funded him to get the press and a group of charlatans who led the demonstration against me based on allegations of nonexistent fraud. They had concurrently written a spiteful petition to the Commissioner of Police alleging as that I had acquired 8 luxury cars within a span of two years. I responded by telling them that I had two official cars (they were later taken by the university) and two other cars that were acquired prior to becoming a bursar.
They accused me of a building a massive mansion far and above my income. They suspected that I had acquired same from proceeds of crime, but they still have no evidential prove to this day.
On the allegation that I laundered some funds through my beloved wife, I had clearly addressed this issue in relation to the VCs approval based on the request from his wife in this regard.
I cringed when they said I used diabolical means to intimidate people. It was a laughable allegation based on things they saw in their restless dreams. It was also stated as part of the petition that I impersonated the VC. It was an outrageous point and it didn’t hold water.
To extinguish my career they dragged me to almost all the anti-graft agencies in this country; EFCC, ICPC, Force Headquarters, Code of Conduct Bureau etc, yet there has been evidently no case to answer. You can imagine the collective infamous capacity utilized to destroy me but GOD didn’t allow it. There is a spin to all of this that will interest you. Somewhere along the line Akpagu turned his venoms on the same person that he used to ferociously against me. Is Godwin Nyiam still with him? Karma is a bitch.
Almost everyone that contributed to his success including those he used to oust me have suffered the same fate and are regretting. Such has been the traitorous personality of the VC. As much as he has tried to wantonly and unjustifiably damage my hard earned reputation, God has fought for me and He is preserving my credibility, honour, integrity and reputation.
Akpagu claims I am arrogant and I say how? It is so difficult for people like him to distinguish between being principled and being arrogant. I sustain the momentousness of my beliefs. When I am convinced about an issue, after a painstaking evaluation process, I hardly renege on my conviction except there’s superior argument to buttress the need for a change. That’s my personality and that is what he found difficult to cope with.
You also quarreled with the media along the line why?
I didn’t quarrel with the media, rather I quarreled with the intensity of media attacks by media practitioners who were not ready to exploit the other side of the coin for balance reportage. Some of them became willing tools in pursuit of these treacherous madness resonating every now and then. Lies were acidulously propagated as truths and it was painful when you indeed knew that this was a calculated campaign of lies, orchestrated by people who should be exceptional in character and learning. When the media becomes willing tools in instances like this, you become really scared and wonder if these people operating in the media can actually become a voice for the voiceless. Lots were said about my personage and they were lies. The press was available to be used to denigrate me derogatorily. No balanced reportage. There’s no proven record of fraud associated with me to this day. All that has happened simply shows the callousness of a traitorous individual whose success story I was part of. The heart of a greedy man is indeed desperately wicked. This same man constantly sponsors the press to, in his words, rubbish me.
You took the University to court, what was the outcome of that action?
Yes, I did and that was because I realized that the conspirators were in the majority. That act of malfeasance involved a lot of people and I felt the court was the best place for arbitration at the time. My removal was illegal and offended the provisions of section 16(2) of the University of Calabar ACT. Or else how can you explain the constitution of an illegal committee to validate the illegal suspension at the time? There was no query issued to me on any issue, assuming I flaunted the policy of the school in any guise. I read about my suspension on the pages of newspapers. What has the public got to do with the internal conflicts within the university? The aim was to denigrate me. The then Council was manipulated later to validate the so called suspension. They live to regret their actions. I was never tried at any time, yet I was suspended. There’s no record of any internal effort to look into the matter. I was already in court when I was invited to attend Council committee’s investigation. My lawyer advised that it was subjudice if I attended. We therefore wrote to the school in that regard, only for a letter to be issued stating that because I refused to honor the first invitation, Council had no other option than to issue the termination, not sack letter to me. I was never at any time given fair hearing. There was no response to the letter written by the lawyer.
While still in court I appealed to the visitor to the university to look into the matter, again still following up on the matter before the court. I got an injunction restraining the university from recruiting anyone to take over my position as bursar. Yet the school dishonored that restraining order and proceeded to appoint someone. Finally the court ruled that because I had appealed to the visitor I should wait out for the reaction from the visitor. In their view, granted that justice delayed is justice denied, but justice rushed is justice crushed. I decided not to appeal that unfair ruling. I was left with the option of waiting out for the response from the visitor. This is the true position of things. I was never sacked at any time and I must state again that in the termination letter there was no indictment associating me with fraud.
Let me state again that the VC influenced the decision of the police to proceed to court despite the fact that the outcome of the investigation points to the contrary. The humiliation that followed subsequently came in droves. I was to be arrested and prevented from attending any court hearing. They got a bench warrant which was later quashed by the same court. I now only appeared before the court to be charged with building a house they suspected I built from proceeds of crime and another that I laundered money through my wife. Refer to my explanation on this matter as above. I was granted bail, met with the bail conditions and the intrigues that followed before I was released is a story for another day. How they declared me and my wife wanted on national newspapers just for no reason?
Did the University’s Governing Council make any effort to step into this matter?
Yes. You can imagine that at the height of this unbridled, indeed uncontrollable wickedness, shown me by the VC, they dangled the carrot of negotiation before me. The Chairman of Council, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu suggested that I resign and take up a lecturing job or they will terminate my appointment. I sincerely rejected the options of resigning or taking up the lecturing job and instead accepted the termination. Surprised? They wanted to put me in a compromised position and then succinctly destroy me. If I am not good enough to be Bursar, why offer me a lecturing job? What I was confronted with was an integrity situation, one I needed to sincerely stand up to so that the VC and his ilk will not nail me to the cross. It will be hard for you to even understand that the VC put me under immense, even perpetual pressure for four straight years and even though the state governor and other elders within and outside the state made attempts to resolve the matter, the man resolutely committed himself to damaging my career path. I am convinced that he is only man and not God, he certainly is on the verge of leaving the university as VC, there is indeed a bigger world outside where our paths may cross and maybe roles may have reversed.
With so much seemingly stacked against you, do you think you will ever get a fair hearing and return to the institution as Bursar?
I have no reason to be desperate; it is not in my character. At the appointed time, I shall get fair hearing and return to the institution as Bursar, my believe is sacrosanct. If God however has another plan for me, I cannot question Him? I am prepared to wait for the manifestation of his promises upon my life. I see this experience, painful though, as a necessary preparation for greater things ahead. I know that talking to you Iwara is necessary to correct the misrepresentation, miscommunication, misconception, misunderstanding, mischievously misconstrued pictures of me put before the world. This is the time and hour to begin to speak. I need to set the records straight. Most people don’t know me, they judge me based on the wrong messages that the press and agents of the VC pass across to them. Where necessary I shall indeed still speak again.
It has been a pleasure talking with you. I hope if matters do arise, you will be favourably disposed to talking with me again?
It will be my pleasure.