As the tenure of current vice chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof Zana Akpagu ends on December 1, 2020; about nine professors have signified interest in the top job.
The interested candidates include Prof. Offiong Offiong of the department of chemistry: Prof. Joseph Asor (biological science); Prof. Ndiyo Ayara (economics); Prof Francis Bisong (geography), Prof Florence Obi, (education) as well as the former commissioner for women affairs and erstwhile deputy vice chancellor academics.
Others are Prof. Patrick Asuquo (education administration); Prof. Eyong Ubana (English); Prof. Benedict Ita (chemistry) and Prof Anne Asuquo (medical microbiology).
As at yesterday, university sources said all the nine aspirants have picked forms indicating interest since the governing council had recently declared the position of vice chancellor vacant and listed 11 conditions for the aspirants.
Some of the requirements state that the candidate must be 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.
The candidate is also expected to be 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 December 1, 2020.
Dr Emmanuel Peter, a friend of the university said, “it is too early to call on who are the top contenders as the race has just started and most of the aspirants are busy consulting and lobbying.
“However one thing that has always played a major role in deciding who becomes the vice chancellor of the university is the politics of ethnicity cutting across the three senatorial districts of the state”.
He argued that “sometimes within a particular senatorial district the ethnic politics is reduced to tribe or local government as, for instance the outgoing VC was favoured by his kinsman, Governor Ben Ayade to ensure that an Obudu son occupies the prestigious seat for the first time just as his predecessor, Prof James Epoke from Abi had emerged when Senator Liyel Imoke was governor”.
Though some persons are ruling out ethnic factor in this race, sources however said one cannot rule out ethnic factor.
“It played a major role in the past and will play same this time around but may not necessarily be from where the governor comes from”.