The University of Calabar (fondly called UNICAL) was first established as the Calabar campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). It was in 1975 that the Federal Military Government announced Unical as a full-fledged academic institution. On that note, the university started operating as an autonomous institution without affiliation to UNN. Unical is ranked among second generation universities in Nigeria and over the years, the university has maintained a prime position among its peers.
With the 10th substantive Vice Chancellor, Professor Zana I. Akpagu serving in the twilight of his administration, the headhunting has already begun to get another intellectual egghead to fill the impending vacancy. It is instructive to note that the future of any ivory tower depends on its leadership capacity to meet the intricate needs of the students, academic and non-academic staff alike.
Unical has evolved overtime and in this age of specialization and career-based education, the institution would need a man with a Renaissance mindset to reposition it to fit for purpose as the fourth industrial revolution beckons. It would need an inspiring leader who has the ability to connect with – and command the respect – of diverse people across the institution and beyond.
In that wise, Professor Joseph Ele Asor has emerged as one of the most incredible minds, embodying and epitomizing the high standard of intellectual skills, moral discipline and ethical grounding. Joseph Asor is a groundbreaking zoologist and a dominant intellect in the parasitological revolution. He is a scientist of scientists, a man whose career is dazzling in content, oozing in fulfillment and littered with a huge catalogue of heroic achievements.
Professor Asor exemplifies one of the very best in the intellectual community in Nigeria today having started his public service career from the low rung of the ladder as a secondary school teacher between 1986 and 1990 in Agbo Comprehensive Secondary School, Egboronyi in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State. The erudite professor built his career from bottom-up with an appreciable progression to the zenith.
Born on 19th June, 1963 under the cascading ambience of the ancient Ekureku Clan in his homestead of Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State, Professor Joseph Asor had shown very early that he was on an upward trajectory in life. As a precocious child, he blazed through his primary education with flying colours when he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) from Primary School Ekurekube, Ekureku in Abi Local Government Area in 1975.
Joseph Asor grew up with a brilliant and receptive mind which saw him sparkled like a flawless effervescent diamond at the famous Mary Knoll College, Okuku, Ogoja where he obtained his West African School Certificate in 1980. Between 1980 and 1984, he was an undergraduate student at the University of Port Harcourt where he exhibited unparalleled quality and excellence in character and learning. Within the aforesaid period, Professor Asor studied and obtained a B.Sc (Hons) Degree in Zoology.
He had a one year stint as a lecturer at the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Education, Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State during his National Youth Service Program between 1984 and 1985. The young Joseph Ele Asor (as he then was) acted timeously on the wisdom of Toni Payne who said, “Knowledge is the new rich, arm yourself with it.” To that end, he returned to the University of Port Harcourt in 1987 where he transcended records and expectations at the Department of Zoology and obtained M.Sc in Zoology specializing in Parasitology in 1989.
Not done yet, Joseph Asor took his academic career up a notch when he scaled the Ph.D in Zoology huddle maintaining his research interest in Parasitology at the University of Port Harcourt in 1995 with regal ease. Indeed he is a man who envisioned a career in the academia, by dint of hard work, avowed commitment and matchless assuidity he stayed the course and the world is better for it. He had been propelled by an undying vision for intellectualism and he gave his all and best to achieve it. Professor Joseph E. Asor is a true inspiration to academics everywhere.
His calling is to teach, his profession is to research, his passion is to inspire people out of the valley of despair and despondency, and his vocation is to fan the embers of knowledge with blazing light. For Professor Joseph Asor, professionalism and patriotism must work hand in gloves like Siamese twins in order to engender an egalitarian society. He has admirably, consistently and conscientiously demonstrated integrity as the fulsome content of his character which he believes must be the immutable nucleus of intellectual orchestrations.
Professor Asor had an ample time of 6 years between 1990 and 1996 as a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, The Polytechnic Calabar (now Cross River University of Technology – CRUTECH). He joined the services of the University of Calabar in 1996 as Lecturer II and has since risen through the ranks to the peak as a Professor in the Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology.
His scholarly depth is unassailable and his managerial capacity is phenomenal. Truly, Asor personifies the statutory requirements to lead a pacesetting institution like the University of Calabar at this auspicious time in history. The highly cerebral Professor conjugates an uncommon dimension of intellectual erudition and a rare administrative prowess.
As a thoroughbred researcher, Professor Asor has numerous publications to his credit in major local and international scholarly refereed journals. He has authored and co-authored 5 books in his area of expertise. The very brilliant Professor has attended several conferences, workshops and seminars where he is also a regular speaker at some of those events.
Professor Joseph Asor comes with a good dose of experience in tertiary education administration to provide inspiring leadership and effective management to the University of Calabar. Between 1999 and 2002, Joseph Asor was on leave of absence from the University of Calabar to Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture (now Cross River University of Technology, Obubra Campus) as the Rector.
From 2001 to 2003, Professor Asor was Member, Governing Council, Cross River University of Technology, Calabar and subsequently served as Member, Governing Council, Cross River State College of Education, Akamkpa from 2010 to 2014. From 1999 to 2003, he was Member, Accreditation Team of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for the Accreditation of National Diploma and Higher National Diploma Programs offered in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria.
Asor has been deeply involved in various administrative and managerial functions in the University of Calabar and at every given opportunity; the distinguished Professor has proven his leadership mettle. He served as Head, Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology between 2013 and 2014. At various times, he served as Dean: Student Affairs Division (2006 – 2011), Faculty of Science (2014-2016) and Faculty of Biological Sciences (2016-2018). Professor Joseph Asor is loyal to constituted authority, diligent to duties and faithful to friendship.
He has also served in various capacities including chairman or member of several committees in the University of Calabar. Professor Joseph Asor has been a Member of the Senate of the University of Calabar since 2006 to date.
Professor Joseph Asor has become an indispensable resource person at the National Universities Commission (NUC) having served on many occasions as either chairman or member of the Accreditation Panel of the commission to different universities in the country. The commission has found Joseph Asor’s contributions to its activities invaluable in promoting quality education in Nigeria.
Besides being accessible and accommodating, Professor Joseph Asor takes his students’ queries seriously. No wonder, many students have asserted that he has made significant difference to their lives. His graduate students, well-trained under his nurturing and rigorous tutelage, have gone on to become productive scholars. Professor Asor has supervised many post-graduate students at both M.Sc and Ph.D levels.
In his more than 28 years long career, Professor Joseph Asor has made outstanding contributions to teaching, research and community service. He has severally been an external examiner and professorial assessor to many Nigerian universities.
Given his broad disposition to entrepreneurship, creativity, resourcefulness and philanthropic spirit, Professor Asor has made commendable strides in using his network and goodwill to attract grants/funds to the University of Calabar at different times.
With laurels, awards, appreciations and commendations adorning his treasure chest, including a letter of commendation from the then Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke for contributing to the Educational Development of the State; particularly towards the establishment of CRUTECH, Professor Asor is unarguably a symbol of patriotism.
Joseph Asor is a member of some professional associations, including Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria, Nigerian Environmental Society, Zoological Society of Nigeria, among others.
Professor Asor is naturally endowed with commendable interpersonal relationship skills. He is affable, reliable and dependable. His humility, adroitness and sagacity obviously betray his humane perspective to life which is exceptional and legendary. The Professor values strategic communications and intellectual engagements which he has deployed successfully in his personal and official life.
He is happily married to his heartthrob, Dr (Mrs) Love Joseph Asor and they are blessed with 3 children – two daughters and a son in the mix.
Joseph Ele Asor is unarguably a Professor with bountiful curriculum vitae and he is deserving of the Office of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar. He is indeed fit and proper to provide the desired leadership to the University of Calabar for the next 5years.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Missang Oyama and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
Oyama is a Social Commentator. He writes from Abuja via email@example.com, and tweets via MissangOyama05.
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