By Inyali Peter
The investigation of the former Bursar of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Peter Agi had seen dozens of petitions from almost every quarter of the Varsity with that of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) causing more havoc CrossRiverWatch findings reveal.
The eleven page petition signed by the Chairman of the union, Dr. Tony Eyang as well as the Secretary Dr. Jones Akung and dated September 27, 2016 had about nine allegations of impunity, extreme disregard of the need for accountable behavior to individuals and established units and functionaries within the system.
The union which accused agi of “Mindless and Unconscionable Rudeness to Professors, Functionaries, Colleagues and Staff” which was described as “unforgivable” and noted that the ex-bursar activities were essentially and most unacceptably, vitiated the objectives of the Union’s grim struggles for improved funding for the University as he (Agi) was working in ways that stifled the development of academic activities, discouraged academic initiative, frustrate otherwise very committed staff and endangered scholarship in the university.
ASUU had alleged that the profundity of Agi’s sense of self-esteem was quite legendary as his arrogance according to the document was overbearing. When he was not directly insulting staff according to ASUU, he was cutting down on well considered approval made the Vice chancellor. This implies that Agi, consistently arrogated to himself superior approval powers to that of the Vice Chancellor who according to the act establishing the varsity, is the Chief Executive and Chief Accounting Officer.
The union described the act as unacceptable and absolutely new and strange to the university. It went further to allege that after his re-approval, payments were not dictated by availability of funds but by the whims and caprices of the Bursar; a situation which the ASUU regarded as the highest level of insubordination, betrayal of trust and sheer wickedness.
Similarly, Agi came under serious scrutiny over what the Union called “Deliberate Withholding and Often Discriminatory Release of Approved and Legitimate Entitlements of Staff and Units”. This accusation is more of an abuse of office as the ex-bursar was into the habit of releasing legitimate staff entitlement only when it pleases without recourse to datelines. Some staff entitlements were held for over three years for no meaningful reason other than his mood and pleasure.
For instance, under Agi, honoraria due to staff who participated in PGDM, MBA 1 and MBA 11 (Second Semester, 2013/2014 session), PGDM, MBA1 and MBA11 (First Semester, 2014/2015 session), Current/Teaching (First Semester, 2014/2015), Public Admin (First Semester 2014/2015), Marketing (Second Semester, 2014/2015) and Sandwich, August 2015 contact etc was upheld till Agi met his Waterloo.
Staff development through conferences and workshops became practically impossible as Agi deliberately denied them access to approved funds to engage in further studies or attend development programs which not only weakened the varsity but denied them access to places where scholars gathered to share ideas ASUU alleged.
His actions also showed he knew little or nothing about the basic requirements for strengthening of academic programs and the improvement of quality of teaching staff or he was out to sabotage to the development of the institution the petition read.
Scholars under TETFUND Scholarship were made to abandon their projects due to Agi’s deliberate refusal to release their legal entitlements as well as not releasing funds for the development of academic programs which made some Heads of Department, especially those with partial accreditation to go borrowing in many occasions to address the basic needs for accreditation which led to the union concluding he was ignorant of the rate of implication of a loss of accreditation for the university, staff, students and their parents and the entire university community.
Findings have also revealed that contrary to insinuations that the incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu may have masterminded Agi’s removal, ASUU was the first body in the university that raised the alarm over Agi’s overbearing attitude. This was captured in the concluding part of the report against Agi.
“It is regrettable that the university was indeed tardy in dealing with the matter. Had it firmly addressed the issues when our union raised them earlier in its protests to both the university Administration and the Governing Council, the university might have been saved the extended agony it has now experienced in the hands of that official,” part of the Union’s petition read.
CrossRiverWatch also gathered from reliable sources that the joint investigative committee relied heavily on the ASUU report, which was more indicting and incriminating.
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