Since Prof. Zana Akpagu emerged as the 10th Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, it has been one sucess story to another. The erudite varsity administrator has broken many records and set new ones which may take his successor a decade to equal his records.
His emergence in 2015 as the 10th VC of the institution was a record in itself. Aside the fact that 10 is a unique number, his emergence became the first time in the history of Unical for an alumnus to become a Vice Chancellor after over 40 years of its existence.
Aside this, Akpagu is today the first person from the northern senatorial of Cross River State to mount the saddle as Vice Chancellor. This is even as he holds the record as an erthswhile Commissioner for Education in Cross River State to rise to the position of Vice Chancellor.
Despite creating personal records, the workaholic VC has not rested on his oars to ensure that the institution takes its pride of place among the comity of varsities in the country. He has upped the ante in terms of sustainable policies and all round development, a commendable feat that will always go down in the annals of history.
In terms of physical infrastructural development, Prof. Akpagu has completed more projects than any other VC in the history of Unical in just 37 months. Records have shown that he has embarked on over 30 projects with about 80% completion rate. The remaining 20% are currently at different levels of completion.
Statistically, his project ratio per month since he assumed office is 1.1. That’s to say, if the number of months he has been in power is divided by the number of projects he has executed, it would mean that he completes or start a new project at least every month!
Similarly, in terms of curricula expansion, apart from the programmes established at the birth of the University about 43 years ago, Prof. Akpagu has created more marketable programmes than any other VC in recent times. In just three years, he has created four new faculties and many new programmes and department.
The faculties are, Pharmacy, Engineering, Environmental Science and Dentistry.
The many programmes include, Music, Mass Communication and Digital Media, Fine and Applied Arts, Tourism and Hospitality, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Civil, Electrical, Chemical and Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Estate Management and Evaluation, Surveying and Geo-informatics, Urban and Regional Planning, Physiotherapy, Food Science and Technology, Criminology and Anti-Corruption Studies.
No VC has achieved this level of curricula expansion in Unical. In fact, it was surprising that a second generation University like Unical hadn’t some of these programmes till Prof. Akpagu came on board.
Akpagu has achieved all these notwithstanding the harsh economic reality of the country. When you consider that he did most of the things at a time Nigeria was faced with one of its worst recession in history, you would have nothing but admiration and respect for him.
As if all these things are not enough, as if the University became extraordinarily rich under his watch, Akpagu has matched his achievements with an uncommon feat of organizing convocation every single year since he assumed office.
The next month’s convocation will be the fourth one in a row since the inception of his administration. From 1990 till date, there’s no administration that has achieved this milestone. The highest any VC has gone in recent times is two before the expiration of their tenures but how Akpagu has managed to do this yearly despite the lean finances at his disposal remains a mystery to many.
Interestingly, the convocation has not come without goodies for Unical. His first convocation in 2016, the University for the first time honoured two illustrious sons of Cross River. Former Governor Donald Duke and Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa. The duo instantly instituted an endowment fund of N5 million for five years.
In the second year, Prof. Akpagu brought some top personalities again to grace the convocation one of whom is a business tycoon and Chairman of Dozie Group of Companies, Sir Daniel Nwanneka Chukwo Dozie.
Dozie who was one of those awarded a doctorate degree (Honorary Causa ) promised to build an ultramodern building for the faculty of Engineering. The building is currently at advanced stage.
And the third consecutive convocation which was Unical’s 31st convocation held last year, Akpagu attracted top Nigerians including the then Minority Leader of Senate and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sen. Goddswill Akpabio. He (Akpabio) and others too have made different contribution to the development of Unical.
Arrangements are now in top gear to make this year’s convocation which is the first time Unical will be having four consecutive convocation even better, greater and more rewarding for the university.
Indeed, Prof. Akpagu has moved Unical to an enviable height that is competing favourably today with universities not just in Nigeria but the world by effortlessly doing things which were previously considered impossible!
Without doubt, his remaining years in office will make Unical grow bigger, better and greater!
Inyali Peter is the Publisher of Fearlessreports.com and wrotes from Calabar.
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