BY::VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
A renowned scholar and long standing administrator in the University of Calabar, Prof. Offiong Effanga Offiong, has said that he will reintroduce the old committee system of administration if elected as Vice Chancellor in the forthcoming election.
This is a system where every lecturer, professors and staff will all be engaged by contributing their own quota in the day to day running of the administration instead of allowing the Vice Chancellor to do the whole thing.
Prof. Offiong disclosed this in Calabar while speaking with newsmen on his intention to vie for the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar.
He declared “when the system is getting very large, there is the tendency of getting negative media reports. One way or solving the problem is to go back to the original system of running the University which is the committee system. From the level of councils there will be committees, in the Senate also there will be committees, Faculties will have theirs. So what that means is nobody will be left out. In one way or the other you will be contributing your own quota in the running of the University”,
According to him, “If I am elected as Vice Chancellor, I am going to institutionalise the Committee System of running the day to day administration of the University which had proved to have been the best approach. It is not going to be a one man or VC show any longer as usual. It is sa3id many good heads are better than one, and of course in a place like the University, there are many good heads and if we annex them, we would be able to synergies to build a strong, dynamic and robust university”.
“As you are aware, there was an advert,sometimes in May declaring the office vacant. Obviously from the first of December, the incumbent VC, Prof. Zana Akpagu will cease to be the Vice Chancellor of the University.”
As an alumnus of the University, he added, “if I am given an opportunity, I will consolidate on most of his achievements and would be able to move the University forward particularly now that the talk about ranking of universities world wide.”
Offiong said as the Vice Chancellor, he would projected the University because it is in Cross River state in a way that it can in turn bring in alot of development into our state. Why am I saying this, I am sure most of you have heard about Cambridge university and university of Oxford, Harvard and Sandford etc”
“These are not just university towns or cries but they have also become a tourist attraction in those locations where the universities are. You can also understand the spinning effects on the economy of those locations. So I think I also have a commitment beyond been an alumnus and as indigene of the state to build and project that which belongs to us at the level of these universities we have in UK and America. I may sound very ambitious, but we can achieve it.”,
He said, ” It will not take me alot to do this because I am a true scholar. If you look at my profile, “God prepared me for my academics from my primary days. I had a distinction in my primary school and secondary school I also had grade One . In the University I passed with a 1st Class. The juvenile tendency in us then did not allow us know what is called a 1st class. I had my PhD and Prof between the ages 26 and 29 years,he added”,
“I think there is what God wants to use me for. He wants to use what he had prepared me for to leverage on our university and move this university forward to an enviable height that other universities would now wonder how is Calabar been suddenly transformed. When I graduated in 1984, I did my primary assignment n the University of Ibadan and it is a melting point of many graduates and post graduate level and I was interacting with senior lecturers and I was not found wanton. As a matter of fact, I left an indelible mark in the minds of lecturers in that University.”
Explaining further more, he said,” I am saying this because this is the same university that trained me and I believe that University has other great scientists and scholar like myself. All what they need is academic leadership. I am going to provide the most purposeful driven academic leadership for the University of Calabar community. Gone are the days when people will just come in sign their names and leave. Everybody will be meaningful and purposefully engaged.”0
According to him, “there is a lot to be done in the University. So much to be done even though they say there are so many people in the system, all of them can be gainful engaged and all will be for the most common purpose of moving our University forward and building it through as a true Ivory Tower where truth will championed through Research, true teaching and community service. I would also like to mention that most of you knew me as early as 1993 when I was elected as ASUU Vice chairman Unical branch so you have also associated with me as a labour leader in the system which I held for many years.”
He said “the experience I gathered would also come very handy in resolving alot of labour matters that have been left Unattended over the years. And when the staff have job satisfaction which I am sure by the grace of God I will provide and their demands are also met everybody will join the wagon of been a university worker and we would have achieved the purpose of moving the the University forward”.
He said “I believe that with God been on my side we will achieve this mission and as a ruling Elder of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, I trust and believe in God .He will see me through in this journey”.
Offiong went further to say that there are parameters to rank universities which include thecalibre of scholars in the University and how feasible they are in the international community, how are their research products reported in local journals or high impact journals.
Others include, linkages and most importantly is how much grants scholars of universities are able to attract.
He promised if elected as Vice Chairman to ensure that there is an enabling environment that would not only retain most of the scholars that we have in the system we must also attract other scholars from outside to come into our university to do their research in Calabar .we don’t seem to have that for now for many years, he regretted.
Unical, he said, suppose to attract even people in Humanity,,research in Culture, research in agriculture and archeology . These things are lacking and me and my team will restore and encourage more research works.
Under my leadership, “I will also train people on how to source for grants. In most modern universities even in Nigeria, you need constant supply of electricity and internet connectivity . You can not talk about feasibility when your lecturers and your staff are not seen in the net. Yea, some were able to use their personal resources to get connected but what is wrong when you enter a university and the internet welcome you? That is a very wonderful way of publicising the University”,
“My administration is going to introduce a lot of hard work. Those who know me can attest that I work hard that is why some of my staff are not very happy because I drive people to work very hard. The five years of my stay in the University as VC would be five years of hard work, but at the end everybody will be very happy”,
He declared “when you work hard and people are celebrating you, you will also be happy that you have achieved something.”