All Progressive Congress, APC, Cross River State Chapter, has become the toast of the academics as over six professors aspiring for the position of Vice-Chancellor of University of Calabar (UNICAL) have declared for the ruling party.
Following the UNICAL Governing Council declaration of the position of Vice-Chancellor vaccant, about ten professors have indicated interest to replace the incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof Zana Akpagu, whose tenure ends on December 1, 2020.
The Professors include Joseph Asor (Biological Science); Offiong Offiong (Chemistry); Ndiyo Ayara (Economics); Francis Bisong (Geography) and Florence Obi, (Education) former Commissioner for women Affairs, and former Deputy VC Academics.
Others are Professors Stella Effah Attoe ( History and International Studies), Patrick Asuquo (Education Administration); Eyong Ubana (current Dean, Basic Medical Sciences), Benedict Ita (Chemistry) and Anne Asuquo (Medical Microbiology)
Cliqng investions revealed that the race for the coveted seat took a political dimension when, during consultations, most of them were told plainly by some power-brokers in Abuja to either join APC or forget their ambition.
And not ready to take chances, about six aspirants including Professors Ndiyo Ayara, Offiong Offiong, Florence Banku Obi and Patrick Asuquo have officially joined APC as one of the political pre-conditions.
While Prof Ayara was said to have declared for APC last Saturday at Ito-Edere ward in Odukpani local government area, Prof Offoing joined at ward 12 in Calabar Calabar South and Prof Florence from Bansan community declared at Ogep ward in Boki local government area just as Prof Asuquo was said to have joined from his Akampka local government area.
All these new entrants are said to have been officially added to the official Cross River APC WhatsApp platform, an indication that they have been admitted into the ruling fold.
But before now, Prof Joe Asor is said to have joined the party since 2015 and have participated in party activities from his Ekureku ward in Abi to state and national level.
A member of the state APC Executive Committee, who don’t want his name in print, confirmed that some of the professors vying for the UNICAL Vice-Chancellor position has joined the party and have been received by the party leadership.
He said:”I can confirm to you that some professors including Ayara, Asuquo, Offiong and Florence are now officially our party members. Prof Asor has been worh is for years. We are happy to have such intellectuals in our midst as it would boost our credibility and chances in the next poll.
“Already the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof Zana Akpagu, a senatorial aspirant, is an APC man. So, it is possible that most of them may have been told to join our party if they want favour from the leadership. I think it is in order. “
Reacting to new power game with regard to who becomes the next Vice Chancellor, the Coordinator of UNICAL Stakeholders Forum, Comrade Agbor Samuel Agbor, said it is unfortunate that the tussles have taken this political dimension and added that he cannot blame the contestants as it has been the trend.
Agbor, a senior administrative officer, said: “Well, it has become part of our political norm to consult politicians in time as this. So the academics have also learnt to be part of the macro-politicking. I am optimistic the Governing Council would put merit ahead of every other considerations.”