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A toast to Unical 'Mr. Project'


BY UBONG INYANG

Unarguably, Prof. Zana Akpagu has been phenomenal since he mounted the saddle as the first alumnus Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar. More than three years down the line, the institution has become one of the most sought-after tertiary institutions in the country. 

Prof. Zana Akpagu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar

The erudite and versatile Professor of Modern languages has indeed taken the institution out of the woods by placing it on a higher pedestal for effective service delivery. In fact, the tremendous progress the citadel of learning has witnessed during Akpagu’s reign has given everyone the reason to believe that he is the long awaited messiah with the Midas touch for the transformation of UNICAL. 

This belief is however hinged on the fact that he is propelled by the passion of an alumnus to ensure that the institution takes its pride of place among the comity of varsities in the country.
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To accentuate his priority on education, after nipping the menace of cultism in the bud, Akpagu has embarked on massive curriculum expansion by introducing new and marketable programmes like Music, Fine & Applied Arts, Tourism & Hospitality, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Engineering, Mass Communication & Digital Studies, Architecture, Estate Management and Evaluation, Surveying & Geo-informatics, Urban & Regional Planning, Physiotherapy, Food, Science & Technology, and Criminology & Anti-Terrorism Studies, among others.

This thoughtful expansion of academic programmes has attracted commendations from eminent Nigerians including Paramount Rulers of the institution’s host communities. 

During pre-convocation visits to palaces of Paramount Rulers, the Vice Chancellor had received avalanche of commendations for his exemplary and visionary leadership. One of such commendations came from the Chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, His Royal Majesty, (Dr) Etiyin Etim Okon Edet who lauded the Vice Chancellor for transforming UNICAL into a world class tertiary institution.

The Monarch said he is impressed with the developmental strides of the Vice Chancellor especially the massive curriculum expansion through the introduction of new faculties and programmes
In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech at the 32nd Convocation Ceremony of the institution expressed delight with Akpagu’s strides, even as he commended him for the massive curriculum expansion, which he said, was in tandem with the needs of our national development.

These have boosted Akpagu’s towering profile. It has indeed showed that he is the man with the magic wand whose wonderful performance as Vice Chancellor would surely leave indelible footprints on the sands of time.

It is also common knowledge that Prof. Akpagu has blazed the trail in the area of infrastructure.  He has turned the institution into a huge construction site. So many projects embarked upon by his administration has been completed, a commendable feat, which has earned him the title ‘Mr. Projects’. 

A random listing of some of the completed projects which has been of immense benefits to both staff and students would here suffice:  Construction of 500-seat Godswill Akpabio lecture pavilion for Faculty of Engineering; Construction of Laboratory, Resource Room and Library for Department of Dentistry; construction of Department of Physics workshop; construction of Dance Studio for the Department of Theatre Arts; construction of Packaged water treatment plant and connection to the central water supply system; construction of Elevated water tank at the staff village; construction of classrooms and offices for the Institute of Education, construction of Ultra-modern parking lot in the University of Calabar, construction and Furnishing of 1-Storey Capacity Chemistry Laboratory and Classrooms building, construction and Furnishing of 1-Storey Capacity Chemistry Laboratory, Classrooms building and a Dental Laboratory.

It is however not possible to articulate the cumulative magnitude of Akpagu’s developmental strides in the last three years in one piece. But it is safe to say that his administration has been a huge blessing. With all these remarkable achievements, one will suggest that successive administrations should take a cue from Akpagu’s pragmatic and value-driven leadership if the tempo of development in UNICAL must be sustained.



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