Akpagu's Magic : See highlights of Unical VC's developmental strides in 3 and half years.

By Inyali peter


Prof zana Akpagu

Whenever a new administration comes into power, expectations are usually high because it is expected to right the wrongs of the previous administration and reposition it for effective service delivery. Owing to this high expectations, people often than not set agenda for a new administration all in a bid to ensure it hits the ground running and effect necessary changes within the shortest possible time.

While some administration are phenomenal from the beginning, others take time to fully settle before delivering on the much needed change craved for by the masses.

Prof Zana Akpagu, the first alumnus Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar has on assumption of office hits the ground running with landmark achievements. Stakeholders and the entire University Community have every reason to congratulate themselves and feel proud that they made the right choice. The erudite Professor of French has brought smiles to people’s faces especially staff and students.

For those who have been following the activities of the University closely, it was not a surprise when students rated him recently as the best VC ever in the history of the institution. Perhaps, his performances and drive to change the narrative is not unconnected to his allegiance as an alumnus of the prestigious university.

Akpagu, despite assuming office at a time the nation was going through one of her worst recessions of all time, he has been phenomenal. He is leaving indelible marks in the areas of infrastructure and development, programs expansion, security, among others. Gradually, the University is becoming a huge construction sites as he has radically transformed the Unical from a second to a 21st generation university.

In less than four years, Akpagu has touched virtually every area in the University - ranging from Sports, Security, Alumni relations, Campus aesthetics, Expansion of curriculum offerings,  Staff and Students welfare, infrastructure amongst others.

See below, highlights of some of this achievements presented in themes:

Expansion of Infrastructural Development : Construction, Supplies and Rehabilitation

• Construction of 500-seater pavilion for faculty of Engineering

• Construction of Laboratory, Resource room and Library for faculty of Dentistry

• Construction of Department of Physics Workshop

• Construction of Dance Studio for Department of Theatre, Film and Carnival Studies

• Construction of packaged water treatment plant and connection to the central water supply system

• Construction of ultramodern parking lot

• Construction and furnishing of 1-storey capacity Chemistry Laboratory and classroom building

• Construction and furnishing of 1-storey capacity Physics Laboratory and classroom building

• Construction of classrooms and offices for Institute of Education

• Construction of elevated water tank at the staff village

• Construction of Post graduate hostel.

• Construction of faculty office for the faculty of education

• Construction and furnishing of 1-storey Education complex building (inclusive of classrooms, offices, Laboratories and conference room)

• Construction and furnishing of 350 computer capacity laboratory building

• Construction of drainages

• Renovation and equipping of Lecture rooms, laboratories and studios

• Provision and expansion of teaching and research equipments to faculties and departments

• Supply of library books to faculties

• Supply of central gas to the faculties of physical and biological sciences

• Supply of 2000 lecture theatre seats with swivel writing pads

• Supply of (500) 8-spring double bunk beds and (3000) 8-spring mattresses

•Procurement of (1) 30-seater bus (2) Toyota Hilux and (1) Hiace bus

• Rehabilitation works in hall 8&9 (Female hostels)

• Rehabilitation works in hall 4 (male hostels)

• Rehabilitation of work-tops in some laboratories in the college of Medical Sciences, Sciences and Agriculture

• Refurbishing and completion of abandoned building for department of Fine Arts, Music and Mass Communication.


SPORTS DEVELOPMENT

• Formation of a Board for UNICAL Sports Council

 • Commencement of work on the lawn tennis
court
• Flagging off of a keep-fit exercise programme

 • Introduction of the Vice Chancellor football Club Competition

•  FIFA Graded Referee

•  Winning Laurels

•  Attracting External donations

•   Reviving of Malabor World Cup(MAWOC)

•  Formation of a female Soccer team

SECURITY

•  Improved Security on Campus

•  The issue of acute shortage of security personnel is being addressed with the employment of 17 new security staff

•  Provision of  three (3) serviceable patrol vehicles mounted with relevant security accessories/equipments

•  Provision of necessary security equipments like Matches, touch lights, rain capes etc

• Provision of new set of uniform for all security personnel

•  Re-enforcement of internal security with about 30 armed Policemen  patrolling the Staff quarters on 24 hours basis and other vulnerable points on campus

• 90 % completion of a Police station building at the staff quarters to checkmate violent crimes like Kidnapping and armed robbery

•  Securing approval from the Chief of Naval Staff for the establishment of a naval security post and Jetty at the Qua River axis of UNICAL to checkmate violent crimes on the waterways.

• Unprecedented promotion of security staff.

•  Special promotion of security staff who exhibited extra-ordinary
gallantry in the execution of their duty

•  Erection of new security posts at new faculties and departments

IMPROVEMENT IN ALUMNI RELATIONS

•   Unification of the entire alumni body

•   Elevation of UNICAL alumni to a Directorate

•   Identification with the various UNICAL alumni branches across the federation

• Renewed interest in alumni activities manifested in springing up of several branches

•  A period marked by the recognition an elevation of many alumni in various fields of human endeavor

•  Alumni enrichment of Departments by visiting alumnus

CAMPUS AESTHETICS/ REBRANDING

•    Shuttle Park

•    Hogan Bassey parking lot

•   Landscaping and planting of ornamental plants

 •  Uniform color of the University structures

 •  Upgrading of UNICAL main gate

 •   Upgrading facilities in the Senior Staff Club

IMPROVEMENT IN CAMPUS MUNICIPAL SERVICES

•       Campus Shuttle service
•       Improved Water Supply
•       Move to up constant power supply
•       Recreational facilities
•       Improved Campus traffic

EXPANSION OF CURRICULUM OFFERINGS/ ACADEMIC VISIBILITY

• Expansion of the academic curricula by the introduction of new and marketable programmes like Music, Fine and Applied Arts, Tourism and Hospitality, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Engineering, Mass Communication and
Digital Studies, Architecture, Estate Management and Evaluation,
Surveying and Geo-informatics, Urban and Regional Planning, Physiotherapy, Food Science and Technology and Criminology and Anti-corruption studies

•   Increase in the number of faculties from 12-16

 •  A hundred per cent accreditation of programmes to the National
 Universities Commission (NUC) for re accreditation

• Establishment of a ranking and visibility committee

• Elevation of UNICAL to centre of excellence (CEO) human resources for health management training across the country

SUSTENANCE OF EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING, LEARNING AND RESEARCH

•  Sustained increase in the tempo of academic activities like Faculty conferences, public lectures, departmental lectures, institute
lecturers and over 16 Inaugural lectures

• Creation of innovators club

•  Creation of a Quality Assurance/ Control unit domiciled in the Directorate of Research and Quality Assurance

• Setting up of Quality Assurance ambassadors in the faculties

STAFF AND STUDENTS WELFARE

• Uninterrupted peace and stability on campus attributed to proactive interaction with students

•  Unprecedented swift response to issues affecting students

•  Enthusiastic about set targets for addressing complaints

•  Commissioning of laundry bay to aid laundry challenges

•  Rehabilitation of the female scholarship hostel for use

•  Massive rehabilitation of hall six which was long abandoned. Now ready for use

•  Instituting an enviable culture for sanitation of the hostels which involves not only paid staff but volunteer students

• Adding value to the hostels through massive landscaping, tiling, re-piping, re-wiring, constant supply of cleaning materials, evacuation of sewage, de- silting of soak-away and delivery of over 3000 mattresses

•  Easing of obtaining accommodation in the hostels through an electronic platform that is linked to the payment portal

DEVELOPMENT AND EXPANSION OF UNICAL PRODUCTIVE CAPACITIES AND CONSUMER SERVICES

• Developing UNICAL Agro-allied industry with capacity for the production of Animal feeds in commercial quantity

•  Commencement of Commercial Paint production by the Department of Applied Chemistry

• Upgrading of UNICAL table water to the status of a Directorate, and functioning at optimal capacity

• Opening of new branches of UNICAL Microfinance Bank to provide community services across the state

•  Upgrading and optimizing the UNICAL Bookshop

COBOC, HOST COMMUNITY’S ECONOMY AND IMPROVED COMMUNITY RELATIONS

• Allocating spaces to prospective business operators to carry on with their businesses

• Regulating influx of businesses on campus

•  Creating secluded areas for businesses to thrive instead of allowing indiscriminate display of products

• Assisting with the beautification of the campus by making sure business operators keep their surroundings clean

•  Putting an end to makeshift shops and trade hence the introduction of solid building on owner occupier basis subject to COBOC’s
guidelines

COLLABORATION AND LINKAGES BETWEEN 2016 TO DATE

•  Institute for Universal Harmony (INUH)- for training certified Universal Conflict Resolution Management Experts and Peace building
Consultants and advocates

•  New Creation Educational foundation and Ivote, Macedonia- for provision of Multi-media e-learning technologies for UNICAL.

•  Estuary Academic and Strategic Institute (IUES-INSAN), Douala, Cameroon- collaboration in Health and Management Sciences

•  Southern Universities USA and ICT University foundation, USA- for establishment of e-learning center and exchange program

•  Montclair State University, character Scotland and Dreams learning Solutions-for establishment of Resource and implementation character Education and Evaluation Center.

•  Delta State University, Abraka- for staff/ students exchange program

•  Cross River College of Education, Akamkpa- Affiliation for award of degrees in Education

ONGOING PROJECTS

• Construction of proposed 500-seat lecture pavilion

• Construction of Academic building incorporating Science Laboratory for the faculty of Education

• Construction of offices and classrooms for the faculty of Science

• Construction of faculty of Engineering complex

If in less than four years, Akpagu has done all these and many more not captured here, for instance, organising convocation consecutively for four years which is the first time such is happening in the history of the institution, then there's indeed hope that Nigeria still has good, quality and transparent leaders who don't put their interest above the objective of leadership which is service to the people.

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