The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Banku Obi, has stated emphatically, that her greatest legacies would be rejigging the system and frontally changing the face of the University of Calabar and leaving no abandoned projects when she eventually leaves office.

   The Vice Chancellor stated this while interacting with the host Beatrice Akpala on the Current Affairs Programme, Inside Cross River. She noted that the hitherto unacceptable notion of embarking on grandiose projects without a clear cut means of completing them and passing such projects on to the next administration is utterly wrong and should be seriously discouraged, adding that it shows a total lack of planning and execution mechanism.

   Prof. Obi reiterated her administration's preparedness and determination to complete all projects started in her tenure as all projects are useful and pivotal to the well being of the institution and the students. Her third anniversary in office as the  Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar is coming up on the 1st of December, 2023 and it will be celebrated with pomp and pageantry. 

   She went down memory lane  to the time of the titanic struggles she went through before emerging as Vice Chancellor in 2020.

   She emphasized that the University system had already been ingrained in her right from the beginning of her academic career in the University. She harped on the need for hard work, sincerity of purpose, integrity and granite determination as these are the virtues needed to promote any serious minded individual.

   Prof Florence Obi, who happens to be the first ever female Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, noted that she felt compelled to challenge the system as the male folk saw the position of Vice Chancellor as their birth right and did everything to discourage her from even joining the race for the coveted seat.

   She expressed delight for being able to conquer the odds that stood in her way, adding that the story of her ascension to the throne would have been different today if she had succumbed.

   On what was really on ground when she took over the mantle of leadership of the school, she emphasized that she was ushered into office during times of great institutional and national emergencies, when even the youths were at loggerheads with the federal government over their determination to end police brutality in what was popularly called the Endsars crises.

   On the other hand, the University had its own fair share of problems as many facilities were either burned down by students in their riot acts or outrightly lacking or in short supply. Buildings were either leaking or were in a near state of collapse, while all forms of unacceptable institutional and administrative ineptitude held sway. The weather was equally not helpful as the rains poured lavishly from the skies and made the bad situation worse. All these were teething problems that she confronted and she expressed happiness at her ability to cope with the situation.

   Three years down the line, Prof. Florence Banku Obi is still sitting strong and conquering new grounds.

   She reiterated that her period of academic and administrative gestation in the University of Jos was pivotal to the stoic discipline which she applied to her official duties. 

    She maintained that even as a Lecturer, Head of Department, Dean of Faculty and Deputy Vice Chancellor, she had sought to deliver on her mandate, which in turn, propelled her to higher positions and inevitably, higher glory. 

   Prof. Obi said that immediately she assumed Office as Vice Chancellor, she embarked on some serious reforms that  naturally met with brick walls, adding that the harder her critics were bent on undoing her, the more determined she became.

   She insisted that discipline must be restored, academic calendars must be adhered to, while all students must study hard and earn their grades as gone were the days of sorting.

   The Vice Chancellor maintained that she has simply redefined and demystified university administration, as even her most ardent critics now congratulate her on her bogus achievements.

     She also noted that her experience these past three years of her stewardship has been quite remarkable and impactful on her popularity, just as she has also become a household name in the State, country and even beyond. 

   Prof. Obi reiterated the urgent need for constant collaboration and self comparison with other universities in order to be able to guage the real progress made by the institution. She said that the University of Calabar is first among equals in many respects among which are being no.1 with the highest number of female professors, no.1 with the highest number of female students in the country, no.8 in terms of accredited courses by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and no.13 out of 217 Universities on the Nigerian academic map.

   These are certainly not mean achievements considering where the University was before she came on board as Vice Chancellor in 2020.

   The female academic guru and incumbent administrator, said that she has been able to debunk every wrong notion of female leadership at the Ivory Tower as her own tenure and achievements were visible to all and sundry.

She went further to say that the students are as close to her as possible, having made her phone numbers available to them for constant consultation.

   She noted also that her greatest weapons against failure is hard work, discipline and integrity measured over the years by the sheer force of her unique character.

   She was evidently full of gratitude to all those who have contributed in one way or the other in making her the core public Administrator that she is today.

   These contributors, according to her were former President Muhammadu Buhari who signed her appointment letter, the incumbent President Bola Tinubu, erstwhile Governor, Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade, the incumbent Governor of Cross River State, Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu.

She further appreciated Dr Betta Edu, former Cross River State Commissioner for Health and now the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs for here strategic role during the pandemic in 2020.  She reeled out heartfelt accolades for her colleagues, her close circle of remarkable and beneficial friends, family members as well as staff and students of the University of Calabar for their indelible contributions. 

   She encouraged women in leadership to position themselves strategically with absolute focus, courage and determination to be the best version of themselves. She drew attention to the very wrong notion that a woman must utilize her body instead of her brains to succeed in life adding that, that era has since gone into oblivion. Women, she said, must come out and compete with their male counterparts in every sphere of life and discard the lazy impression of hinging women successes to other forces instead of hard work and their intellectual abilities.

  Prof. Florence Banku Obi has indeed made very remarkable inroads into public administration and her exploits and successes recorded in the University of Calabar, will for a long time be topics and themes of positive discourse.





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