Gaius Julius Ceasar during his reign as the Governor of Gaul, in present-day France was ordered by the Roman Legislature to step down from his Military Command and return to Rome. According to Niccolò  Machiavelli, for Caesar, leaving his command in Gaul would mean losing his community to criminal prosecution by his enemies hence, Caesar openly defiled the Senate authority by Crossing the Rubicon.

Like any other person, Julius Caesar was not allowed to enter Italy armed, otherwise, it would amount to a declaration of war, but Caesar did. Before crossing, he was quoted to have said, "The Die is Cast" which means, "a decision has been taken and there was no going back". This single act brought about Caesar's civil war in 49 BC, which he won, leaving him in a position of near absolute power and influence. 

As a fellow who is 'obsessively' censorious when it comes to issues of leadership, I find it overwhelmingly difficult to ignore the torrential display of stellar achievements in the University of Calabar by the Institution's  Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Florence Banku Obi, the 11th on the roll and the first female helmsman of the second generation's ivory tower.  

As one who has become addictively inclined to constructive criticism and demands for good leadership in all strata, I have unwittingly become an unapologetic stickler for excellence. For the past three years, I have watched the conscious and excellent transformational drive in my alma mata in the areas of infrastructure and development, programmes expansion, improved security architecture, and gender equality,  among others. 

The award-winning Vice Chancellor of the institution will be three years into her five-year tenure on the 1st of December, 2023. She assumed office formally as the 11th and first Female Vice Chancellor of the University on the 1st December 2020. Despite assuming office at a time when the world was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Obi has been phenomenal. Gradually, University of Calabar is becoming a great pointer to leagues of other Universities in Nigeria and globally. 

Under her dynamic leadership, UNICAL has become synonymous with excellence. This could be attested to as the University most recently bagged the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board's award of Universities with Equal Opportunities in the nation. 

It's on record that no Vice Chancellor in the over 50 years of existence of the institution has been so committed to enshrining global standards in education and changing the trajectory of the University than Prof Obi. In terms of gender equality and fights against corruption, the records are the same as she holds the records as the VC that bridged the chasm in administrative responsibilities thereby giving women more opportunities to hold positions of responsibility as well as exterminating corruption and other short practices that bedeviled the University over time.

Within the past three years, the profile of the University of Calabar both nationally and internationally has risen exponentially. Days were Unical was dismissed with a wave of hand are over as students and products of the University have taken over the global stage by storm. It wasn't long ago that the University fielded her students who emerged as African Champion and competed in the World finals of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition(MLMC) held in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

Also, within the same period, a female student of the institution, William Euodia arrived at the NorthEastern University of Illinois, Chicago, United States of America for one session of an academic exchange programme facilitated by the VC. 

As if that wasn't enough, a student of the institution, Janet Odey emerged as the 2022 Champion of the Nigerian Students Venture Prize(NSVP) carting away N1.5million. This is as a result of the improved training at the Entrepreneurship Development Centre of the University.  

In the area of creative arts, a 20-year-old medical student of the institution emerged most recently as the winner of YouCanSing season 2, taking home a whopping amount of N5 million.

Similarly, one of the key strategies employed by the Vice Chancellor was a comprehensive academic retouching with a focus on global competitiveness. Soothing this objective, the Vice Chancellor created a new office for a third Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Linkages which has witnessed a reinvigorated commitment to research and innovation by infusion of more research-based components, attracting local and international collaboration and partnership in engaging students and staff of the University.

In the past three years, Obi has been magical as she has been monumentally phenomenal. Almost every area of the University ranging from - improved standard of academic programmes, Students welfare, Security, Expansion of academic curriculum, Alumni relations, infrastructure, Fight against corruption, and Gender equality, etc, has felt her magical touch. 

Also, recall that Unical most recently won hosting rights for the 2026 Nigerian University Games Association(NUGA) after 33 years since it last played a host of the game. Many former Vice Chancellors of the institution no doubt, made efforts to win the host rights but got frustrated at some point by other Universities. However, Obi who sees impossibility as an illusion took up the challenge and today, students, staff, and other sports lovers are overwhelmed with joy already.

Under her dynamic leadership, the Institution has received approval to commence an Open and Distance Learning programme, making UNICAL the second University in the whole of the South-South geopolitical zone of the nation to commence virtual degree programmes. 

However, below is an attempt to highlight some of her achievements in different units of the University represented in broad themes. Admittedly, this is not comprehensive enough because it's a herculean task trying to remember all her numerous achievements within this short period.


•Complete rehabilitation of the Main gate road to the Library through the CES building

•Construction of an access road from NSLT 2 to the Faculty of Physical Science building

•Construction of an access road from the Faculty of Medicine to the Faculty of Pharmacy through the Department of Computer Science building

•Construction of drainage along the love garden road

•Construction of access road to new Female Hostels

•Construction of drainage beside the Black and White field(Opposite UNICAL Chapel of Redemption)

•Construction of access road from new Faculty of Education to CES building 

•Completion, furnishing, and equipping of new Mass Communication complex

•Installation of mass antenna for the Department of Mass Communication

•Completion of 500-Seat Lecture Theatre 

•Completion of 500-Seat Lecture Theatre for Faculty of Engineering

•Construction and furnishing of Micro teaching Laboratory with modern digital equipment

•Completion of Theatre Arts and Media Study Studio block

•Construction and furnishing of 1-storey 182 bed space capacity students hostel building including external works(Hall 11(Florence Obi's Hostel)

•Construction and furnishing of 1-storey building(grand and first floor) students hostel (block 1)

•Construction and furnishing of 1-storey building(grand and first floor) students hostel (block 2)

•Construction and furnishing of 1-storey building(grand and first floor) students hostel (block 3)

•Renovation of Soil Science/Education Technology Laboratory building and Set-P block

•Renovation works for vandalized mechanical and electrical works at Halls 2,4,5,6,7,9 and supply of equipment to the Department of Pathology

•Renovation and equipping of Physiotherapy block and Exercise Physiology Gym

•Renovation Joyce Udensi Hostel 

•Renovation of Peter Okebukola Hostel

•Renovation of Hall 2 Annex 

•Remodelling of Biological Sciences block and Faculty of Education Block

•Completion of the construction and furnishing of Pharmaceutical and Medical Chemistry building including external works

•Completion of the construction of Pharmacy Administrative block including external works

•Completion of Faculty of Engineering Administrative block

•Completion of Faculty of Education building 

•Complete remodelling of Pavilion 1

•Complete remodelling of Pavilion 2

•Complete remodelling of Pavilion 3

•Complete rehabilitation of Pavilion D

•Complete rehabilitation of Pavilion E

•Complete Rehabilitation of Pavilion F

•Completion and furnishing of Hall 10 Female Hostel

•Completion and furnishing of  Faculty of Law Complex 

•Rehabilitation of old Audit building

•Construction of Post Graduate Students' Union Government Secretariat 

•Construction of workshop building for the Faculty of Engineering(Phase 11)

•Rehabilitation of ICT Complex 

•Rehabilitation and Revitalization of Halls 2,4,5,6,8, Moore Road, and Calabar Road Hostel

•Installation of a solar light across the University campus

•Equipping of UNICAL Medical Center 

•Supply of library books to faculties and Departments


As part of her commitment to deepening research and academic excellence of the Institution, Prof. Obi has introduced, but not limited to: 

•Examination Reforms and Quality Assurance Committee

•Created an Office for Deputy Vice Chancellor on Research and Linkages 

•Revived reading culture among students

•UNICAL ranks 13 out of 217 Universities in Nigeria according to NUC ranking

•UNICAL ranks 1st among comity of Varsities with highest number of Female Professors and female students in Nigeria 

•UNICAL ranks number 8 among varsities with the highest number of accredited courses offered 

•Collaboration with International Varsities for research and academic exchange programmes

•Continous modification of examination answer booklets

•Timely release of students results

•Zero tolerance for corruption and other short practices

•Digitalization of students results portals

•Timely release of transcript to students on graduation

•Digitalization of students Hostel portal


Prof Obi has demonstrated immense commitment to students and staff welfare. This is undoubtedly seen through some of the projects and programs including: 

•Total rehabilitation of various students hostels immediately after COVID-19 pandemic and EndSars protest in 2020 before resumption of academic activities 

•Construction/completion of two more hostels

•Free health care for students and staff 

•Collaboration with some foreign/international universities where some students of the institution are currently in UK, USA and China for academic exchange programmes

•Enthusiastic about set targets for addressing students/staff challenges 

•Adequate counseling to students

•Swift and unprecedented response to issues affecting students

•Provision of Post Graduate Students Union Government Secretariat 

•Timely promotion of staff  

•Training/retraining of staff for optimal service delivery

•Provision of research grant 

•Provision of adequate office space for staff


•Improved security on campus

•The issue of acute shortage of security personnel is being addressed with the employment of over 100 new security staff

•Provision 50 walkie-talkies to enhance prompt response to emergencies on campus

•Consistent security patrol across vulnerable areas of the University to avoid violent crime, kidnapping and others 


•UNICAL is leading other Nigeria varsities today as a gender-sensitive institution 

•Unprecedented placement of women in position of responsibility 

•Establishment of Youth Friendly Hub which encourages students, particularly the female students to speak up against any form of exploitation 


•Digitalization of transcript unit

•UNICAL Transcript is just a click away for those who are graduating between 2020 upward 

•Students can now get their transcripts on graduation

•Unprecedented collation of students data from inception of the institution till date

•Committed to changing the trajectory of the institution 


In her vigorous determination to stem corruption and other short practices in the University, Prof Florence Obi centralizes all charges in the University. You could remember that before now, some Departments and Faculties exorbitantly charged students as high as N8,000(Eight Thousand Naira) to N12,000(Twelve Thousand Naira) as departmental or faculty dues respectively. But, the emergence of Prof Obi has been a great succor to students and parents alike as financial burdens have been drastically reduced. The departmental and faculty dues now are as low as N2,000(Two Thousand Naira) and N4,000(Four Thousand Naira) per semester and session respectively.

It is also on record that Prof. Obi has severally returned monies illegally extorted from students at various levels. 

As an Apostle of transparency and accountability, Obi has shared her only telephone number to students to call/send her text messages on any suspicious short practices in the University. 

To tame any form of examination malpractice and enhance academic excellence, Obi brought the revitalization of the Examination Reforms and Quality Assurance Committee and the Committee has tremendously lived up to its oars.

Like earlier stated, this list is not absolutely comprehensive as it is a herculean task to attempt to capture all she has done within this short period. Many other projects undoubtedly may have missed out on this, but notwithstanding, the University of Calabar has risen exponentially in the last three(3) years more than her counterparts in the nation and this is worthy to celebrate. 

For every great height attained, there's always a commensurate display of stellar Leadership quality, dedicated service, and for the University of Calabar Vice-Chancellor, Prof Florence Banku Obi, history will remember her as a masterful leader who crossed the Rubicon.


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