Tuesday, 9 June 2020

UNICAL VCship: Not for greenhorns

Ukorebi Esien | 10th June 2020

As the tenure of Prof. Zana Akpagu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar winds up, the Cross River cyber space have recently been flooded with several posturing of professors hustling and biding to the exolted seat in the University. 

What seems most surprising is the fact that most of the people heating up the cyber space with campaign promises and lengthy write ups are not even qualified for the contest going by the laws regulating the appointment of a Vice Chancellor for the University. 

One of such laws is that for anyone to be fit to put on the cap of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar among other things such a person must have been a professor for at least ten years. But surprisingly, they are still some green horns in the professorial cadre who are heating up the system with their ambitions. And this gets me wondering as to how they intend bend or twist this aspect of the regulating guidelines or laid down rules to emerge as VC of the institution. 

Having gone through the profile or done an indipendent background check on some of the aspirants or prospecting VC Chancellor's, only one seems to stand out and with a very thick and intimidating Coriculum vitae. 

Prof. Offiong E. Offiong has not only been a professor of over 13 years but has been involved in the moulding of young Nigerians into societal role models since 1985 when he first gained employment into the University of Calabar till date. Even as a commissioner for education for a short period of four years, Prof. Offiong was still found lecturing in the class room and superiving project students even as a commissioner, an action which many still find it very schocking for a commissioner to leave his well furnished office to the classroom fill with heat and all manner of discomforting circumstances that should have discouraged him.

Prof. Offiong has clearly demonstrated profound and purposeful leadership as an administrator, academic and above all a role model for young people in his thirty-five years as a Lecturer. With these experiences, he would make a good Vice Chancellor if entrusted with the responsibility.

After all said and done, I will allow you have a look at Offiong's CV so you could judge for yourself and tell if he is eminently qualified or not. Truth is if merit would be followed in determining who becomes the next Vice Chancellor of the prestigious University of Calabar, Calabar, then Prof. Offiong Efanga Offiong would just take a stroll into the office.

Professor Offiong Efanga Offiong was born in Calabar on November 6, 1963. In 1974, he completed his Primary Education with a Distinction. He then 
attended Hope Waddell Training Institution, Calabar, where he sat and passed with Division–One WASC
(1979). Prof. Offiong holds a B.Sc (Hon) degree in Chemistry (1984) from University of Calabar which he graduated with Second Class ( Upper Division). In 1990 he obtained his Ph.D in Coordination/Inorganic Chemistry from the same department, University of Calabar supported by DAAD in 
Germany with a scholarship to conduct laboratory bench work in Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, 
Germany. Prof Offiong also holds a Certificate in Equipment Maintenance (1991) from Bristol Polytechnic, 
Bristol, UK.

After his successful mandatory National Service (NYSC) in the University of Ibadan, Prof Offiong started his lecturing 
career in 1985 as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Chemistry, University of Calabar and rose to the rank of Professor in Coordination /Inorganic Chemistry in 2002. 
He has so far successfully supervised 7 Masters and 13 Ph.D theses in the University. One of the theses won a National Universities Commission's Award of Best Thesis in Physical 
Sciences in Nigerian Universities in 2012. As a true scholar, he has been a mentor to many budding Academics especially in the field of Inorganic Chemistry. Many of his former 
Graduate Students are now Professors and others high ranking Academics in Nigerian Universities and abroad. One 
of them is the current Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences, University of Calabar. 
Prof Offiong is an astute Academic/ Researcher with over 70 Research articles/publications in Peer-review journals cited in high impact databases.

He had been Postgraduate/ Undergraduate External Examiner in many Universities across the country including; UNIUYO, MOUA, BSU, UNIABUJA, UNN and presently in RSU. He had also served the University system in several capacities 
including; Sub-Dean , Faculty of Science, Dean Faculty of Science, Dean of Students' Affairs, Member, Governing 
Council of the University of Calabar (2000 – 2004), Chairman and Zonal Coordinator ASUU, National Vice-President ASUU among others.

A celebrated Academic whose spirit of assistance spans through different human endeavours, Prof. Offiong also 
shared his passion and acumen in public service. Between 2007 and 2015, he served as Commissioner for Education, 
Cross River State. During this period, the Schools across the 18 LGAs witnessed massive infrastructural transformation, 
the first of its kind. The performance of CRS Students in WASCE rose from 22nd position to 7th and 6th in 2012 and 
2013 respectively. His contributions to the establishment of the prestigious Institute of Technology and Management (ITM), Ugep and the reopening of previously closed down 
State-owned College of Education in Akamkpa speak volume to elucidate his sterling qualities and passion for 
Scholarship. He was the Chairman of All States Commissioner of Education in Nigeria from 2009 to 2015.

Prof. Offiong served in the Presidential Task Force on Education under President Goodluck Johnathan with the mandate of implementing a transformation agenda in Nigeria education system.
His love for academic and human resource development knows no bounds; as a Commissioner, Prof. Offiong still 
offered services free as an Academic by teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses and successfully 
supervised ten (10) Graduate theses during this period despite the fact that he was on Leave of Absence.

Prof. Offiong has won several international Fellowships/Awards through which he visited many laboratories/Institutions and Universities in Italy, France, Germany, Russia, United States of America, United Kingdom, India, United Arab Emirates, Finland among others.

Prof. Offiong E. Offiong

As part of his community and humanitarian services, he is the immediate Past President of the Boys Brigade Nigeria (BBN), CRS Council (2013 to 2019). He is currently the 
Chairman of Education committee in the Obong of Calabar Executive Forum. Prof. Offiong is married to his heart–throb Dr. (Mrs.) Ame l. Offiong; the marriage is blessed with three beautiful children; Efanga, Asa and Eme.

Aside his, rich profile as an excellent student and teacher of Chemistry, professor Offiong is your "go-to-person" any time , any day as his open door policy makes him accessible and readily available to attend to any needs presented before him.

Offiong is an all rounder who has made himself visible in both the traditional and religious circles not leaving behind his social life that has endeared him to many within and outside the shores of this nation.

As Vice Chancellor, Offiong will through his national and international contact and relationships attract several funding and development projects as well as research funds for lecturers.