“It is important to note that you are not expected in any way or manner to socialize with any association that has been proscribed by the university such as the infamous secret cults. I am sure that your parents might have equally warned you about the consequences of cultism. This university has a zero-tolerance for cultism, any form of hooliganism, corruption and other vices…”
This was part of the stern warning of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu, to the 9,200 fresh students admitted into the institution in the 2017/2018 academic session. He gave the warning during the 40th matriculation in the university.
The vice chancellor chose the right occasion to issue the timely warning so that the fresh students won't fall prey to being initiated into any of the deadly cult groups and end up being murdered in cold blood like the gruesome fate that befell two students of the institution last month.
He also advised the new students to ensure they do not deliberately destroy or damage any facilities already put in place because the institution was spending greater part of its revenue in maintaining the existing infrastructure. The advice was also necessary in view of the fact that irate students usually vandalise facilities at the slightest disagreement with the management of academic institutions.
The event was not all about warning. Akpagu also spoke about the importance of the occasion, saying it “marks the official entry of every student into this higher institution of learning. The occasion is significant because it is a statutory gathering to formally admit deserving and qualified candidates who are fortunate to be offered admission into the institution…The ceremony also signifies the conclusion of admission processes for the year.”
Akpagu also used the occasion to highlight the challenges facing the institution and the giant strides his administration is making. On the challenges, he said the mammoth increase in students' intake has stretched existing facilities such as lecture room, hostel accommodation and utilities, adding that his administration was spending greater part of its revenue in maintaining the existing infrastructure.
On his achievements, he said “in spite of our dwindling resources, the university has managed to stay afloat to deliver good services to our students…With the assistance
of the federal government through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and Needs Assessment Funds, the university is building new faculties, lecture halls, hostel accommodation to ameliorate this shortfall. Equally, private individuals have been invited to partner with the university for the provision of hostel accommodation.”
The vice chancellor further stated that classrooms were being equipped with new chairs, white boards and public address systems in line with international best practices.
“The university now has an E-Library section with over 500 computers to facilitate E-Learning. We are poised to put our students at par with other students globally and to prepare them for the 21st century workplace,” he said. Indeed, Akpagu's developmental and aesthetic imprints are quite visible in the institution.
In the quest to put the university on the global map, he added: “We have gone into collaboration and linkages that have yielded very positive dividends for us. For instance, we are on course to achieving uninterrupted power supply via an ongoing solar energy project with the German government.
A few months ago, the Peoples' Republic of China through her embassy in Nigeria singled out our university to benefit from scholarship awarded to 47 deserving students with a commitment to make it an annual event. We have also reached an agreement to introduce Korean Studies into the curriculum of the Bassey Andah Centre for African and Asian Studies domiciled here in our university.”
A total of 37, 278 candidates applied to the university in the 2017/2018 academic session to study various courses being offered in the institution. However, 27,028 candidates wrote the screening test from which the 9,200 candidates were offered admission after successfully scaling the hurdle of mandatory Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). The number of intakes increased greatly because of the introduction of new courses such as Dentistry, Marine Biology, Human Nutrition and Food Science, Pharmacy, Engineering, and more.
Faculty of Education had the highest number of intakes, with 2,226 the 2017/2018 academic session, followed by 1,125 in the faculty of social sciences and 1,044 in the faculty of arts