A new Vice Chancellor will soon emerge to take over the mantle of leadership of the University of Calabar from the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu whose administration as the 10th substantive Vice Chancellor of the university will elapse on December 1, 2020.
Among those jostling for the envious position are Professors Joseph Asor (Biological Science), Offiong Offiong (Chemistry), Ndiyo Ayara (Economics), Francis Bisong (Geography) and Florence Obi, (Education) former commissioner for Women Affairs, and former deputy vice chancellor, Academics. Others are Patrick Asuquo (Education Administration), Eyong Ubana (English), Benedict Ita (Chemistry), Anne Asuquo (Medical Microbiology) and Stella Effah-Attoe.
As the race gets tougher, the torchlight of the university community seem to be flashing on the paths of Asor. He has garnered so many supporters and the testimonies from many also show that he is the man of the people.
Recently, the social media have been agog with many articles, fliers, and even documentaries with strong messages all in the bid to give the needed publicity for Asor who the supporters feel that nothing will stop him from emerging as the 11th Vice Chancellor of the University.
TNN gathered that the supporters are convinced of his capability in handling the affairs of the university as the previous public offices he has held both within and outside the university community have marked evidences of dependability and credibility.
Speaking with TNN over the telephone, a prominent professor in the department of economics, Frances Obafemi was confident that following past records, Asor possessed formidable character traits needed to make the University of Calabar a world class University. She said; “Prof. Joseph Asor is a man of integrity. He has never been associated with any corrupt act, you can’t associate him with that; either as a dean of student affairs, Dean of biological sciences or Rector of IBB College of Agriculture. He is a man that fears God, and he actually believes in what the Bible says. He is a man that believes the word of God, teaches the word of God and does the word of God.
“He doesn’t say things he cannot do. He was the dean of faculty of sciences, during his election, though I’m not from that faculty but I’m on ground; he promised them so many things among which are; running water in all the labs that water stopped running, light and many other things he did which you can confirm from anybody from the faculty of sciences. So he doesn’t say what he cannot do, he says what he can do. He is a large hearted man; he doesn’t care where you come from. He is detribalized person. So he’s the kind of leader that UNICAL wants to bring it from the point it has sank.
“He has what it takes and with his experience, having headed a higher institution before, he knows what it means to head a higher institution. So among all his opponents he’s the only that has ever headed a higher institution before. And having being in the governing council of College of Education, Akamkpa, he knows what it means to move a higher institution forward.
“He has what it takes to move UNICAL to the next level because where UNICAL is now we don’t want somebody that will keep us where we are or drag us back. We need a Vice Chancellor that will take us to the next level in the committee of the nations of universities to make UNICAL ranking to be among the topmost universities and he has gotten what it takes”.
Professor Obafemi also noted that the issue of zoning which is being propagated by many has never been a major consideration in the selection of Vice Chancellors of the University. “I’ve been in UNICAL for 33 years so I can tell you that zoning has not really played a major part in selecting Vice Chancellors for UNICAL. A South-South person handed over to a South-South person at a point; that is Late Professor Charles Effiong handed over to late Professor Onor.
“Then, another South-South at a point, Professor Ivara Esu handed over to another South-South person, Professor Bassey Asuquo in the same university. So for me it’s not an issue because the South-South people have been there for 17 years. So if you want to say zoning, then the South-South shouldn’t come up. They should also allow others; they’ve been there for 17years, Central have been there only once that is Professor Epoke and North once”, she disclosed.
Another fan of Asor who is also an alumnus of the institution and former National President of the Nigerian Union of Campus Journalists nationwide, Hon. Ogar Emmanuel Oko expressed optimism that nothing will hinder Asor from emerging as the Vice Chancellor at the end of the day.
“I am absolutely confident that he is going to emerge as the new Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar with the reason that he has one of the best credentials among all his competitors. He is more experienced than all the contenders including Prof. Offiong Offiong and Prof. Florence Obi, who are the major contenders. To us our only opponent is Prof. Florence Obi, and perhaps Prof. Offiong.
“Joseph Asor was the first Dean of Faculty of Biological Sciences. He is experienced and in terms of connection, he has the connection. He is a very humble person, he is down to earth. If you go to the University of Calabar community he is the toast of the people, the pride of the people”, Oko who has worked closely with the outgoing Vice Chancellor averred.
In a separate conversation with another alumnus if the University, Mr. Joseph Idiege, he still maintained that Professor Asor is the only person the university can project to bring the needed change. He said: “There are so many leadership attributes I see in him and not just that he has these attributes, he has been able to discharge these attributes and caused the needed change.
“All my years in the University of Calabar, I’ve always known that getting accommodation directly is a mystery. But for the first time ever when Professor Asor became the Dean of Students affairs, and while in my second year, I was able pay school fees, pay my accommodation fees without knowing anybody and I was able to get it. Apart from his open mindedness, he has listening ears, we see him as a father because when challenges come up he gives you that listening ear, even if it’s rubbish that you are saying, he will want to listen to your rubbish and then proffer a solution.
“If you permit me one of the things I can use to qualify him is that Professor Joseph Asor is a ‘mystery demystifier’. Whatever it is that is a mystery and people say it’s not possible, he just steps in and uncover the mystery behind it and make things work. He fears God and he is also a man of integrity. You can count on his words; if he tells you this is what I will do, be rest assured that he will do it. He will not turn back tomorrow. Following antecedent and his consistency over the years, I am certain that he will perform exceptional.
“Considering the time we are now and the desired change in the University of Calabar, with the current realities, that is the man that can pull the needed change we need. If we truly want these peculiar challenges in the university we’ve been yearning for, this is the man that can pull that strength”.
Professor Joseph Ele Asor was born in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria. He is from the Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology. He attended the university of Port-Harcourt, 1980-1984; 1987-1989 and 1993-1995 and obtained the Bachelor of Science (B.sc) degree in Zoology, Master of science (M.sc) degree in Parasitology and a Doctor of philosophy (Ph.d) degree in Parasitology respectively. In his 29 years of public service, he has held the following positions:
– Rector, Cross River State College of Agriculture, 1998-2002.
– Dean, Student Affairs Division University of Calabar, 2006-2011
– Head of Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, University of Calabar,Calabar 2013-2014.
– Member, Governing council, Cross River State college of Agriculture, 1998-2002.
– Member, Governing council, Cross River University of Technology 2002. – Member Governing Council, college of education, Akamkpa, 2011-2015.
– Board member, Cross River State community and social development agency-2008 to date.
He is currently the Dean, Faculty of science, University of Calabar.
Prof. Asor has published over fifty peer reviewed articles in national and international journals.