University of Calabar (UNICAL)
By Inyali Peter, Calabar

Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria (COCSGIN) and an anti-corruption crusader, National Youths For Good governance (NYFGG) have slamed the Egalitarian Movement for All (EMA) for calling for the probe of two Nigerian university Vice Chancellors without establishing any corruption cases against them.

It will be recalled that, EMA had in a statement recently called on federal government to set up a panel to investigate the Vice Chancellors of University of Calabar (UNICAL) and University of Ilorin (Unilorin) for alleged corruption cases.

In separate statements signed by Comrade Iso Bassey Edem, National Chairman of COCSGIN and Adie Peter, the Cross River State chairman of NYGG, the groups accused EMA of being used by some people to raise false alarm against the Vice Chancellors.

The COCSGIN national chairman who described the call as unfortunate noted that his organization is currently investigating all the issues raised in UNICAL and would petition the appropriate quarter if any issue of corruption is found against any authority.

He added that it was wrong for the group to single out the Vice Chancellors for corruption even as his said that the rot in Nigeria educational sector is systematic and not just a problem of the leadership of tertiary institutions.

While urging federal government to be vigilante not to fall into the antics of those destroying Nigerian universities, he said that "the people calling for the heads of VCs are the most corrupt. We're investigating them and we know their members in UNICAL. They are those who are not comfortable with the anti-corruption war of this administration because they can't do without sorting or sleeping with girls for grades"

Iso added that his organization has been following the development in UNICAL especially from the processes and election that led to the appointment of the current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu and have noticed that there's a cabal in the university who never wanted him to be VC and are working seriously to discredit everything about him.

"We are more interested in UNICAL issue because we have been following the development in the institution from the appointment of the VC to date. The truth is that EMA has comprised and has allowed the organization to be used by some people who never wanted Akpagu to be VC in discrediting his work.

"We are not saying that there may not be issues of corruption but what we're saying is that the call was ill timed and had some political undertone. 

"During the election, there was a lot of sponsored media propaganda against Zana. Some said he was not qualified and these people, especially older Professors are still angry with him and have vowed to make the university ungovernable for him. 

"The recent heightened security issue in the institution is a good example of what they are using to discrete the VC. Since it's not working, they have resorted to sponsoring media reports and pushing groups to write against him. 

"As an organization, until we find anything indicting Zana, we will resist any move from any quarter to remove him. He is the first alumnus VC of that university that ordinarily should be supported but people are rather looking at him to be too young", the statement reads in part.

Similarly, the NYGG said the media war against Zana was coming from the sacked bursar, Peter Agi and a cabal that was benefiting from the " fraud" that characterized his reign as bursar.

The statement quoted the chairman as saying that, "It's so unfortunate that EMA which claimed to be nonpartisan group of academics has fallen to the antics of those who are working relentlessly to destroy the university of Calabar.

"Let me add that, the tone of their message showed clearly that they have comprised otherwise, why would you call for the probe of anybody without establishing any corruption case against them? Throughout their sponsored write up, they didn't say anything that this is what these people should be probed for, they kept hammering on corruption and what is corruption without a base?

"What Zana is going through is a typical case of corruption fighting back therefore we want to call on relevant anti-graft agencies to thoroughly investigate EMA, Agi and his cabal. 

"Zana is barely one year in office and within the one year, he was logged out of the school TSA account by the former bursar, Agi operated secret school fee portal where he confessed to collecting over N200 million before his removal. The VC has personally blown whistle on him and this is what we expected this faceless group to discuss not to now attempt to twist the truth.

"Also, it's very unfortunate that a group of academics don't know that federal government work with reports from internal unions in any case of corruption. Before the government can step into any matter, there must be report from joint committee but have we had that? No, so people are just talking what they know little or nothing about".

The group warned that the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration should not be taken for a joke or politicised by universities dons.

"We completely welcome the call that the anti-graft agencies should beam their searchlight to Nigerian tertiary institutions not just universities but we also want to warn that the fight against corruption should not be taken for a joke and government must not allow some corrupt elements in the system ridicule the efforts made by the Buhari administration to stem corruption intertiary institutions", the statementreads.

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