By Idagu Michael
Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing; but freedom of careless speech births conspicuous irrational elements that constantly subject us to ritualized false judgments and the award of penalties, long conceived and then applied wrongly. While they are likely to be significant differences in how we apply careless speech freedom, what we achieve in the end is not the transmission of truth. Indeed, what we achieve is the dehumanization of common sense as we work at making rumours gain widespread acceptance.
Don’t doubt me; you do not stumble your way to the position of bursar in any internationally recognized university and the University of Calabar is not an exception. Peter Agi, described as being all sorts and doing all sorts by certain persons, within the University of Calabar, was academically and professionally qualified for the position. Those who have elected to malign him, are taking advantage of one thing; like all talented people, Agi was careless with the friendships he cultivated especially within the university. The products of these friendships are the fiercest outriders in the Zana Akpagu-led crusade to take down his own brother and friend by any means necessary.
I read somewhere, a little while ago that information tells us something that is understandable and has the potential to become knowledge for us when we view it critically and add it to what we already know. Now, according to the facts being peddled, “…there was incessant unauthorized transfer of funds from the UNICAL International Demonstration Secondary School, UCIDSS, Zenith Bank Accounts to some hidden account without the knowledge of the VC. In one of such reckless and suspicious transactions, Agi ordered the former board chairperson of the school, Professor Florence Obi and the Principal Dr. Kingsley Abang to transfer the huge some of N27,134,930.61 (Twenty-Seven million, one hundred and thirty four thousand, nine hundred and thirty naira, sixty kobo) to a hidden account. The amount exceed the approval threshold of N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira) of the chairperson”. I ask, is it possible for Agi to wield such powers, side track the VC and ‘order’ the transfer of such an enormous amount of money “…to a hidden account”? Where do you situate the bank mandate in this transaction? Begin to reason!
About the N27, 000, 000 (twenty seven million naira) loan for the printing press, this is the truth. The facility was obtained from Unical Micro Finance Bank, UMFB, in 2013 and expended, long before Agi became the bursar. Those itching to know what happened to the printing press, which reports directly to the VC, need to ask a former VC of the institution and the manager of UMFB in 2013 pertinent questions.
At the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Agi’s detractors have been unable to establish a case against him. The initial falsehood was that he pilfered a princely N100, 000, 000 (one hundred million naira). Agi responded with documents that showed that in a letter UC/BUR/C.B 34 of September 16, 2015, signed by James Epoke and not Peter Agi, the branch manager of Zenith Bank, Murtala Muhammed highway was instructed to transfer the said amount from Unical Distribution Holding Account No. 1011633445, to Unical IGR Account No. 1012211387, in the same bank and not into Agi’s account as peddled.
It is understandable that the mammoth crowd presently circling around the Vice – Chancellor of Unical, Zana Akpagu, and whispering inanities into his ear is driven more by the dictates of the stomach and not the desire, in any form, to make him succeed. The information they seemingly trade in is grossly inaccurate and makes significant biases visible. I agree that information needs to be useful and correct for a given purpose to have value, but this particular purpose is warped and Akpagu cannot continue to spend valuable time sharpening swords and spears when there is so much to be done, administering the University of Calabar. Rather than spend the university’s money on such a vitriolic campaign against Agi, these sums of money can be better spent on grants to lecturers and the upgrade of facilities. Akpagu’s legacy must not be built on and around the vain attempt at vilifying a hardworking and law abiding young man whose professional competencies annoy a select few.
Bias is a human condition and it can motivate an unlawful act. Where it erupts, it has the capacity to tear communities apart even escalate into an actual crime. Where Akpagu and others should work at promoting tolerance and inclusion so that he can find practical advice that is true, timely examples to live behind and helpful resources to be remembered for, he is instead going the other way and walking into a booby trap that will sap him of all his energy. I just pray he gets to understand that long after the mock dance is over, he will simply be just Zana Akpagu again.
*The views expressed in this article by the author are not the views of www.calitown.com*
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