By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The University of Calabar, (Unical) has described as misleading reports by an nnline platform, (not New Nigerian Online) that Mr. Joseph Odok, a lecturer in the department of Philosophy was suspended for criticizing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu.
Chairman of the University Board of Media and Community Relations, Dr. Joseph Ekpang, while reacting to the issue said that the report was “misleading as the writer abandoned the main issue that led to Odok’s suspension and chose rather to dwell on imaginary issues”.
Ekpang noted that the VC has on several occasions stated that he was open to criticism and contrary opinions aimed at moving the University forward.
Odok’s suspension letter which is in public domain, quoted the institution as stating “clearly the eight reasons why Odok was suspended and he is to face the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee”.
Ekpang said that “Odok will be invited to defend all his alleged “unsubstantiated and spurious allegations” against the University.
He said that “the story published in an Online platform, that Odok was suspended because he criticised the Vice Chancellor is “misleading and not true. In fact, nothing can be farther from the truth because the VC himself has stated several times that he is open to criticism and contrary opinions aimed at moving the University forward”.
“For instance, when one social media user, Mr. Simon Utsu criticised the University last year for not adequately rewarding 1st class graduates financially, the VC took to his social media page to personally commend him and promised to do something about it. In less than 48 hours, the financial reward for all the first class graduates were ncreased by over 900%. This was the first time in the history of the University.
“People don’t seem to understand what criticism is all about. Criticism is the practice of judging the merits and faults of something. It is not blackmail or maligning people’s personalities.
“Would you call a junior officer describing his boss as arrogant and greedy criticism? Will you call the lies that the VC is running to JAMB to bribe them over admission issues criticism? Odok’s allegations are indictment on the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration”.
He maintained that “the University, like other organizations, has extant laws that bind every staff. The first course of action if there is any dispute with the University as a staff is to exhaust internal mechanisms for conflict resolution rather than rushing to the media”.
“Odok will be given an opportunity to defend and substantiate his claims and we will be happy to have the Online platform correspondent to cover the session”.
It will be recalled that Odok whose suspension over an alleged incitement of the public against the University on social media was lifted last year was On Monday, 19 January slammed with another suspension for allegedly committing similar offence.