Prof. Zana Itiunbe Akpagu is the current Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar and the 10th in the series. He holds the historic record of being the 1st Alumnus of UNICAL to become its Vice Chancellor. A Professor of Caribbean and African Literature in French, Akpagu had earlier served the University as a deputy Vice Chancellor, (Administration).
Born in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State, 58 years ago, Professor Akpagu began his educational career in the famous Mary Knoll College, Okuku-Ogoja (now-Yala), where he obtained Division One in the West African School Certificate Examination (W.A.S.C.E.), in 1977. He thereafter proceeded to the University of Calabar where he bagged a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree in French with second Class Upper Division in 1982. In 1985, he obtained an M.A. in French from the University of Benin (UNIBEN). Prof. Akpagu’s working experience began as a graduate Assistant with the University of Cross River State, now the University of Uyo. He later moved to the University of Benin as Lecturer 1, from 1994 to 1998 and thereafter took up appointment with the University of Calabar, as Senior Lecturer, in 1998, where he rose to become a Professor on 1st October, 2007.
An erudite Scholar, Prof. Akpagu has won a number of awards, including the “Dr. E. N Amaku prize” for Best Graduating student in Languages from UNICAL, in 1982. He has attended many Local and International Conferences (U.S.A, France, Isreal, South Korea, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, etc) and with many publications to his credit. He is a member of several professional bodies and a recipient of over thirty five (35) awards. While in UNICAL, he had served as the Head of department of Modern Languages and Translation, Dean of Students’ Affairs, Elected Member of Governing Council as well as the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration).
The University 10th Vice Chancellor had also served his people in different capacities such as Commissioner of Education, Cross River state (2001-2000) under Governor Donald Duke and Special Adviser to the Governor of Cross River state on Inter-Duties (2010 – 2012) under Governor Imoke. It is noteworthy that under his watch as Commissioner of Education, he midwifed the establishment of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), saw to the return of eleven Mission Secondary Schools to their owners, including his alma mater, Mary Knoll College, Okuku, Yala; and established twenty seven (27) new secondary schools among which are Government Secondary School Atekong Drive (the most populous secondary School in Cross River state and six (6) others in Calabar), Government Secondary School, Okuku, Yala, Government Secondary School, Kabong, Secondary Commercial School, Ipong, Obudu, Government Science Secondary School, Ipong, Obudu.
He has midwifed, in UNICAL, a wave of curricula expansion resulting in the establishment of faculties and academic programmes hitherto considered not feasible, to-wit: Engineering, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Environmental Sciences, amongst others. He has engineered, in a little above three years, unprecedented infrastructural development with physical structures of the university extending almost to the banks of great Qua River. A number of inventions have been patented in the University, including three (3) in the current year.
In recognition of his contributions to community development, Prof. Akpagu holds the traditional titles of “Ushikebe 1” of Ipong, “Utekushu1”, of Bebuagbong,”Utah Kinde 1” of Bedia, “Ushikpel Kubong1” of Ohong, “Ntufam Amid Ejagham” of the Qua Nation and “Otebeche 1 of Yala, “Garkuwan Matasan Arewa” , “Otu Ochikanung Obonghe of Boki” and still counting.
Prof. Akpagu is a devout Catholic Christian, a Knight of the sacred Order of St. Mulumba and a Jerusalem Pilgrim (JP). He is happily married to Ntunkae (Lady) Winnie and the union is blessed with four lovely children: Briana, Maximillien, Zana Jnr. and Sean.
He is our alumnus of the month of June 2019.