June 10, 2024

More women in authority will foster growth, dev in Nigeria – UNICAL VC

More women in authority will foster growth, dev in Nigeria – UNICAL VC

…. Culture of impunity in our clime deserves radical measures to change

By Ike Uchechukwu CALABAR

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, UNICAL, Prof Florence Obi has asserted that the culture of impunity that has become deeply rooted in Nigeria and deserves radical and courageous measures to be changed.

According to her, it doesn’t matter whose ox is gored, such systemic anomaly should be challenged and “brought down” to allow competence and merit to flourish.

She made the assertion during the maiden Conference of the Association of Female Vice Chancellors of Nigerians Universities held over the weekend at UNICAL, with the theme: “Female Leadership in Higher Education Governance: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges”.

Obi maintained that the capacity of women lead should not be judged on few who had failed while in position of power but others who have the competence, capacity and merit to deliver quality service in their areas of endeavor should be allowed to do so without any encumbrances.

She also added that the country would experience growth and development when more women are in position of authority.

Prof Obi maintained that women are quintessential leaders and efficient managers of both human and material resources and therefore excel when given the opportunity.

Her words: ” By coming together to inaugurate the Association of Female Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AFVCNU), we have collectively accepted the responsibility that history has placed on us as leaders of the highest citadels of learning.

“I know our peculiar political landscape which does not give premium to ideas from intellectuals. But I am extremely confident that our depth of ideas and vision, resoluteness, and commitment can create a new atmosphere for great things to happen not only in our campuses but also in other areas.

“In the course of the last three and half years as Vice- Chancellor, my efforts in this direction have largely been successful and impactful in the system, characterized by courage and doggedness.

“The culture of impunity that has become rooted in our clime deserves radical and courageous measures, no matter whose ox is gored.

“In my university, in furtherance of the culture of academic excellence, my administration instituted the Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for the best students with CGPA above 4.00 on the scale of & across the 110 departments

“Gender sensitization is very active on our campus and female students are deliberately encouraged to speak against molestation and sexual harassment. Though sometimes such outspokenness attracts negative publicity to the University, I know it testifies to the success of our efforts,” she said.

Speaking further, she explained that allowing more women coming into position of authority will be the right step in the right direction for the country to move forward.

According to her: “I’m not referring to women that lack capacity, but those who merited the opportunity but discriminated against because of their gender.

She maintained that the conference is a veritable platform for them to mentor young women in education governance and also encourage them to aspire to any position they desire in academics, politics and other spheres.

“Higher education governance has been in the hands of men since the days of University College, Ibadan, and as at today only about 40 women have been given the opportunity to lead institutions of learning, since the inception of university education in Nigeria.

“From inception, we have had close to 500 or more men head such institutions. So, now that for the first time we are having 24 women serving as vice chancellors, we taught it wise to mentor other women to aspire for greatness,” she said.

Obi said that being a female leader in a Nigerian university came with peculiar challenges, as some men did not believe that a woman should be at the top.

On her part, Prof. Lilian Salami, the Chairperson of the conference, said that women are dogged and gradually many organisations were picking women to lead and be in charge of top positions

Salami, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin (UniBen), said the conference would also serve as a ground where women in academics get encouraged.

She said that sharing experience was a significant method in mentoring more women to aspire to get to the peak of their educational pursuit.

“We will share experiences to help other women excel as well as surmount their challenges in their institutions,’ she said.