By Asu Bisong Kekong
In narrating what he called ‘My Side of the Story’, Prof. Cyril Ndifon did an injustice to the University of Calabar and the public by not revealing the following truths.
1. The VC, Prof. Florence Obi alongside Prof. Egaga, Bassey Igiri Okon and Prof. Rowland Ndoma Egba were among Cross Riverians who lobbied for the lifting of his suspension in 2015. They did that believing Ndifon’s story that he was set up by those who were against Cross River’s interest in the university, who wanted his Deanship and to ridicule him as the first Professor of Law from the state.
2. As VC, Prof. Obi worked with the then Council Chair, Senator Nkechi Nwogu for the lifting of the six-year sanctions against his holding any office to be lifted.
3. As Dean he always used his close relationship with the VC to harass, intimidate and cow other academics and students who had even openly accused the VC of shielding him for too long. When he became Dean for the second time, the VC advised him against victimising perceived opponents and invited him to a meeting with Prof. Okom, then (DVC-Admin), and the Registrar, Gabe Egbe to advise him on self-control, relationship with women, work ethics and the unity of all the staff of the faculty. It is obvious that he didn’t take the advice.
4. Ndifon took his relationship with the VC for granted and went against the extant regulations of the institution. The VC cautioned him on the release of results and refused to give executive approval for final year results insisting that they must all pass through due process of vetting before law school mobilisation. This didn’t go down well with Ndifon. Last year, he went ahead to mobilise students, some of them with incomplete results, to Law School, without due process. Management had to direct the Registrar to write to the DG of the Law School to withdraw the list. Ndifon saw nothing wrong with this embarrassment of the university.
5. Before the public demonstration, staff and students had long been complaining of sexual harassment to the VC who quietly advised him not to allow affliction to arise the second time. But Ndifon prefers to sing about how people want to destroy his integrity rather than heed quiet advice.
6. After he won his second term elections as Dean, he went berserk with those who did not support and vote for him including his co-contestant, Prof. Dada whose office he took over and gave to Dr Mike Otu who was Campaign DG for Dada during the 2nd term reelection thus setting these two against each other in his characteristic manner. Dr Ugbe, who is now Acting Dean and others equally had their share of his iron fist for not supporting him. The crisis got to an alarming level that drew management’s attention leading to its first visit to the faculty for a meeting. All decisions reached at the meeting were thrown away by Ndifon as he implemented none. This led the VC, the DVCs and DAp to return to the faculty to assign office accommodation to Prof. Dada by relocating Dr Mike to another office. Ndifon needs to be reminded that when the VC was DVC she had cause to visit the faculty and held meetings twice to resolve issues that were also bedevilling the faculty. Prof. Ndifon exhibited his ignorance of the workings of the administration he is supposed to be part of when he said protesting students don’t get access to the VC’s office. He needs to know that Prof. Florence Obi as VC has personally addressed all protesting students and staff in the administrative block (except she is not in town).
7. To further buttress Prof. Ndifon’s penchant for disregarding university rules and regulations and disdain for the directives of the VC, some weeks back Ndifon again sent the list of students to the Law School without due process.
8. Rather than look for those behind the students’ protest, Ndifon should say issues raised are false. That he is not an incurable abuser and predator as alleged by current and hundreds of past students who have stories to tell of his abuses.
The #me too# that is trending from past students that the VC does not even know, is it the VC that mobilised them?
Ndifon has moral issues that are well known to staff and students both past and present. He should change his narrative as Cross Riverians are not going to be fooled again by the same old story of his being the first law Professor from the state in the faculty and his detractors who want his deanship. It is important to note that Ndifon is not the only first Cross River State Prof in UNICAL. Other faculties have firsts also, yet nobody is accusing them of sexual harassment. Other faculties have nonindigenes as Deans, yet no one is blackmailing the ingenious Professors or accusing them of being serial perverts. Prof. Ndifon should stop deceiving himself about his imaginary ‘hard-earned name’ and face the panel and the court of public opinion rather than blame others for his woes. Running to court to stop the university from investigating him is an admission of guilt. Otherwise, why is he afraid of facing the panel?
9. Talking about the VC’s son and Speakership is an old wive’s tale because Ndifon has no role to play in that matter. This is the time for him to publicly apologise to staff and students he has victimised and sexually abused because the VC remains determined to give the University of Calabar a new lease of life.
CAVEAT: Views expressed in this article are that of the author, Asu Bisong Kekong, and in any way related to those of CONVERSEER and or its staff.