The Oasis Reporters
September 15, 2020
Emeritus governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi who also was the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, has rejoiced with Professor Florence Obi, who just broke a 45-year jinx by emerging the first female Vice-Chancellor-elect of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross River State.
Mr. Peter Obi has expressed hopes that her tenure would be fruitful while explaining that the position of vice chancellor was highly elevated demandin a lot of intellectual input. He said that it was a position only attained after a rigorous screening process. He then hailed Prof Obi for emerging victorious after the rigorous stages to emerge the choice pick for the 45-year old institution.
Professor Obi may be seen to be walking in the footsteps of the Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, first ever female Vice Chancellor of a Nigerian public University, University of Benin.
The Governing Council of the University of Calabar led by Senator Nkechi Nworgu as pro chancellor and chairman of council, announced to the surprise of all, appointment of the first ever female Vice Chancellor since it’s inception of University of Calabar in 1975.
The much we know about Professor Florence Obi is that she is from Bansan osokom in Boki local government Area in cross River State.
She is married with 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
She attended St Bridget’s Primary School, Ogep Osokom, Boki, Cross River State, F.S.LC. 1969
and obtained a Teacher’s Grade II certificate from St Thomas’s Teachers Training College, Ogoja; Cross River State, in 1983.
She proceeded to University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, obtaining a B.Ed(Hons), Special Education, 1988; M.Ed. Special Education, 1990
Jordan Hill College of Education, Glasgow-Scotland; PGCEE, 1993
University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria; Ph.D Psychology of Education, 2002
She began her academic career as an Assistant Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of Calabar in March 1990 (30 years ago).
Two years after her appointment, with her utmost desire to foster a bold and innovative spirit in faculty teaching and academic excellence, she won a 6-months postgraduate scholarship to Jordan-Hill College of Education, Glasgow, Scotland, under the World University Service (WUS) World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in a keenly contested interview for staff of the Institute of Education.
On her return from the United kingdom, she was placed in charge of the WWF/NCF funded schools and Community Education Programmes.
She subsequently facilitated the development of the degree programme in Environmental Education of the University, which has since resulted in the establishment of a full-fledged and flourishing Department of Environmental Education.
Professor Florence Banku obi later rose to become a Professor of Special Needs Education in 2007.
Permanent Member of the Senate, University of Calabar since 2007.
Member, University Central Accreditation Committee, University of Calabar, 2006-2008.
Chairperson, Housing Loan Implementation Committee, University of Calabar, 2011-2015.
As Dean, she pioneered the take-off of 22 affiliate programmes of the Federal College of Education, Obudu, Cross River State and the Federal College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Benue State to the faculty of Education of the University of Calabar.
Professor Florence Banku Obi had also served as the Chairperson of University of Calabar International Demonstration School (formerly called University of Calabar International Secondary School) where she left lasting physical legacies to her credit.
Following her credibility, integrity and commitment to service, she was voted as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) by the University Senate.
As DVC Academics, she was also a member of the University Governing Council, where she brought her wealth of experience to bear on the growth and development of the University.
Professor Florence served as honourable commissioner, ministry of women affairs and social development and member of Cross River State executive council in 2007.
Professor Obi is a recipient of many Awards/Honours, including the Student Union Government, University of Calabar, “Award as the most student friendly Dean of the Faculty” in 2014.
Describing Prof Obi as a profound educational icon, Obi urged her to continue raising the educational standards of the university, while ensuring that the citadel of learning continued producing individuals certified in learning and in character. Obi wished her well on her new journey, while encouraging her to give in her best and leave behind lasting legacies.
“I believe the emergence of Prof Florence Obi as the Vice Chancellor-elect of University of Calabar, Cross River State, is a blessing to the institution. I sincerely congratulate her on such a great attainment, while urging her to boldly keep raising the standard of learning in the institution”, Obi said.
Obi encouraged the youths, especially the female folks, to look up to the likes of Prof Florence Obi, and many other Nigerian women, like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Prof Rita Orji, etc, making great impacts across the globe. He described them as worthy role models to young ladies, who should learn from them the virtue of hard work, dedication and focus in one’s endeavours.
What is not known however is her connection to Peter Obi, beyond the last name similarity. They may be called by the same last name, Peter Obi is from Anambra Central, while Prof. Florence Obi is from Boki local government in Cross Rivers State..
Though Peter Obi’s wife is from Cross River State, the relationship between the duo may just be a coincidence.