Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, South-south Nigeria, Prof. Zana Akpagu, has been crowned with the highest chieftaincy title by his community, Bebuagbong in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Prof. Akpagu, who was honoured with the title “Utsu Ute-Kushu l of Bebuagbong Clan” was decorated during a reception organized in his honour by the community on January 1, 2018.
The Clan Head of the community, Chief Francis Akpagu, in his remarks during the ceremony, said that the honour was conferred on the Vice-Chancellor in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the development of the community and Obudu local government in general.
Describing the VC as “an illustrious son and a good ambassador” of the community, Chief Akpagu said that the entire community was proud of his emergence as the first alumni VC as well as the first person from the northern part of state to attain the position.
“We as a community decided today, 1st of January 2018 to celebrate our illustrious son and our very proud Ambassador, Prof. Zana Akpagu. We’re particularly happy with his impact on the development of our community.
“Today, we will confer the prestigious title of Utsu Ute-Kushu 1 which means that a chief that will continue to soar higher. We are very proud of him because he’s the first alumnus VC and the very first from the entire Cross River North”.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and the Chairman of Bebuagbong Development Association, Dr. Gabriel Akpeke, in his opening remarks said that the honour has shown that a good prophet has honour in his home.
Akpeke added that the ceremony was to demonstrate the community’s deep seated appreciation of Prof. Akpagu’s numerous positive impacts on his people.
He said “a few examples of such positive impacts are steeped in his attraction of primary and secondary schools to the community, his citing of a Micro Finance Bank in Bebuagbong and the attendant employment opportunities offered by these projects to indigenes of the community”.
Continuing he said that, “Even before he became a VC, Zana’s commitment to the entire Ipong community has been legendary. This explains why the Chiefs and the people of Ipong conferred on him the prestigious Chieftaincy of “Ushi-Kebe 1 of Ipong”.
While urging Akpagu to continue do more, Akpeke advised him to remain focused as “Nigerians around you observe good table manners- when they are eating they do not talk and nobody hears them but when they are hungry they make alot of noise and formulate excuses. Hence, if everybody is happy with you then you would make a lot of compromises so continue to avoid a life of conformity”.
Responding Prof. Akpagu said “I thank the community for bestowing this honour which I honestly think I don’t deserve. The honour is very special to me because it’s coming from home. People say a prophet has no honour in his home but my case is different. I pray God to give me the grace to continue to contribute to the development of my community”.
He added that “Our town hall project is long overdue therefore while I will commence the foundation in my individual capacity, I’ll discuss with Frank Ikemti, the CEO of FrankBornd oil and gas and other eminent personalities to ensure that the project is completed soonest”.
The occasion which also witnessed the decoration of his wife, Ntunkae Winifred Akpagu with a traditional title attracted top politicians, academics, business moguls and clergymen.