By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The six-month old crisis that has completely paralysed academic, administrative and technical activities in Lagos State University is still very far from being resolved despite the order given to workers by government to resume last Friday, 4th December, 2009, that now seemed ignored.
As at Tuesday, no offices, departments have been opened, including the Vice Chancellorâ€™s office still under lock. All the other principal officers like the Deputy VC, registrar, bursar, librarian deans of faculties have all deserted their duty posts.
While students are roaming all about on campus like sheep without shepherd, the workers can be seen in different groups and clusters bemoaning their fate, not knowing what could happen in the next moment. They have not received salaries in the last six months.
Based on government directive, the University management which seemed faceless had asked provosts and deans to meet and review the academic calendar for 2009/2010 and reschedule the second semester examinations.
According to the time table released by the University management, students were to begin revision and registration on Monday, 7th to Friday 11th December, 2009.
The second semester examinations slated to begin on Monday, 14th December, 2009.
Yet students are not registering because all academic and administrative machineries are still grounded.
ASUU – LASU congress held its meeting on Thursday, 3rd December, 2009 which considered and extensively deliberated on the content of the press briefing by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Bamidele Opeyemi that all striking unions in the University including ASUU-LASU must resume work latest Friday, 4th December, 2009.
On the unionâ€™s legal consultation with Festus Keyamo Chambers, it was resolved thus:
1. That ASUU-LASU members are not on strike and therefore the order that they should resume work does not arise.
2. That it behoves the management that closed down the University via a Bulletin LASU/INFO/PR/501 dated 7th August, 2009 to reopen the university.
3. That the unionâ€™s legal consultation with Festus Keyamoâ€™s chambers resulting in a letter to the visitor to the University be adopted as amended in line with (1) above; and
4. Unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the chairman and the members of the expanded Exco of the union for a job well done.
These resolutions were signed by Dr. Kabir O. Akinyemi, Chairman, ASUU-LASU, and Dr. E.O. Wahab, Secretary, ASUU-LASU.
When Vanguard Education Weekly spoke with Akinyemi in his office at LASU , he said:
â€œWe are ready to work, but no head, no management to give us directive. Let them provide the enabling environment for us to work. Theyâ€™ve released time table, no problem. We are waiting for the vice chancellor to come and resume if the vice chancellor wants to come, let him come. We are not on strike. We are on the ground.â€
Meanwhile, one of the resolutions of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Niger Delta University (NDU) Wilberforce Island on Saturday 5th – Sunday 6th December, 2009, was support given to LASU in the lingering crisis at the institution.
NEC examined the crisis in LASU and resolved to support the branch in its struggle to ensure:
* that the visitor should take seriously the findings of the six-man Ad hoc committee set by the Lagos State House of Assembly which indicted the Vice Chancellor;
* The setting up of a Visitation panel to the university in accordance with public service rules;
* the vice chancellor be asked to step aside pending the findings and recommendations of the panel.
Also speaking with Vanguard on the LASU dispute, Funmi Sessi, Chairperson, Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) LASU Branch, described the situation as sad.
â€œItâ€™s sad that one arm of government has indicted the vice chancellor, another arm is saying he should stay in office.
This is unfortunate. The Governor had been pretending that nothing was happening at LASU, only for him suddenly to order everyone to work, trying to impose the vice chancellor on the university and threatening everybody. You can see that nothing is happening, everyone just hanging around. None of the principal officers have come into the campus.â€
Sessi said that when Keyamoâ€™s ultimatum to the visitor to suspend the vice chancellor expires, he is likely to be prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Vice Chancellor has been interrogated already by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
Asked what will happen if the vice chancellor returns to office.
Her answer: â€œLet him come back if he has the heart. Theyâ€™ve released time table, but nothing is going on. We have not been paid for six months now. If government can toy with university workers, I wonder what they will do to the masses.Â We donâ€™t have leaders in Nigeria, but rulers.â€