By Ola Ajayi
The uneven salary increase in the take home pay of the academic and non academic staff of Nigerian universities proposed by Gamaliel Onosode led committee may have pitched him against some workers of the University of Ibadan.
Both the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have also drawn a battle line with the renowned economist over his comments on the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Onosode is the Head, Federal Government Negotiation team finding ways to solve the knotty issue of the strike. He was at the institution to commission some projects which he donated as former Chairman, Governing Council of the institution to commemorate his graduation from the institution after 50 years.
Onosode led committee was said to have decided to increase the salary of SSANU and NASU by 20 per cent while salary of the academic staff was to be increased by 40 per cent.
As a result of his alleged disappointing role in the Federal Government and ASUU face-off, SSANU and NASU had concluded plans to humiliate Onosode at the University of Ibadan yesterday but for the quick intervention of the school authorities.
The plan was scuttled by the spirited efforts of the Registrar, Mrs. Omotayo Ikotun and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC), Administration, Prof. Afolabi Bamgboye, who had reportedly met with the aggrieved workers on Tuesday to jettison the plan.
Comrade Jonathan Omoolona, Chairman, U.I chapter of SSANU, said â€œthe Registrar and DVC Administration spent over two hours with the unions persuading them to let the program go. Already, the placards had been prepared with embarrassing words and we had planned to rain some sachets of pure water on himâ€.
â€œThey have asked UNILAG people to make the place uncomfortable for him and his council meeting. How can he say that he was not aware that SSANU is on strike? As far as we are concerned, Onosode has written himself offâ€.
Some principal officers of the university were, however, said to have got wind of the plan and appealed to the aggrieved workers to give peace a chance.
Specifically, the Registrar of the institution, Mrs. Omotayo Ikotun and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC), Administration, Prof. Afolabi Bamgboye, were said to have met with the aggrieved workers on Tuesday night for over two hours, appealing to them to shelve their plans.
Chairman, U.I chapter of SSANU, Comrade Jonathan Omoolona, confirmed the development while chatting with newsmen after a weekly congress of the union yesterday.
He said,â€The Registrar and DVC Administration spent over two hours with the unions persuading them to let the program go. They promised that they will allow the unionsâ€™ executive councils to meet with him (Onosode) and table their grievances.
â€œBefore disparity will come to place, there must be another re-evaluation as was done by Cookie Commission of 1980. The university belongs to all of us. We all have a stake in it. No group of workers must have the feeling of superiority above othersâ€.
â€œWhat we are asking for is beyond salary. The N5.5 billion intervention fund was released to six out of 27 federal universities in the country. But if the Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, could single-handedly approved over N400 billion as bailout fund for five banks without recourse to the National Assembly, what stopped the federal government in approving the N78 billion we asked for to improve facilities in the universities? He asked.