BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA — THE crisis rocking Nnamdi Azikiwe University’s branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, took another dimension Thursday with the emergence of a faction, known as ASUU Nnamdi Azikiwe University Progressives.
The group, consisting of many professors and other academic staff, said at a crowded news conference at the School of Post Graduate Studies of the university, that as stakeholders in the institution, they would not watch the local ASUU drag the name of UNIZIK to the mud.
Spokesman of the group, Professor Maduabuchukwu Uduko, lamented a situation where the institution’s ASUU dragged the university to court without consulting members, adding that the action was capable of denting the image of the university.
Uduko said: “The activities of the local ASUU have beclouded the edifying status and integrity of Nnamdi Azikiwe University and insulted the positive public perception and intelligibility about the place of the institution in Nigeria.
“ In consequence, ASUU has become divided against itself and to forestall its festering wounds from degenerating into mortal death of quality assurance standard for which the university is reputed to be, a group of progressive professors and academics is now at the center stage to defend and sustain the reputation of the university.
“Barely six months after the resuscitation of ASUU in this university more than a decade of fallowness, its leadership has denigrated and contradicted itself, undermined the good intentions of ASUU at the national level and dispossessed its credibility in its quest to discredit the management and destroy UNIZIK.
“In its confrontational agenda, it boycotted the senate council election of 16th April, 2013 and fixed a factional meeting same day in an apparent showdown with the university authority, staff and students.
“We stand by the vice chancellor, Professor Boniface Egboka’s legacies in the university and its relentless efforts to build a formidable institution in a team work unsurpassed in the history of the university.”
The group attributed the confrontational stance of ASUU to what it described as the inordinate ambitions of vested interests within and outside the university who were already fighting for the office of vice chancellor of UNIZIK which would become vacant in June, 2014.
It warned that if the leadership of ASUU failed to retrace its steps, it stood the risk of facing an impeachment.
However, reacting to the position of ASUU progressives, the chairman of ASUU, Professor Ike Odimegwu described the emergence of the group as a misnomer, adding that there is only one ASUU in the country and there is only charter for ASUU.