… Warns VCs against siphoning of funds
By Elizabeth Uwandu
Following the suspension of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU after the Union and the federal government reached an agreement, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi has said it was never the desire of ASUU to use strike as tool for agitation.
Ogunyemi however lamented that it was painful that industrial action has been the only language successive government since 1980 understood to meet public demands in virtually all sectors.
to ASUU chairman , “Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of “non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.
“Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile disposition to university education.
Why Strike Action? The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the universities?
“However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria. ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health, transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living. This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and resisted by all people of goodwill.” He stated.
Ogunyemi while thanking those that stood by the body during the industrial action, accused some Vice Chancellors of mismanagement of varsity funds.
“ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice Chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our Union to Nigeria’s public universities. Consequently, we condemn, in the strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and, in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the revitalization of public universities in Nigeria.
“ASUU will not shy away from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to university culture and the progressive development of our universities. Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant authorities for further action.
“Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all through the strike period. We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected President, Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout the struggle. We also acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society organisations, especially the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and members of the progressive wing of the media who have consistently partnered with us in our mission to rescue Nigerian public universities from imminent collapse.
“While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope and desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will play the roles expected of them in order to make the new Memorandum work. We shall never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound university system. For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!” ASUU helmsman said