By Demola Akinyemi
Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) at the weekend in Ilorin raised fresh plots by the federal government to trample upon the rights of its members across the nation’s universities and destroyed tertiary education in Nigeria.
Also, the University of Ilorin branch of the union which had excluded itself from the activities of the national body for about 20 years has expressed its determination to join forces with the national body to fight the federal government over the current crisis.
The Ibadan Zonal Chairman of the union, Comrade Ade Adejumo, in company of other members of national executives dropped the hint in the main auditorium of University of Ilorin while offering members information and sensitising them on possible strike action because of the fresh plot against members by the federal government particularly if the federal government fails to pay this month salary due to their continue insistence against the policy of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS).
Adejumo told members that, the federal government has directed the Head of Service of the Federation Dr. (Mrs) Folasade Yemi Esan to set up 11 members committee to review the rights and delusion of ranks of academics in the universities in the country.
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The union, therefore, charged members to come together to resist the plots saying, “no one will come to fight for you except we fight for ourselves so as to protect the university autonomy in the country”.
According to him, “As we are here seated, I know some of us want to go on sabbatical leave, collect our accumulated leave, contracts appointment and host of others, before our very eyes, very, very soon, that will be taking away from us by the federal government.”
He said that “… A tone has been set on that plots and anytime from now on because an 11-member committee has been inaugurated by the acting Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. (Mrs.) Folasade Yemi Esan, to review sabbatical and contract appointments and you what that means now to academics?
“When you listen to the comment from the government circles especially when the issue of IPPIS lasted, there were insinuations that lecturers worked on multiple campuses.
“Even during our meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Mustapha Boss said that lecturers worked in multiple campuses but we let him know that, accumulated and sabbatical leave, contract appointment and others are our rights that cannot be infringed upon and the government quickly set up committee to look on our rights.
“Don’t be surprised that, by the time the committee is being set up, the report is already written to put an end to our rights like accumulated and sabbatical leave, contract appointment among others thereby putting you permanently where you belong”.
Adejumo added that “To average politicians in the country, members of the ASUU are too arrogant, we cannot be controlled and they need to bring us down like that but we will resist the plot.
“Apart from this, there is another plot to dilute the academic ranks of union members in the nation’s universities. Normally, the appointment to academic positions must originate from the departments because the department is supposed to identify who may need for such a position.
“By the time the IPPIS runs its circles, the government will start posting staff from Abuja. When you get to your department, you will start seeing new faces.
“Don’t be surprised also that, your students that managed to pass your courses will be sitting with you in your offices and by the time they have achieved that, they have diluted you and lower your ranks and it rests on us to resist the plot so as to protect our rights and ranks in the universities.”
Adejumo stated further that, the policy of IPPIS by the government was a distraction a scam adding that, “it is a deliberate effort to ignore the implementation of the agreement reached with the union that led to the suspension of its last national strike.
The ASUU national officer who said that federal government was deliberately plotting to destroyed University education having destroyed public primary and secondary education noted further that ASUU remains the only union that can stop the plot and therefore urged members to show deep understanding against this plot since none of them including other members of the public can afford to sponsor their wards education in overseas country.
He also urged the government to respect the agreement and implement it so as to bring new lease of life to the university system in the country.
Earlier, the branch chairman of the University of Ilorin, ASUU, Professor Salihu Moyosore Ajao, who lauded the massive attendance of the union at the meeting said that the development has changed the past notion of the National leadership of the union about the branch.
He said that the Unilorin branch of ASUU is now more committed to the national ASUU Unilorin and ready to be part of any struggle of the union in order to restore the past glory of the union in the country.
Ajao who pledged unalloyed support of the branch to the national union, however, said that, the branch would part of any move to add values to the educational growth of the university system in the country.
“Our members are better informed now than before and those initially sitting on the fence have moved to the side of the Union. We are with the union and I can tell you that we are with them 100 per cent. Whenever any action is taken it is going to be fully complied with,” he said.