The Joint Action Congress (JAC) of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union(NASU) of University of Ibadan(UI), on Thursday said the unions will never allow the people they described as ‘political jobbers’ to dictate the pace in the institution again.
Recall that the institution has been engulfed in a crisis over the process of appointing a new vice chancellor for the university.
The non-teaching members of the institution protested recently, alleging that the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, has imposed a candidate on the university, which led to the suspension of the process by the Governing Council.
The Senate of the university after its meeting on Wednesday, however, asked the Governing Council to continue with the process and called for punishment against the non-academic staff members over their action.
But addressing a press conference on Thursday, the chairman of SSANU and JAC, Comrade Wale Akinremi, who spoke on behalf of the unions, said they were not surprised “when some few people gathered at the senate chamber on Wednesday to shamelessly rant against our democratic right to stage protests.”
Akinremi, who described the threat of the university’s senate to punish the union members as a joke taken too far, said the Act establishing the university has defined the lines of responsibility of the various arms of governance in the most unambiguous terms, noting that every staff of the university has an appointment that has been gazetted by the Federal Government.
“When has it become the responsibility of the senate to sit on matters of union struggles in the university? In any case, the dramatics of yesterday is not a true reflection of the respected senate of our great university. It was a political meeting of Olayinka Peoples Party. Our senate can never be a meddlesome interloper, petty and infantile,” the JAC chairman said.
He stated that towards the process of congregation election to council, the non-teaching members of staff through the JAC, wrote letters to the vice chancellor and the pro-chancellor/chairman of council, pointing out the observed fundamental flaws and biased disposition of the vice chancellor.
“We raised those issues for corrections and adjustments to be made. There was never a point where we assume the responsibility of the appointment of the Vice Chancellor.
“We later realised at our meeting with the Chairman of council on Saturday, 24th October that our letters were not allowed to reach the Chairman of council. This was confirmed when he told us point blank that he was not aware of some of the issues raised,” he said.
The SSANU chairman stated that it is painful to see that the arms of governance in the university have been idle and seemed not to be concerned with the actions of the university management, adding that everything goof about the university have been destroyed.
“The morale of workers is at abysmal level. They cannot pay workers, the university is insolvent; they are owing IBEDC. They have milked dry the DLC, College of Postgraduate Studies and all IGR points. University of Ibadan is in reds,” he said.
Akinremi, who assured members that it is just the beginning of the struggle to retrieve the university from predators, said only God knows the next vice chancellor of the university.
His words: “We have made our position known and we know we cannot be a judge in our own case. While we await the final resolution of the conundrum, we want to use this platform to commend all the shortlisted candidates for their maturity and forbearance during the protest. We also appreciate the council chairman for his fatherly presence to address our congress.”
He pleaded with the Federal Government to pay the salaries of the lecturers and recommend a paradigm shift towards strengthening academic quality with the idea that students should assess their teachers on content mode of delivery among others.
“We are also going to recommend a comprehensive change in the process of the appointment of Vice Chancellors. The powers of the Vice Chancellors in the selection of the Deputy Vice Chancellors must be reduced. Composition of councils must be reviewed,” he added.