The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has lashed out at some vice-chancellors of federal and state universities for betraying the union in its agitation for better tertiary education in the country.
While the ASUU strike and negotiation with the Federal Government over structural revitalisation in the universities, salary shortfall and earned allowances of university lecturers is ongoing, some universities, including the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, allegedly conducted examinations and other academic activities for their students.
While giving updates on the negotiation with the Federal Government and why schools had yet to be reopened after a meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja, Ogunyemi said some state governors pretended to be funding their state universities by calling on the vice-chancellors in such schools to disregard ASUU directives on the strike.
He said, “There are many reasons that will account for some universities reopening to conduct examinations, while the strike and negotiation with the government over infrastructural revitalisation and other issues are still on.
“Some vice-chancellors are uncooperative, even though they will spend the money that ASUU is agitating for. Some of them misapplied the fund and that is why we will continue to be in a crisis. When we go back (after the strike), we are going to engage a lot of VCs.
“There are state universities where the governors are playing the ostrich. They do so because they pretend to be funding their universities. On the contrary, when you visit many state universities, you will find that the bulk of their capital projects in the last 10 years are funded from TETFund intervention. We call them TETFUND universities.
“Lately, some of these infrastructures are built from the NEEDS Assessment grants. Those governors asking the VCs of their state universities to re-open are insincere to the university system. They are not doing what is expected of them.
“The third reason that I will allude to that dissension in some campuses is that some of our members are aggrieved for reasons best known to them. Some said they would pull out of ASUU and go their own way. But when you take it from the balance, you will find out that within them, they are not opposed to what we are agitating for. The earned academic allowances and revitalisation fund will go to their universities and where there is salary shortfall, it will be refunded to them. At the end of the day, it is a matter of conscience.”
The ASUU boss said the union was not surprised by the acts of betrayal from some members of the union and the corrupt practices among some VCs, stressing that the necessary disciplinary measures would be applied at the appropriate time.
“Just like you find in any group, there are people who betray their conscience and we cannot stop them. For those who pretend to be with us, but who are not with us, we will take them through our process at the appropriate time because every organisation must have its own disciplinary mechanism,” he noted.