Nigeria/October 08, 2022/By Josiah Oluwole/Source: https://allafrica.com/
The lecturers claimed the university management was owing its staff N11 billion.
The Ekiti State University Ado Ekiti (EKSU) on Thursday formally opened for academic activities with the matriculation of 4,000 students.
But the Academic Staff Union of Universities, EKSU branch, has distanced itself from the opening of the school, saying the strike remained total and the strike coordinating committee has been re-energised.
The union at its Congress on Thursday noted that the management of the school had made a written request for its members to return to classes for academic activities on the grounds of ESLKSU’s peculiarities.
It said the university was owing its workforce about a billion in arrears of salaries, gratuities, unremitted deductions to cooperative societies, unremitted tax deductions and arrears of annual increments.
It said although the university administration had consistently been appealing to its teeming workforce for special consideration during the strike, there had been a failure by the administration to appreciate the efforts.
While arguing that the special considerations being pleaded by the management was not tenable, the union said even if the university reopens for activities today, it would still not be able to survive the financial onslaught already dished out on it by the epileptic financial support from the state government.
The union, therefore, resolved after its deliberations to turn down the request by management.
The resolution signed by its Chairman, Kayode Arogundade and Secretary, O.D. Ogunwale noted that EKSU was not the only university being faced with pressing peculiarities and unless government wakes up to its fundamental responsibility of funding tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the end to the local branch struggles is not in aight, even after the ongoing national struggle.
The union also noted that EKSU had benefited from ASUU struggles in the past, asserting that but for such struggles, EKSU would have been a “glorified secondary school.”
“Going by the above analysis and quality of governance enjoyed at both state and federal levels in Nigeria(with reference to funding of university education in Nigeria), it is out of place for a university like EKSU, that had benefited immensely and continuously from the national struggles of ASUU to thinker with breaking the national struggle for whatsoever reasons,” the union held.
“To this end, ASUU-EKSU Congress distances itself from the (unfortunate and unwarranted) request of the university’s administration and any other adjoining publication to that effect by encouraging all our members to remain resolute in the quest for the survival of university education in Nigeria.
“The ongoing strike is total and comprehensive. The strike coordinating committee is hereby re-energised and empowered to report any act of compromise by any of our members in due course.”
At a ceremony earlier in the day, the school’s management gave an indication that EKSU had broken away from the nationwide strike called by the national union since February this year.
This is the second time the EKSU management was moving to reopen the school amidst the strike but had met with resistance from the local branch of the union.
Several meetings to resolve the issues between the union and the federal government had failed to yield results, even as the nation gears up for the 2023 elections.
Meanwhile, at the matriculation ceremony held at the school campus, the Vice Chancellor, Edward Olanipekun, rejoiced with the fresh students for making the right choice by coming to EKSU.
He stated that EKSU, in the recently released ranking of universities, was ranked as the second-best State University, 14th overall best in Nigeria and the 18th best in terms of employability of Nigerian University graduates.
The vice chancellor encouraged them to be proud of the opportunity to be students in an institution that now occupies such an enviable position in the comity of Nigerian Universities.
Mr Olanipekun charged the new students to follow the laid down guidelines for the payment of approved fees through the University portal.
“I also charge you to live up to the matriculation oath, which they had taken and asserted that EKSU, under his leadership, had zero tolerance to any form of anti-social behaviour,” he said.
“Let me add that any breach of the rules and regulations of the university would attract appropriate sanctions”.