The Congress of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti branch, has opposed the directive of the management of the institution, calling for the resumption of academic activities.
Edward Olanipekun, Vice Chancellor of EKSU, last week directed the institution to reopen for academic activities in defiance of the ongoing ASUU strike.
The nation’s universities have been shut down since February over the ASUU strike action, which has now been transmuted into a total and indefinite strike.
“It was a decision taken by the stakeholders about the effect of this prolonged strike on the institution and our position has been made public about our intention to begin work and restore normalcy,” Mr Olanipekun had said.
Although non-academic staff and some students had trickled into the school on Monday, in line with the directive, the lecturers stayed away.
The lecturers at their Congress on Wednesday resolved that the management’s decision to reopen the school was ineffective as they will only return to work by the directive of the National Executive Committee of ASUU.
A communique issued after the congress, which was made available to our correspondent, said the congress was to transmit the decision of NEC to members on the decision of an indefinite strike and to review the situation in EKSU.
“The peculiar problems of EKSU are not strange to us all and they predate our current struggles,” the communique signed by ASUU Chairman, Kayode Arogundade, stated.
“As such, a call for resumption of academic activities in the middle of a nationwide action is suggestive of an attempt to criminalise ASUU’s struggles and a glaring pretense as if EKSU is not a huge beneficiary of previous nationwide struggles.
“To this end, it was agreed that: The University (EKSU) Administration should accord ASUU the respect given to other sister unions prior to the suspension of their nationwide strike action and stop acting as if the union is immaterial in the running of the system.
“In essence, ASUU-EKSU remains a very strong branch of ASUU and will not succumb to any cheap blackmail or intimidation from any quarters to suspend the current struggle without directive from NEC.”
The Congress also commended the declaration of a total strike by NEC, saying it was long overdue, given that the government had not shown enough commitment and sincerity towards the spirit of collective bargaining.
This comes as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) urged the federal government to apply its power to “hire and fire” any employee in dealing with the university lecturers over the declaration of indefinite strike.
NANS accused ASUU of promoting the private universities, where many of them currently work and have their wards.
The NANS President, Sunday Asefon, said this in a statement reacting to ASUU’s declaration of an indefinite strike last week to press for some pending demands for lecturers.
Mr Asefon said such a decision was easy for ASUU to take because many of their leaders don’t have their wards in public universities and that many lecturers are employees of various private universities around the country.
He lamented the alleged destructive disposition of ASUU members to the growth of public universities, accusing them of not being wary of the imminent collapse of the system by their conduct.
“Some of them are not in any way affected by their attempt to collapse the sector for their selfish and inconsiderate gains. ASUU had succeeded initially to masquerade their strike action as being in the interest of Nigeria and in the interest of the teeming Nigerian students,” he said.
“Events of recent weeks have, therefore, made it abundantly clear that ASUU has an ulterior motive, which is to collapse university education system in Nigeria and systematically promote private universities where many of them have their children.
“Government must maintain its position as an employer and use its power to hire and fire effectively at this time to save our education system from the total collapse planned by ASUU.”
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