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ASUU urges Govt to immediately reinstate university Governing councils

The union resolved that the non-reinstatement of Governing Councils in universities was responsible for the ongoing illegalities in public universities.

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke [TheConclaveNg]

The union decided at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, between May 11 and May 12. A statement on the resolutions of the union at the NEC meeting was issued and made available to newsmen in Abuja by ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke.

Osodeke said the union resolved that the non-reinstatement or reconstitution of Governing Councils in universities was responsible for the ongoing illegalities and flagrant violation of autonomy in public universities.

According to him, NEC in session also undertook a review of the status of its engagements with Federal and State Governments on how to reposition Nigeria’s public universities for global reckoning and competitiveness.

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He said the NEC condemned in strong terms, the seeming refusal of federal and state governments to decisively address all outstanding issues with the union. Oshodeke said that NEC resolved to reconvene after two weeks, from the date of the meeting, to review the situation and take decisive action to address the issues.

The meeting also took a critical look at the worsening living and working conditions in our universities and the nation at large.

“The meeting received alarming reports on the failed promises of the federal and state governments towards addressing the lingering issues that forced the union to embark on the nationwide strike action of February–October 2022.

“NEC sadly noted that there are no serious efforts to redress the ugly situation.

"Reports available to NEC indicate that an increasing number of Nigerian academics died while thousands of others are nursing life-threatening ailments occasioned by work-related stress, absolute pauperisation, and multidimensional insecurity,” he said.

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Speaking on the renegotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement, Osodeke called on President Bola Tinubu-led administration to immediately set in motion the process that would lead to the review and signing of the Nimi Briggs-led renegotiated draft agreement.

ASUU president said doing so, would serve as a mark of goodwill and assured hope for Nigeria’s public universities. Also, on the crisis of reinstatement of governing councils in public universities, he said NEC observed the continued erosion of the autonomy of public universities, contrary to the provisions of the Universities Miscellaneous Act (1993, 2012).

According to him, the illegal dissolution of governing councils by the President Tinubu government and many state governments had paved the way for all manner of illegalities in the Nigerian University System.

“University administrations now place advertisements for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor without authorisation from the appropriate quarters – the Governing Councils.

“Outgoing Vice-Chancellors, working in cahoots with the federal and state Ministries of Education, are illegally running the universities on daily basis.

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“They routinely usurp the powers of governing councils to recruit and discipline staff as well as manage university finances in manners bereft of transparency and accountability.

“It is therefore stating the obvious to say that these and sundry activities that run contrary to the extant laws are compounding cases of corruption in our universities.

“ASUU condemns these anomalies in strong terms and calls on the federal government and the equally affected state governments to respect the laws establishing their universities,” he stated.

Osodeke also said that the union’s position on the unending grip of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) remained unchanged.

He called on the government to revert to quarterly releases of university funds to enable the institutions to design and implement their salary payment plans under the supervision of their governing councils.

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Oshodeke added that the union would continue to reject the NUC-imposed Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS). According to him, the Commission is unrelenting in enforcing its implementation with effect from the current academic session.

“Almost all universities are being burdened with funding resource verification for migrating from the erstwhile Basic Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) to the new academic benchmark.

“ASUU considers these developments as infractions that are unhealthy for the Nigerian University System.

“University Senates are the authorities recognised by university laws to initiate academic programmes and award degrees, diplomas and certificates,” he added.

He said ASUU had engaged owners of public universities (Federal and State Governments) in the last decade but these issues were yet to be meaningfully addressed.

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