From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said no amount of threats will make the lecturers stop fighting for quality education and welfare of her members, until the right thing is done by the government.
The union made the disclosure in a release signed by the Convener, ASUU Rapid Response, Prof Ade Adejumo, entitled: ‘COPSON: Stoking the Blaze of Discord’, which was made available to journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday.
The ASUU also advised the Committee of Pro-chancellors of State Owned Universities in Nigeria (COPSON) to stop playing to the gallery and learn from their counterparts in Federal Universities, who are impressing it on government to do the needful for public universities.
The COPSON had issued a communique at the end of the meeting of the committee, where they said government should enforce no-work-no-pay and that the centrally agreed negotiations would not be binding on them to obey.
Adejumo, who knocked COPSON for saying collectively agreed negotiations would not be binding on them asked them to explain “why have they not insisted that policies and directives of central regulatory bodies like JAMB, NUC and NYSC are not binding on them?”
He stated that “ASUU is one, a thousand communiques and threats from COPSON cannot break our ranks and iron resolve to see this struggle and any other one in the future to its successful end.”
“These indeed are grave moments and ominous signs on the horizon for our education system. The latest assault on the university system in Nigeria is captured by the communique released by the committee of pro-chancellors of state Universities.
“The ‘fatuwah” declared on the principle of collective bargaining by a duly registered union like ASUU, for its members is quite worrisome. If we may ask, what is the function of a union if not to see to the welfare of its members? Why is COPSON fixated on the curious idea that centrally negotiated salaries by ASUU with government will not be binding on them when they have always been represented in such negotiations?
“Why have they not insisted that policies and directives of central regulatory bodies like JAMB, NUC and NYSC are not binding on them? Why is COPSON behaving like chichidudu of Ayi Kwei Armah’s tale? For clarity, chichidudu is a bird that hates excreta with passion, but feeds on the maggots that grow out of fecal wastes.
“As pro-chancellors of state universities, they are always eager to run to Abuja to collect money from TETFUND, which was brought into existence by ASUU. But they hate the union with passion. One only wonders whether some people ‘s consciences go on holiday when they sit down to make certain pronouncements! If we may ask further, are the perks of office that most of these pro-chancellors enjoying not centrally determined?
“How many of them have gone out of their ways to offer the staff of their universities higher emoluments than the slave wages that academics in Nigeria are presently receiving? Myriad of questions begging for answers from our almighty COPSON.What is expected of COPSON at this critical junction is to borrow a leaf from their colleagues at the federal universities by calling on the government to do the needful to address issues in ASUU demands, rather than stoking the embers of a simmering blaze that they have done here.”