From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Delta State Government on Monday faulted the position of the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the desirability of more universities in the country.

National president of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke had faulted the state government for establishing three new universities, saying that there was a proliferation of decaying universities in the country.

Osodeke also blamed lecturers in Delta State universities for not showing solidarity with their colleagues by joining the on going ASUU strike.

But the state Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare said ASUU was being selfish by trying to discourage the establishment of more universities.

Muoboghare who reacted during a press briefing in Asaba, also faulted the ASUU president for saying lecturers in the state owned universities we’re not showing solidarity with their colleagues in other universities.

“There is a faulty definition of solidarity, solidarity does not cross boundaries, you solidarise within your boundary. You are in DBS and you are not paid, then I am getting paid at DELSU where I work, you will now say DELSU should stop work. What kind of solidarity is that, that is not solidarity, that is irresponsibility.

“On establishment of more universities, you will recall that when the three were established, one union leader in Lagos took a swipe at us, saying how can you establish more universities when Nigerian universities are rotten. A month or two later, the Lagos State Government established two more universities, and the unionist has not spoken since.

“While you are talking about proliferation of universities, the National Assembly on a weekly basis is approving. Does it not tell you the noise is not making any impact.

“Those of us in the union shouting against establishment of universities, we are part of the lobby group for such in our states, senatorial districts. We are the consultants.

“There was a resource verification for the three universities, the NUC staff do not come to verify, the NUC uses professors from universities nationwide, they came from the federal universities to verify. We even lobby to be part of the verification team,” he said.

Muoboghare admitted that lecturers in the state universities were not on IPPIS, explaining that the state government release salary subventions to allow management of the universities employ and pay their staff.

He urged ASUU to learn from the state how to practice autonomy, rather than criticise it for not showing solidarity during strike.

“The great University of Ibadan (U.I) cannot employ a graduate assistant without going to Abuja to obtain permission.

“And now in Delta, the governor is saying no, let the universities and polytechnic be a little independent to grow at their rate.

“That is an issue ASUU has always fought for, autonomy. But ASUU is afraid to push it the way it should be pushed.

“Again Delta State is teaching ASUU the way it should be done. Your salary is taken to Abuja from you, you couldn’t fight it.

“Now instead of saying give us our salaries back, you are saying you have a variant of IPPIS that we can now employ, they have collapsed,” Muoboghare said.

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Source: news