The end may not be in sight on the ongoing face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the enrolment of university lecturers in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi told The Education Report at ASUU University of Lagos branch symposium that there is no going back on the union rejection of IPPIS.
Guest speaker at the symposium, Mr. Femi Falana urged the Federal Government to stop licensing new universities for the next ten years while the existing ones should be properly funded and equip with modern teaching facilities.
Prof Ogunyemi disclosed that the union is working on another alternative platform to the IPPIS and described the government platform as the brain child of the World Bank, IMF and Western countries who are opposed to government funding of public universities.
According to him, the new alternative platform would not be driven by the government but by the university based on their peculiar pay roll system.
The ASUU boss confirmed that the union is working with the National Assembly to resolve the IPPIS issue but did not state if it includes the establishment of the new alternative platform.
Giving reasons why ASUU is opposed to the IPPIS, Prof Ogunyemi said the platform negates the principle of university autonomy, lecturers will be made to operate like core civil service, institutions will require approved of the Accountant General to employ new staff, councils will be castrated with the government platform and VCs will be taking directive from Junior workers in the AG office.
“If we succumb to this pressure and blackmail, we will lose the gains of university autonomy. IPPIS is retrogressive, unacceptable and we will continue to reject it” he explained.
He debunked the insinuations that ASUU was supporting corruption in the university system by rejecting IPPIS, adding that the union has been at the forefront of demanding visitation panels to universities and that members wrote petitions against VCs.
In his lecturer, Falana said with the establishment of more universities, TETfund will not have enough funds to carry out the intervention in tertiary institutions and urged the federal and state governments to halt the establishment new universities.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, observed that if not for the struggle by ASUU, there will be no university education in the country and described many of the private universities as glorified secondary schools.
ASUU UNILAG branch chairman, Dr. Dele Ashiru, said over the years, many members served the union and retired without recognition, thus the need to celebrate those living and even death.
Ashiru said the union decided to honour 11 members, including the immediate past VC, Prof Rahman Bello, pioneer VC of the University of Ado-Ekiti, Prof. Akin Oyebode and former chairmen of the union for their contributions.
The chairman also disclosed that the union awarded scholarship to seven UNILAG undergraduates’ students in various departments.
In his remarks, UNILAG VC, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe thanked the union for celebrating its retired and late members who have contributed to the development of the university and the union.