From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has slammed the Bayelsa State government over its proposal to establish a public private partnership based African University in the state.
But the state government has maintained that the criticism against the establishment of the University was misplaced and baseless.
The Bayelsa State House of Assembly had few days ago passed the Bill to establish the University into law. The main campus is to be sited at Toru-Orua, Sagbama Local Government area of Bayelsa.
ASUU, Niger Delta University (NDU) chapter at a press conference held on behalf of the union by its Chairman Dr Stanley Ogoun and Secretary Dr Tonbara Kingdom over the weekend noted that the timing for the establishment of the University was wrong “considering the state government’s failure to pay salaries spanning into several months”
It queried why a state government that has been unable to adequately fund the state owned NDU think of the idea of establishing a University under a partnership arrangement through counterpart funding.
ASUU which challenged the state government to unveil the supposed investors questioned the rationale behind the Bayelsa State House of Assembly role in passing a Law to establish a private driven University.
While pointing out several discrepancies in the Bill presented to establish the university which it insisted was a prototype of the Bill that established the NDU, the union urged Bayelsans to be weary of people out to deceive them.
“Bayelsans should be weary of some of these individuals who are surreptitiously behind this course. These people are some of the individuals who had been involved in defrauding the state through phony educational institutional arrangements with so called foreign university linkages. We can see clearly the same group of individuals fanning the same process again. Posterity will Judge such individuals who intentionally mortgage the future of our state through phony linkages with so-called foreign universities. They have been at these phony arrangements right from the days of the first civilian governor of the state with devastating consequences for the state resources”
On the industrial stand-off between it and the state government, the union which commended the enthusiasm shown by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to know the outcome of congress decision, however, said the congress had decided that the payment of salaries up to April is what can make them return to classes.
The Union which condemned inciting statements against it urged the state government to consider the new position of ASUU to resolve the problem and end the misery of several Bayelsa students staying at home.
Meanwhile the state government through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon Jonathan Obuebite has insisted that establishment of the university is with good intentions for the benefit of Bayelsans.
Obuebite in a radio programme monitored over the weekend maintained that Dickson has no stake in the University and enjoined Bayelsans to support the vision of the state government in the education sector.