From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has carpeted the governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, for allegedly harassing and intimidating lecturers at the state university for demanding fair working conditions.
It accused Umahi of making attempts through the court to outlaw the university’s chapter of ASUU and also rebuffing every effort made by its leaders to have a meaningful dialogue with him.
ASUU also lashed out at his Kaduna, Kogi, Edo, Abia and Osun States counterparts, Nasir el-Rufai, Yahaya Bello, Godwin Obaseki, Okezie Ikpeazu and Gboyega Oyetola respectively for allegedly harassing lecturers in their state universities for daring to demand for good academic environment that supports teaching and learning.
National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said that these governors have shown, by their actions, that they were not interested in providing quality education for their people because they have alternative means of providing same for their children and relatives.
Ogunyemi spoke at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka during the ongoing 21st ASUU National Delegates Conference themed: State Terrorism and Nigeria’s Development.
“The court case over Governor Yahaya Bello’s purported ban of ASUU and dismissal of over 100 members of the union at the Kogi State University, Anyingba, has continued to linger for close to three years.
“We have a similar experience at the Lagos State University where some impostors not known to NEC continue to parade themselves as ASUU leaders.
“The Ebonyi State Governor cleverly retracted on his attempt to outlaw the ASUU at a law court. In the circumstance, our Ebonyi State University (EBSU) Chapter is left in limbo; with an avalanche of unresolved welfare issues placed before the governor and visitor to the university. All efforts to have a meaningful dialogue with the EBSU visitor were rebuffed.
“The frenzy with which the nine-member (instead of 24-member) House of Assembly, working in cahoots with the Edo State Governor and visitor to Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma (AAUE), received, processed, passed and got signed the bill purportedly meant to “restore sanity” to the university in one day smacks of imposition of an “emergency rule”.
“Does the self-styled democrat need emergency powers to issue the White Paper on the visitation panel’s report submitted to him since last year? Would the new powers now make him see all that ASUU and the Governing Council were telling him about serial infractions committed by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor?
“Does the visitor need new powers to settle arrears of salaries over which staff unions in the university went on strike? The least every reasonable person would have expected was that justice would be done within the ambit of the law which empowered the visitor to set up a visitation panel in the first place.
“Comrades, authorities at the Osun State University boastfully advertise a vile and unacceptable policy of no-work, no-pay; thereby denying lecturers their salaries.
“The same thing goes on in Kaduna State University where Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s iron fist tactics have robbed the university of every semblance of autonomy.
“As the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) turned the heat on him last week, El-Rufai claimed to have sacked all KASU lecturers who participated in the warning strike at the instance of our union.
“In Abia State University, like in ESUT and EBSU, ASUU leaders are hounded, harassed and humiliated for participating in strike action. Yet, authorities and owners of these state universities and others where they terrorise our comrades do not reject proceeds from ASUU struggles”, Ogunyemi lamented.