- Govt plans to exclude us from scheme, varsity workers allege, protest non-payment of subventions
From WOLE BALOGUN, Ado-Ekiti
FOR over six months now, all has not been well with the Ekiti State University (EKSU) in terms of the financing the school, especially concerning adequate payment of staff salaries and other emoluments. This is basically because the state government has not been paying the subvention due to the school since January.
Both the university’s management and government appealed to the staff to be patient. They seemed to be pretending that the institution is faring well, paying salaries regularly. Governor Ayodele Fayose even praised the school management under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Samuel Bandele, for ensuring that welfare and emoluments were being adequately taken care of. This is in spite of his administration’s failure to pay subventions since December 2015, due to dwindling allocations from the Federal Government.
At the institution’s 21st convocation recently, the governor appreciated the school management for having performed admirably well in paying staff salaries and emoluments without receiving due subventions from his government for six months. He attributed the development to the university’s investment initiatives:
“I want to appreciate the governing council of the university for your efforts and outstanding performance at a time like this when financing government has become a huge challenge in the face of the dwindling federal allocations. Your performance for the six months has been commendable.”
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State who was awarded with honourary Doctorate degree (PhD) in Public Administration also praised the school management, thinking that the school was doing just fine without the six months outstanding subventions from government. He even asked a team from his state university to visit EKSU and learn how to sustain the payment of salary without government subvention:
“The Ekiti State University has become a model for other institutions. Just
two days ago I sent a team from our state university to come here and interact with
your management with a view to find out
how you are managing to pay salaries without receiving the subventions from
But on Monday, July 11, it seemed the patience of the staff had been stretched
beyond its limit. They parlaysed academic and administrative activities in
protest against what they alleged as nonpayment of six-month subventions, salary
arrears as well as non-remittance of cooperative deductions from their salaries
into the accounts of three cooperative societies of the workers.
Alleging that they discovered that the governor was planning to exclude them
from the bailout it received from the Federal Government, the protesting staff
prevented vehicular and human movements
in and out of the institution as they ensured that its giant gate was under lock
Many vehicles were parked outside as many of the staff and students loitered
about. The unions that participated in the protest included National Association
of Area Technologists (NAT), Non-Accademic Staff Union of Universities
(NASAU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSUU).
According to them, contrary to government’s position that the institution’s
investment in some ventures to shore up its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),
made it capable of taking care of paying salary, emoluments and remunerations,
all is not well. They alleged that the management
was only able to pay a paltry 20 percent of the salary arrears since January.
They maintained that the management failed to live up to its responsibilities due
to the failure of the state government to pay subventions.
Speaking about their plight, chairman of SSANU, Mr. Kolapo Olatunde, said:
“The state government released the university’s subvention last in December
last year, which means since January, we have not got subventions. The government
erroneously believed that the management took care of the full salary
payment without the subvention.
“But the reality is that we have only been receiving 20 percent of our salaries
since January with deductions, and even the deductions were not remitted into the
accounts of the cooperative societies on campus.
“We also heard that the state government is not putting EKSU in the agenda of bailout from the Federal Government given erroneous
impression that all is well with us, whereas we have been suffering in silence.
Chairman of NAT, Mr. Awogbemi Omobola, attributed the non-payment of
the full salary to the fact that the institution has exhausted all its available resources to pay net salaries of workers: “The institution has even been struggling to augment
the payment of 20 percent of salary with N250 million monthly from the IGR. We
have remained patient with the management because it has been trying, but with
this protest, we want to tell Ekiti and the world that they should not allow the institution to collapse as this is the only asset the state has.”
Mr. Tope Akanmu, the institution’s NASU chairman who itemized their demands,
urged the government to resume the payment of monthly subvention to the
institution and also include it in the bailout.
He lamented that despite series of letters written to the state government prior to the last convocation in June, nothing has been done to alleviate the suffering of the staff.
Commissioner for Information, Youths and Sports, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, denied
the allegation that the government was planning to exclude the institution from
benefiting from the bailout funds. He added that such rumour was being peddled
by some media social platforms as well as some hostile newspapers:
“It is not true that Ekiti State government is excluding the staff of EKSU from the
bailout scheme. The issue of bailout and how it would be disbursed to pay workers’
outstanding salaries is yet to be discussed.
Governor Fayose cannot do anything that would be to the detriment of the staff of the institution because he has their welfare at heart.
The rumour of the alleged exclusion is being mischievously peddled by the opposition through some social media platforms and some newspapers who are hostile to the government and are bent on destroying the image of the government. On the contrary, the governor is working towards ensuring that all civil servants get what is due them in the shortest possible time.”