By Gabriel Dike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has disowned the faction led by the deputy vice-chancellor (academic), Prof. Osita Chiaghanam, at Chukwuemeka Odumego Ojukwu University (COOU), Anambra State.
The decision was taken at a recent National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at University of Lagos (UNILAG) and was conveyed in a letter dated February 12, 2022, to COOU’s vice-chancellor, Prof. Greg Nwakoby.
The union, in the two-page letter signed by the president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, confirmed that the recognized branch chairman of ASUU-COOU was Prof. Okey Aniebo.
During the ASUU nationwide strike in 2021, the Chiaghanam faction emerged and kicked against the industrial action. The schism made the VC, Nwakoby, to take over the union’s secretariat.
The Education Report learnt that the VC alegedly stopped the deduction of check-off dues, in an attempt to cripple the elected executive, led by Aniebo.
The letter read in part: “The attention of the National Executive Council of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has been drawn to a group in your university purportedly known and addressed as ‘Progressive ASUU-COOU.’
“NEC notes that ASUU has been engulfed in one crisis or the other, under various administrations of the university. This, in spite numerous concerted efforts by NEC to ensure that the crisis in ASUU-COOU is ameliorated and completely resolved. The emergence and existence of ‘Progressive ASUU-COOU’ is contributing to the crisis in ASUU-COOU.’’
The union also noted the violent takeover of ASUU-COOU secretariat and assault on members of ASUU-COOU by the ‘Progressive ASUU COOU.’
The letter further stated: “Please take notice that in the event of any harm, injury or death of any member of ASUU-COOU or other branches of the union arising from any subsequent invasion and assault by the “Progressive ASUU COOU” the vice chancellor of COOU, Prof. Greg Nwakoby would be held accountable.”
Osodeke informed the VC that COOU branch executive committee recognized by ASUU is the one led by Prof. Okey Aniebo.
ASUU said: “You are to work closely with the Okey Aniebo executive committee to engender peace and ensure that Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu benefits the struggle of the union.”
Meanwhile, the two factions have taken different positions on the on-going ASUU four weeks strike. While the recognized executive led by Prof.
Aniebo insist his members are on strike, the one sympathetic to the management led by Prof. Chiaghanam said COOU lecturers are not part of the industrial action.