From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Following the disruption of examinations by members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) of Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, students have continued to write the exams despite the protest embarked upon by lecturers of the institution over unpaid claims.
The lecturers had on Tuesday protested the non payment of their part-time claims hence, disrupting the second semester examination that started on Monday in the institution.
Currently, the ongoing exams are being conducted by non-academic staff under the supervision of the rector and other senior management staff of the polytechnic.
Chairman of ASUP Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti branch, Dr Olabisi Olasehinde, disclosed the situation to Saturday Sun on Friday in Ado-Ekiti. He confirmed the conduct of exams by non-academic staff under the supervision of the rector.
Olasehinde said the students continued with their exams on Thursday, adding “unfortunately, the Rector, Dr. Hephzibah Oladebeye in his wisdom decided to go ahead with the exams. He forced the HODs to release questions, went to the classes and distributed the scripts, supervised the exams and brought in non academic staff such as clerks, lab attendants, messengers to conduct that exam and on the basis, ASUP is saying that such exam cannot be said to be credible.”
Reacting to allegation that the rector, Dr Oladebeye invested money meant to offset the part-time claims in Bitcoin, Olasehinde said ” We don’t have any information as regards that and the allegation is an irresponsible allegation.
“A sane mind will not come up to allege learned scholars with that type of allegation. Salaries of staff are being paid through IPPIS since February, 2020, therefore, there is no way a rector will have access to salaries for such investment. Accusing ASUP or myself as the source of that allegation, I think is irresponsible.
“We don’t know anything about it, we don’t have any information about it. Our demands are payment of CEC claim, payment of demigration arrears, payment of cooperative deductions and withdrawal of the query he issued because these are demands that are just, that are right and legal. Therefore, if he wants to blackmail us going through that type of allegation I think it’s quite unfortunate.”
Reacting to payment of the part-time claims made two days before the protest, the ASUP chairman said :” That is what we called deception on the part of the management.
“The bursar told me there was no fund on Thursday. I called an emergency congress on Friday to demand the payment of CEC claim and between Friday and Monday, especially on Sunday, some people started receiving alerts and we thought the problem was solved.
“After some minutes, members started calling in that they haven’t received alerts. I told them I had received mine, that they should exercise patience, it may be due to network problem and that was the discussion we had on Sunday. But calls kept coming in even throughout the night that they have not received alerts and I directed my treasurer and we started compiling the names.
“Between 8.00am and 9.00am on Monday, we had collated over 150 names that had not received alerts. Before Tuesday, we had recorded over 248 names that had not been paid.
“We found out that management did selective payments, they did the selective payments because they know they don’t have enough fund. They paid the HODs, the Exam Officers, Coordinators and the Executives of ASUP (those who participated in the program).
“That was why we called another emergency congress for Tuesday, since they failed to invite us for discussion, we felt they decided to undermine our strength. Therefore, the option we had so as not to create problem for the students was to protest and we moved our protest to the gate.
“The management caused it, had it been they don’t even have money, they should have called and explain to us, then we will put in a kind of understanding instead of doing selective payments. But unfortunately, they relied on that deceit thinking it would work for them and that nothing will happen.
“They deceived us to write exams on Monday and we said we could no longer continue with that type of deceit from the management, that was how we put a stop to that exam on Tuesday.
“The selective payments had started from Saturday, selective few got their alerts on Sunday, nobody got alert on Monday, selective few got alerts on Tuesday, nobody got alert on Wednesday, on Thursday too, nobody got alert. We learnt on Friday that those with First Bank accounts have started receiving alerts, though, not all of them have received.
Even other banks that they don’t have problem with like FCMB, Zenith, GTBank, some of our members have still not received alerts from those banks. That was why we said that there is a kind of deception from the management, which was not acceptable to us. They kept claiming that they had paid everybody. How come some people are still receiving alerts if they truly paid everybody?”
Olasehinde debunked the allegation that he had taken to various unlawful activities to dent the image of the rector since he lost out in the rectorship contest with him
” The allegation is irresponsible. In the first instance, I am qualified to contest for the position of rector and that was why I contested. I was shortlisted and interviewed not even in our institution alone. I applied for the position again at The Federal Polytechnic, Ede, I was invited and interviewed. I also applied at YABATECH and was invited. Saying that I contested with him that is why I am trying to pull him down, I think that allegation is a cheap blackmail.
” Nine of us contested in that institution with him and as I am speaking he has no good relationship with the remaining eight of us and I am the last man standing. I am the last man standing because I am the ASUP chairman. Me asking for the right of our members is a constitutional responsibility that a chairman of ASUP must ensure he delivers, the mindset that I contested with him is not what a good leader should have.
” I have been the chairman of ASUP before he became the rector and for the past three years there was no single protest, no single strike, we have put in understanding to get our demands from him, if he is now alleging that I am trying to pull him down and he cannot come up with a particular issue or protest or strike we had during those three years, then he is not living a righteous life.”
Olasehinde, who countered the claim that the national body of the union was not aware of the ongoing crisis said : “There is nothing we do that we don’t carry along our zonal and national body. The union has its organs and the branch has always carried along the zonal and parent body in all it does. We have communicated this issue to the zonal and national body.”