ASUU Justified in Embarking on Strike, Says Babalola

Afe Babalola

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

A university administrator and frontline lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has said the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is justified over its ongoing nationwide strike and agitations on the proper funding of the universities among other demands made by the union.

Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to source for money to ensure proper funding of university education and to meet some of the demands raised by ASUU.

The lawyer stated that his university, ABUAD, has attained an enviable height within nine years it began operations, saying any staff, either academic or administrative, who constitutes a clog that can bring down the standard would be sanctioned.

He spoke in ABUAD on Friday during a ceremony marking the ninth
anniversary of the establishment of the university, where the management members led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Michael Ajisafe, were present.

Babalola commended the staff for their commitments that had
contributed to ABUAD becoming a leading university in Nigeria, warning
that the management shall wield the big stick against any staff found not supporting the vision of the institution, which was to bring a paradigm shift to university education.

He said it sounded disgusting that the federal government could earmark seven per cent budgetary allocation to fund education, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommended 26 per cent.

“I have been Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of
Lagos (UNILAG) and I knew that the universities lack facilities and
equipment to be of high standard.

“In our universities, students are not resident in schools, some stayed outside the lecture theatres to receive lectures, some even used forest as toilets, lecturers are not paid as and when due, all these are intolerable.

“So, ASUU’s case is strong this time and I support them in spite of the fact that I have been criticising them in the recent past, but I stand with them this time.

“The federal government must look for funds to make our universities be of high standard. UNESCO recommended 26 per cent, but the federal government still allots as low as seven
per cent to education. The federal government must increase allocations to universities and monitor how the monies are appropriated, because accountability has always been our problem.

“ASUU alleged that over 70 per cent of the projects in our universities are uncompleted for lack of funds and corruption, this is wrong.

“In ABUAD, we complete our projects in time. We built our Planetorium
within six months, some federal universities started theirs 10 years
ago and they have not completed it,” he said.

Babalola said ABUAD has become one of the best universities in Nigeria within nine months because the management works extra hard to
monitor the lecturers and students to be able to embrace the vision.

“In the law school examinations conducted in 2018, 12 ABUAD students got first class with one emerging overall best. They presented 36 prizes and our students carted away 24 of them. This showed that
keeping the students here under monitoring was working.

“We shall continue to celebrate those staff who are working to keep the standard we set and we have achieved for ourselves. But whoever wants to bring it down among the students and teachers shall be sanctioned. Those who don’t want to share our vision must go away.

“From next week Monday, we will begin teachers’ annual assessment to
be able to know those who are working for our glory here and they
shall get their rewards,” he promised.