Tension in Ekiti Federal Varsity as ASUU Members Disrupt Zonal Congress

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Tension at the Federal University in Oye Ekiti, as aggrieved members Wednesday violently disrupted a congress of the union that was convened by the Akure zonal chairman, Prof. Olu Olufayo over call for the resignation of the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) Chairman in the institution, Dr. Akinyemi Omonijo.

Trouble started a few months ago when a faction of the chapter loyal to the zonal chairman of the union in Akure, Ondo zonal district, Olufayo, including the embattled chairman of the chapter, Omonijo held a press briefing in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, and raised some allegations of misconduct against the vice chancellor, Prof. Kayode Soremekun.

The angry members who outnumbered those loyal to the embattled FUOYE’s ASUU faction led by Omonijo seized ASUU’s vehicle that conveyed the zonal boss to the premises of the university for more than three hours threatening to set it ablaze.

It however, took the intervention of the school’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) who appealed to the aggrieved faction to release the vehicle before normalcy was restored.

The angry lecturers insisted that the embattled chairman of the chapter, Omonijo must first step aside before any Congress would hold on the campus.

It was gathered that the congress of the academic union was about to hold at about 11:Pm at the venue on Wednesday under the supervision of Olufayo when angry members stormed the venue to stop the meeting, rang bell, made so much noise and chased away those who wanted it to hold.

A leader of the union and Dean of Faculty of Arts of the university, Dr. Opoola Bolanle Tajudeen, who spoke about the cause of the disruption said: “There was to be a congress but there was no congress because our members felt strongly that Olufayo, who has been part of our problem in this chapter should not come to foist any congress on us and they insisted that he cannot hold any congress when the chairman of our chapter that he is imposing on us has committed impeachment offences.

“There has been a resolution on ground that the chairman has committed impeachable offences and should go.

“Our people really felt bad and demonstrated their grievances. They spoke their mind. However there was no casualty. The demands of our members who insist they are still part of ASUU is that current chairman of our branch Omonijo should step down because he has committed impeachable offences.

Our people cannot allow a system where some people from outside would come and lord over us. We have our own internal problem and we should be allowed to solve it internally. Our people want ASUU to move on but we don’t want Omonijo again, “he said.

The allegations, one of which was that the VC wasn’t paying the pensions of academic staff as at when due, was dismissed by the VC and a faction of FUOYE ASUU opposed to Omonijo, which included Prof. Omolayo, Opoola Bolanle and many others, who insisted that remitting of staff pension was never a duty of the university management but that of the federal government through the Single Treasury Account (TSA) programme.

The anti-Omonijo’s faction claimed that the embattled chairman has committed impeachable offences by working against the unity, progress and success of the FUOYE chapter of the union and not carrying them along in decision making, being high handed among others.

They therefore began an impeachment process against Omonijo in their last congress held in October last year.

Reacting to the allegations, Omonijo told journalists that he had not committed any offence for which he could be removed by the House.