ASUU Warns against Ethnic Crisis in Nigerian Varsities

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned that allowing tribal crisis to determine the appointment of top management staff of universities in Nigeria would destroy the country’s citadels of learning.

Speaking at a press conference in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the ASUU leader in the Federal University, Oye Ekiti((FUOYE), Prof Patrick Okolo, alleged that ethnic differences are the root cause of the impasse between a group of lecturers and the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Kayode Soremekun.

Okolo said the Chairman of ASUU, Akure Zone, Prof. Olu Olufayo, and suspended leader of the academic union in FUOYE, Dr. Biodun Omonijo, were allegedly promoting ethnic crisis in the federal university.

He alleged that the duo and others perceived non-indigenous staff of FUOYE as outsiders who shouldn’t have a stake on how a federal institution such as FUOYE sited in their domain is run.

Okolo contended that the war the VC is facing therefore is a conspiracy of the indigenous staff aimed to destabilise FUOYE, saying: “Olufayo and Omonijo are using the union to fight the VC who they see as a non-indigene. Unfortunately, such development is unhealthy for the system because it will make the system to suffer and Ekiti State and Nigerians would be victims of such unwholesome development.

“Personally, I detest such development, and I am discouraged because there can’t be progress in such situation. I may have to resign my appointment after the VC tenure expires.”

Also, another ASUU splinter group, Forum of Concerned Academics (FCA), led by Prof. Sola Omotola, had hinted that FUOYE ASUU has become factionalised, vowing to remain in ASUU to fight what they described as oppression, highhandedness, and inequality among others, using all conventional means, including legal battle if necessary.

Omotola said: “We will resist them by using conventional means. We are also prepared to go into the legal battle against them if the need arise.

“We are a factionalised group. There are now several splinter groups namely FCA and Congress of Nigerian Academics (CNA). CNA has left ASUU to join Obafemi Awolowo University chapter. For us, we will remain in ASUU and fight on to ensure equity and resist oppression and victimisation.

“For Omonijo, if we take impeachment out if it, his tenure ended mid-April this year; he was supposed to have vacated his office. But Akure ASUU wants us to bring him back for a new poll, but we will never allow that to happen.

“This is because we know he has been impeached after a due process. They like to sit tight, which is part of them. They are power drunk and never want to leave office.”

Meanwhile, Omotola in the statement denied all allegations of corruption leveled against the management by ASUU, Akure zone.