ASUU Has No Factions, President Insists

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Says teaching in two or more universities not unusual

Faults varsities’ recruitment system

National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has debunked the insinuation in some quarters that the union now has a splinter group.

Ogunyemi has also disclosed that it is not a crime for lecturers to teach in two different universities.

Ogunyemi made the clarification when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.

He has also decried the recruitment system in the universities, regretting that many people not qualified to teach had found their way into the system.

“I do not believe that there is a faction in ASUU. What you see that is playing out is the expression of misgivings by some of our members who are dissatisfied with the sanctions meted out to them for violating the provisions of our constitution.

“And you will find the largest concentration at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; and in that university, you will also find that we still control up to 60 per cent or more of the membership.

“And, if you leave Ile-Ife and go to other campuses where they are pronouncing that they want to join one group or the other, you cannot count more than five in those universities.

“That tells you that the group we are talking about just exists in the air, that group is not on ground,’’ he said.

According to him, University of Ilorin and the Federal University, Lokoja, are now fully back in ASUU and so cannot be listed as those opposing the union. “I visited the place and I met with a few people that said they were dissatisfied with the way the union was being run in the branch.“After engaging them, they said that they were ready to join the union and so they are going back to ASUU.’’

Ogunyemi noted that the association had always engaged dissatisfied members to address their grievances and work towards moving the union forward. He said that the union was currently resolving the crisis at Obafemi Awolowo University, adding that the crisis between members of the union in the institution would soon be resolved.

Meanwhile, Ogunyemi has disclosed that it is not a crime for lecturers to teach in two different universities.

He said that teaching in two universities would afford the opportunity for lecturers to borrow and learn ideas from one another. “The university systems allows for what we call Sabbatical. It is part of university tradition and practices all over the
world.

“The purpose that it serves is that you create window for peer review. In other words, what you are doing in university A, you go to university B and see whether that is what obtains exactly, or you need to borrow something, or you share some ideas. “Sabbatical is a mechanism for assuring comparability of standards. Anybody that goes out for sabbaticals, when he or she comes back to the university, he adds value to the system.

“You are bringing something back, no matter how little, to the system. Where you have gone too, they get something from you.

“So, we encourage that from time to time in the university system because universities are regarded as universal places of learning and research,” he said.

Ogunyemi also explained that lecturers, who embarked on sabbaticals, are being paid by both their original employers and the benefiting institution.

The ASUU president has also decried the recruitment system in the universities, regretting that many people not qualified to teach had found their way into the system “Some lecturers have no business in the classrooms, but they found their way in due to political interference.

“You find that some lecturers probably have no business being in the universities but you know politics has done so much damage to us that sometimes merit is sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity and political connections.

“We hope that we shall restore the credibility of the system as we have been trying to argue over the years. A key step to achieving that is for government to create the enabling environment for us to go back to the renegotiation table.

“We need to talk more so that we can come up with a new agreement package that will help us in addressing our universities shortcomings in no time,’’ he said.