By Victor Ogunje
The Governing Council of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) has reinstated 363 out of the 1,000 workers sacked for various reasons in December 2019 by the institution.
The affected workers were retrenched for allegedly falsifying their ages, promoted to unmerited cadres and exceeded the required retirement age in service, among other criteria set by the university.
Sequel to the action taken by the university, the organised labour, led by the Chairmen of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sola Adigun, and his counterpart in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kolapo Olatunde, had urged the school management to rescind its decision by reviewing some of the steps taken.
Hearkening to the labour agitation, the university had set up a review committee to entertain some of the complaints lodged by the victims.
At its special meeting of January 7, 2020, the council was said to have approved the reinstatement of 363 members of staff who were among those recently disengaged by the university.
The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Eddy Olanipekun, in a statement by EKSU’s Public Relations Officer, Bode Olofinmuagun, in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, said the recall was sequel to the successful appeals lodged by those concerned to the university’s Governing Council.
Olanipekun said that the staff audit recently carried out clearly exposed the fact that many of the disengaged staff were over aged, some with fake certificates, some falsified their ages, some were illegally recruited and many were indeed ghost workers who never showed up for the exercise.
“The reinstatement of some of the staff was a vindication of the fact that the exercise was not to ‘witch-hunt’ any member of staff.
“It was carried out to reposition the university for better service delivery so that EKSU can become a university of reference nationally and in the global intellectual market of the 21st century,” he said.
Olanipekun promised to prioritize issues that will promote welfare of workers and improved their standards of living through prompt payment of salary, allowances and other benefits.
Meanwhile, EKSU has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with two reputable and genuine Investors that have shown interest in providing accommodation for both students and staff on campus.
Signing the MoUs, the epoch-making ceremony was witnessed by the Governor of Ekiti State and Visitor to the University, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as well as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Bamitale Omole.
Olanipekun and the Registrar, Mr. Akin Arogundade, signed the MoUs on behalf of the university, while the CEOs of the two companies signed on behalf of their organisations.
The vice-chancellor added that Eliezer Investments Limited is to provide a 6,000-bed space hostel accommodation for the students.
The hostels will be of three types: two-bedded [blocks of 2 floors], four-bedded [blocks of 3 floors] and six-bedded [blocks of 4 floors]. All rooms are en-suite.
He said the proposed hostel, among other things, “will have a playing ground, mini mart, reading rooms, and relaxation centres among others. In addition, it will be provided with uninterrupted electricity, water supply and adequate security”.
Olanipekun said the other investor (Covenantedge Revert Services Limited) is to build staff quarters of different types on campus.
The proposed housing units will include the VC’s lodge; principal officers and other staff quarters; 60 units and 100 units of four-bedroom and three-bedroom detached bungalows, respectively; 15 units and 25 units of three-bedroom and two-bedroom flats, respectively.
The investors promised to deliver the projects latest by October 2020. When completed, the housing projects, no doubt, will accelerate academic and other research activities in the university.
The Governor Fayemi, who was excited with the development, admonished the investors to complete the projects on schedule.