IPPIS: We’re Not Stooges for VCs, ASUU Insists

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National President of ASUU, Prof Abiodun Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) wednesday said that it was not a stooge for the vice chancellors of the universities in its opposition to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The union insisted that it was independent in its position regarding the implementation of the scheme in the universities.

It debunked the allegation by the federal government that it was fronting for the vice chancellors.

The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said in a statement that the federal government’s allegation against the union was “a simplistic attempt to call ASUU’s dog a bad name to hang it.

“The accusation is laughable, fraudulent, provocative, irritating and illogical,” he added.

Ogunyemi was reacting to a report where the federal government accused the union of being instigated by the vice chancellors to oppose the IPPIS.

“It is just unimaginable that anyone in his or her right senses would accuse ASUU of being the stooge of some avaricious vice-chancellors! “Surreptitious moves had previously been made by malignant government officials to smear the union with fetid cover-up allegations on account of alleged monumental corruption in the universities and teaching hospitals. “The latest move appears the most audacious and baseless attempt by civil servants to present ASUU as a pawn in the corruption chessboard of vice-chancellors. To say the least, however, nothing can be farther from the truth!,” it insisted in the statement.

ASUU argued that the philosophy underlying its “opposition to IPPIS is the overriding interest of the Nigerian University System and the Nigerian nation.

“Every argument we canvas against IPPIS revolves around that philosophy. When we say IPPIS violates the University Autonomy Law (2003, 2007), we are saying the government should empower Governing Councils to manage university finances, including personnel information and payroll system, in the interest of its law,” it said. It added:” When we argue that IPPIS will shut the door against our colleagues, particularly those on short visits or contract appointments from abroad, it is because the platform only relates with workers on pensionable appointment as against what obtains in other parts of the world.”

It described the government’s accusation “a red herring fallacy”.

The university lecturers challenged the government to release previous reports of investigations it launched against various alleged corruption allegations in the universities.

“It is just unimaginable that anyone in his or her right senses would accuse ASUU of being the stooge of some avaricious vice-chancellors!

“Put succinctly, the philosophy underlying ASUU’s opposition to IPPIS is the overriding interest of the Nigerian University System and the Nigerian nation. “Every argument we canvas against IPPIS revolves around that philosophy. When we say IPPIS violates the University Autonomy Law (2003, 2007), we are saying the government should empower Governing Councils to manage university finances, including personnel information and payroll system, in the interest of its law. ” When we argue that IPPIS will shut the door against our colleagues, particularly those on short visits or contract appointments from abroad, it is because the platform only relates with workers on pensionable appointment as against what obtains in other parts of the world. “And, when we insist that the payroll of Nigerian universities must be flexible and not tied to the bureaucratic cord of the civil service, it is to make our universities universal centres of learning and research and in line with “best global practices” which dictate the easy flow of staff and students from different parts of our planet.

“Out of conviction of the soundness of these and related arguments, we proposed an alternative platform called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS). “We did not stop there. We have also demonstrated our belief that UTAS is more amenable to the nature of universities by committing funds pooled from the meagre contributions our of members into developing the platform from early this year. “So, it is bewildering that a government which claims to have accepted ASUU’s proposal on UTAS – a proposal that was flatly turned down in 2013/2014 – is at the same time portraying the union as unpatriotic and a willing tool in the hands of “corrupt” vice-chancellors!