Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A splinter group from striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), known as Congress of Universities Academics (CONUA), yesterday urged the Vice-Chancellors of various public universities in the country to recall students back to campus for academic activities, saying its members across the country are not on strike.
Already, CONUA, Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), has threatened to drag the Akure Zonal ASUU, being coordinated by Prof. Olu Olufayo, to court over allegations credited to him that CONUA members in FUOYE have a secret pact with the management of the institution.
Addressing journalists in FUOYE yesterday, Dr. Henry Oripeloye, who led CONUA members from various universities, said that apart from members of the body, there are lecturers who don’t belong to any union who are willing to teach.
Oripeloye said: “We reject in strong terms, claims that we are members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); we are independent union on university campuses.
“We commend the National Universities Commission (NUC) for directing the opening of Universities nationwide.
“We want our universities to be reopened so that they will not be left behind in the scheme of things.”
Oripeloye who is of the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), lle-lfe, Osun State said CONUA believes in constructive and objective engagement with the government rather than strike.
He added that they had enrolled in the IPPIS and their concerns were being addressed by the federal government.
He said one of CONUA’s main dreams is that strike action as a weapon to force the government’s attention should become history, saying: “We don’t know anything about UTAS, we believe in fruitful interaction and possibly with government and also lobbying to achieve our requests from the government.”
Oripeloye assured the government that should VCs recall their students now, academic activities will resume without any rancour in public varsities as many lecturers are ready to resume and have complied with the government’s directive on IPPIS.
The OAU don said that CONUA has no conflict with ASUU, adding that the two unions only differ in terms of philosophy and ideology, which is reflecting in their approach to getting the government to accede to their requests.
In another development, CONUA FUOYE branch has given the Akure Zonal ASUU 14 days’ ultimatum to either retract or prove the allegation that it has secret pact within the management of the institution.
Briefing journalists at the weekend at Oye Ekiti the Convener of CONUA, Mr. Ayodeji Ige, said that the union’s counsel had been instructed to write the Zonal ASUU leadership to substantiate its claims or be ready to face legal action.