Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA) in Ondo State are preparing for a showdown with the authorities of the institution over its insensitivity and refusal to accede to their collective plight and struggle for better benefits and a better working environment.
Some of the aggrieved members who spoke with SaharaReporters claimed that the management of the institution under the control of the embattled Vice Chancellor Igbekele Ajibefun has remained recalcitrant and insensitive towards their yearning for better working conditions.
A member of the union who requested anonymity revealed that the academic staff members in the institution have been receiving partial salary payments for the past five months while all deductions, including the mandatory “check off,” have been put on hold and not remitted by the authorizes of the school.
“Everything is getting worse and it seems like we cannot fold our arms and start watching again. Enough is enough of this management,” an angry lecturer told SaharaReporters.
Sola Fayose, the Chairperson of the ASUU at AAUA who corroborated these claims in a statement issued on behalf of the members, on Thursday in Akure, added that the executive members of the union had already shown enough maturity and understanding with the management of the institution.
In a statement obtained by SaharaReporters, Mr. Fayose stated that the union could no longer remain patient with the management of the institution.
“Central to this anomaly is the fact that members of staff have been receiving part-salary payment for the past five months, as all deductions, including the mandatory check-off, are not remitted.
“While saluting the resilience of the Vice Chancellor to get the institution to run through the payment of part-salaries, ASUU-AAUA is no longer satisfied that the understanding it has shown in the past in relation to this has merely furthered the impoverishment of its members whose welfare the union is saddled with.
“Needless to emplace here the challenging moments we are in as a nation, it goes without saying that such could not be an excuse given the conscious and avoidable proliferation of the financial commitments of the government, and the larger-than-life style of administering AAUA.
“While every government appointee and visitor to the institution have in the past popularized the axiom of competitive funding of the institution, the reality is that the institution has been under tremendous financial strains, as manifested in the panicking templates by which the institution is run in the very recent times,” he said.
Mr. Fayose stated that all efforts made by members of the union to engage with the university administration, council members, the State government and the leadership of the Ondo State House of Assembly on their plight were fruitless.
“It is given the foregoing that the union is calling on the Visitor to the University and Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, to kindly intervene in these matters before they culminate in the interruption and disruption of the existing industrial peace and harmony in the institution,” he added.
The ASUU-AAUA chair also expressed displeasure over the selfishly continued action of the university authorities under the instruction of the State government to retire academic staff members at the age of 65 years instead of 70 years in compliance with the 2009 agreement reached by the union with the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan that was signed into law.
“Pursuant to the 2009 agreement ASUU entered into with the government, the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law the scaling up of the retirement age of academics on the professorial cadre to 70 years in 2011.
“While this initiative is meant to help universities and the government conserve funds, the Ondo State government and the university authorities have continued to retire academic members in this category at 65, thereby abandoning what would have been the legal, beneficial and productive thing to do.
“While renewing our commitment to the building of a 21st century university, properly called, we will nonetheless no longer fold our hands while all these inhuman treatments are meted out to our members,” Mr. Fayose said.