ASUU MUST STOP DISTORTING FACTS AND PEDDLING FALSEHOOD TO WHIP UP SENTIMENTS AGAINST THE LEADERSHIP OF LASU
As the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Zonal and Local Branch has become relentless in their crusade to truncate the subsisting peace in the Lagos State University and discredit the leadership of the Institution by all means possible, including running to the media to peddle falsehood and distort facts, a burden is laid upon us, in the interest of the General Public, to present the issue as they are, to prevent unsuspecting Stakeholders and Members of the public from being misguided.
WHO IS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE PEACE IN LASU?
It appears that the relative peace that has permeated the University in the last two years since the Vice Chancellor, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, and his team came on board does not bode well for some groups individuals.
The Fact: The all-inclusive governance style of the current University Administration has seen the University enjoying unprecedented development and goodwill. The news of transformation that weekly emanates from Nigeria’s Best State University are a result of the synergy between all Stakeholders- the Governing Council, Management, Staff, Student and Staff and Student Unions of the University, thus the new Mantra: We are LASU, we are proud!
What then could be the motive of some erstwhile local ASUU Leaders, in connivance with some of their zonal leaders, to truncate the peace that is bringing progress? With no fitting answer, one is compelled to align with the argument that it is from such unwarranted struggles, as the one they are now spoiling for, that they make so much money. But their failure this time is assured. LASU is peaceful and will remain so for a long time to come.
CRISIS. WHAT CRISIS?
The claim of an impending crisis by the group is a familiar and an overused antic to curry attention and blackmail the University into submission. The peace that LASU is enjoying is alien to them. Indeed their belligerent nature makes them incapable of surviving for long in an atmosphere of peace. Thus they have become too bored and are now looking to entertain themselves by plunging the system into another round of crisis. ASUU-LASU Exco is lacking the support even of many of their own members. The body of Professors and Associates Professors and other Senior Academics in the University have on different occasions publicly denounced them.
The call for crisis by the few discredited ones among them is mischievous and self-serving and should be completely disregarded and ignored.
THE TRUMPED UP ALLEGATION OF HIGH HANDEDNESS AGAINST LASU VC
In a Press Conference that was widely reported, Prof Olusiji Sobande, the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, fronting for the sacked leaders of ASUU-LASU, accused the Vice Chancellor, Prof Lanre Fagbohun of high-handedness in the sack of some of their members, alongside other empty allegations.
Sowande and his band of comedians failed woefully to conceal their irritation at the internal self-purging exercise in the Lagos State University that has consumed a few of their members at the local level. Ironically, their hues and cries for public sympathy is not for any perceived injustice to the Sixteen Academic Staff sacked last September, but for the re-instatement of only two- their erstwhile Local Chairman and Secretary.
The Fact: What they failed to tell the Public was that the sack of the two, alongside others, was in line with the Conditions of Service of the University. They refused to state that the allegations against the sacked workers were, ab initio, brought forward by the victims of their indiscretion in some cases, and or staff members from their own Local Union (ASUU-LASU), in others. Infact, the information that led to the dismissal of a number of the Academic Staff who were dismissed was given by officials of ASUU-LASU Exco before further checks revealed that a member of the Exco was himself culpable.
All cases went through impartial Statutory Committees which established their culpability on the various acts of misconducts before the University Governing Council, the highest decision making body of the University, ratified the dismissals, as decided. In the case of Dr Isaac Oyewunmi, the erstwhile Chairman of ASUU-LASU, a member of the Union (ASUU-LASU) provided solid evidence, corroborated by different witnesses leading to his indictment and subsequent dismissal.
Desperate to back their claim, the group accused Officials of the Lagos State Government and the Governing Council of conniving with the Vice Chancellor to perpetuate his high-handedness.
By this, they imply that the Vice Chancellor is so powerful as to pocket highly respected functionaries of the State Government and the Governing Council, or perhaps, that he has something on the respected individuals to blackmail them into supporting him.
What can be more laughable than this?
ON THEIR TREASURER-DR ABODERIN SONIBARE, BEING WITCH-HUNTED
The group is also crying witch-hunt, claiming that ASUU-LASU Treasurer, Dr Oluwakemi Aboderin-Sonibare, was queried for demanding that her promotion be correctly dated.
The Fact: This must surely sound incredulous, even to their own ears. What they fail to tell the world is that Dr Sonibare-Aboderin was duly promoted based on the required numbers of years that she had spent on the previous level. Dr. Sonibare-Aboderin, feeling that her promotion was inappropriately dated, wrote to the Vice Chancellor to seek a redress. In her letter to the Vice Chancellor, she attached an Assessor’s Report and a Report of the Appointment, Promotions and Disciplinary Committee of Council. These were highly confidential documents that she ordinarily should not be privy to, as done everywhere in the world.
That she was asked to explain how she came about the Assessor’s Report, she attached is what is now termed a “witch-hunt”.
Supporting impunity and illegality of individuals and shielding them from due sanctions, because they are Executives of the Union, casts a shadow of doubt on the integrity of ASUU leadership as a body.
Their call on His Excellency, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, to set up a panel of enquiry because of a few aggrieved individuals betrays crass ignorance of how modern day Universities work. They need to be reminded that there is a statutory panel of enquiry set up by the State Government to assess the University every ten years. The crisis for which they are calling for a premature panel of enquiry exist only in their imagination. LASU is enjoying peace and all well-meaning stakeholders have vowed to let it remain so.
A body that claims to represent intellectuals in our Universities should not be wallowing in the murky waters of favoritism, intellectual bankruptcy and senseless political infighting.
For ASUU to continue in this path of dishonor portends grave danger for the future of our Universities and every concerned stakeholder must rise up to save our Ivory Towers from further onslaught in the hands of these academic buccaneers.
Coordinator, Centre for Information Press and Public Relations
Lagos State University, Ojo
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