Don’t frustrate our plans and actions, ASUU warns LASU VC
The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has described the crisis in the Lagos State University (LASU)-ASUU as orchestrated plans to castrate, decimate, castigate and destroy a vibrant leadership of the union at the university.
This was as he accused the Vice- Chancellor, Prof. ‘Lanre Fagbohun of plans to replace ASUU leadership in the state university with a group that is loyal, submissive and malleable to him.
Ogunyemi, who also blamed the Vice-Chancellor for the protracted crisis in the institution, however, noted: “What is happening at LASU is because there are some staff that are working hand in glove with the Vice-Chancellor to undermine the union and manipulate the system to suit their purpose.”
The ASUU President, who recalled that Prof. Fagbohun was not receptive when he visited LASU over the matter, however accused him of frustrating and dribbling him all through in the several attempts made by ASUU national body to resolve the crisis.
“We sent ASUU teams to LASU several times, but the Vice-Chancellor refused to see or have audience with them, but cleverly avoided the ASUU team each time they visited the institution. We have sent out many teams to the university in the last few years. Let me say without being immodest that in the last two years, the union couldn’t have sent less than three of four teams to LASU, but because there are vested interests, the university leadership made it absolutely impossible for ASUU to solve the branch problem,” he said.
But, in a swift reaction, the Vice- Chancellor, who spoke through the Head, Centre for Information Press and Public Relations for the university, Mr. Ademola Adekoya, however, condemned the ASUU President’s insinuations, alleging that the he neglected, frustrated or snubbed him and ASUU teams each time they came to LASU.
Adekoya, who described such allegations as frivolous, unfounded and incorrect, saying ASUU national should check and purge itself of pettiness, and resolve the issues amicably without involving the Vice-Chancellor in the crisis or blaming their failure on him.
Therefore, he said calling the Vice-Chancellor an enemy of ASUU was a cheap blackmail to denigrate and demean his personality and the good work he has been doing at the institution.
The PRO said: “To say that the Vice-Chancellor was not receptive or frustrating the National President of ASUU’s move to resolve the issue was not correct. The President came to LASU twice, but not to see or meet the Vice-Chancellor over the crisis or suspension of their members. He came to the university to meet and talk to their members and on those two occasions he did not deem it fit to pay a courtesy visit on the Vice-Chancellor or to ask him anything concerning the crisis at any point in time.”
He added: “Despite, the Vice- Chancellor invited one of their members and former ASUU Presi
dent, Dr. Dipo Fashina, whom he explained everything that happened and led to the sacking of the ASUU members. But, when Prof. Ogunyemi came to LASU he did not bother to see the Vice-Chancellor or to ask him about the issue.
“However, during the promotion exercise of professors, in which professors are invited from the departments as assessors on the panel, the Vice-Chancellor instructed the panel to invite the National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi to be part of the panel in order for him to see how transparent LASU is, in whatever the university is doing.
“After the promotion exercise, the Vice-Chancellor personally invited the National President of ASUU to his office, where he explained everything that happened to him concerning the management-ASUU matter.”
Adekoya, therefore, accused the National President of only interested in the members of ASUU that were dismissed by LASU Governing Council, insisting that if truly the National President was actually interested in LASU, he would have seen reason to dialogue with the Vice-Chancellor with a view to resolving the issues.
According to him, the affected ASUU officials were not dismissed by the Vice-Chancellor, but by the Governing Council after following due process.
“So, the Vice-Chancellor cannot change anything since he cannot reinstate the sacked ASUU members, or tell the Council to reabsorb them. It is a Council matter. The Council followed due process and dismissed them based on the disciplinary procedures of the university,” Adekoya stressed.
On the new ASUU-LASU executive, he pointed out that their election was purely ASUU affair, which the Vice-Chancellor neither have hand nor anything to do with.
But, he noted that those officials in previous council of the union had been dismissed from the university and that he could not do anything about it since the action was purely that of the Governing Council, and that he could not deny the new council since their election is a union affair which he neither had hand nor control over.
Meanwhile, Ogunyemi has vowed that the National body of ASUU would not recognise the new ASUU-LASU executive council, claiming that they merely resorted to self-help, which he pointed out, is not in the principle of ASUU.
According to him, there are ground rules (ASUU Constitution) that guides the operations of the union; and as the National President of the union, he is compelled to protect and defend the provisions.
Again, he noted that if any group of members wanted to solve problem or crisis in the union, the solution was not to violate the constitution by resorting to self-help, which the new executive council of LASU has done, but to involve the union at the national level appropriately.
“ASUU Constitution specified that it is the national body that determines how such problems should be handled or resolved. And, what that means is that there cannot be any branch election without the express permission of ASUU national in the first instance. ”
Towards this end, he noted that it was true that ASUU took that decision not to recognise the LASU exco based on the constitution and that if anyone is parading himself as Chairman of ASUU in LASU and that person has not emerged through a constitutional process, the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU deserves the right not to recognise him or her.
“This is because our union is not run on the basis of self-help. They have chosen to do what is convenient for them. However, as far as ASUU National is concerned, not until the court of competent jurisdiction pronounces on the status of our sacked members, who are officers of the union at that branch, the new executive at LASU will not be recognised,” he added.
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