National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, has described the proscription of the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, chapter of the union as an aberration.
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, was reported to have proscribed the ASUU in EBSU.
Umahi, who met with the leadership of the unions, had said, “The decision was taken in order to ensure that academic and non-academic unions’ activities do not negatively affect the resumption of EBSU and the commencement of academic and non-academic activities in the state-owned university.”
But Ogunyemi explained that labour matters were not within the jurisdiction of the state governments to legislate over.
He said, “The development is unfortunate. We are yet to get the full details. However, it is an aberration. It’s a confirmation that some politicians have not outgrown the military hangover more than 20 years into civil governance.
“First, labour matters are not within the jurisdiction of state governments to legislate over because they are under the exclusive legislative list.
Secondly, our Constitution guarantees the freedom of association and lawful assembly for Nigerian academics as free citizens. In the third place, ASUU has only one charter which resides with the national secretariat and the branches derive their existence from the national delegates’ conference, which is the highest organ of the union that grants charters to the branches. How then can a state governor claim to have outlawed a body that he did not establish?”
The ASUU president further said he expected Umahi to rescind his decision as ASUU and the Kogi State Governor were in court over the same issue.
The tragedy of our democracy is that most of those occupying elective positions in Nigeria today have doubtful democratic credentials. These members of the ruling class see the rest of us as their subjects, instead of free citizens and their principals. Nigeria’s democracy will not take roots until we all rise to challenge this undemocratic disposition,” he added