The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ekiti State University chapter, has urged critical stakeholders in the State to save the institution from its imminent collapse due to the alleged underfunding by the government.
ASUU, in a press conference addressed by its branch chairman, Dr Kayode Arogundade, entitled “EKSU And Dr Kayode Fayemi: A Time Bomb To Explode,” alleged gross neglect in the areas of funding and welfare of staff.
The Union regaled the precarious situation the institution had found itself under the current management led by Professor Edward Olanipekun and Bamitale Omole, the Vice Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council respectively.
ASUU warned that it could no longer guarantee industrial harmony under the alleged current harsh condition of service, even if the parent body suspends the ongoing strike at the national.
“We, therefore, call on well-meaning sons and daughters of Ekiti, our Kabiyesis, Priests, Pastors, Imams and Alfas as well as the State Law Makers and the students’ community to impress it on our Visitor as well as the Pro-Chancellor to change their nonchalant stance on Ekiti State University before the catastrophic explosion,” ASUU warned.
The Union also called on governor Fayemi to reprioritize his objectives and focus more attention on the institution in the overall interest of the State.
“Gentlemen of the press, the University does owe not less than 15 months of amputated/half salaries to its staff even after retrenching/disengaging over 1,172 workers in December 2019; many of whom are either dead or battling with different kinds of ailments.
“The government already also owes the University five (5) months subventions. Our several appeals for separate funding for the College of Medicine as a separate entity as it is the practice in other climes have fallen on deaf ears of the government.
It also demanded the review of the staff disengagement saga of December 2019 where over 1000 workers were affected saying the action had dome department with no lecturer as at now.
But governor while featuring on a statewide Radio and Television Personality Programme dubbed “Governor Explains” said he had it on good authorities that as many as 300 out of the sacked workers have been reinstated.
The governor also urged the lecturers to look at the hardship the students and their parents are going through in view of the strike that has kept the students at home for over seven months.
“We need to get to a point of convergence with ASUU, but I also think ASUU should begin to look at this from the position of their importance. It is the students of the ordinary Nigerians who attend the local universities. So, even if it is for the sake of ordinary Nigerians who have children in these universities and cannot afford to send their children to private universities or abroad.
“Whatever the areas are, we would like to engage them, not as Federal Government but as concerned parties at the level of government who feel that we can still work out an arrangement in which you don’t completely dictate to your employer how he pays your salaries.
“If agreement has been entered into and if it is not going to be honoured, you owe a duty to urge other party to review it consensually and then come up with something that is mutually acceptable to both sides.
However ASUU argued that “The Vice Chancellor is expected to turn a new leaf henceforth by speaking truth to power; like he used to do in his days as the Chairman of the Union.
“He should be bold enough to confront Council and Government that, unless students are turned to money-making machines (by milking them via monstrous and unnecessary charges), EKSU cannot survive with the N260m currently being received as monthly subventions compared to its monthly wage bill of N452m.
“Let it be on record that the Visitor during his first tenure merged three Universities together for the paucity of funds (as claimed by him). How do we explain the attitude of a Governor who promised an increase in subvention from N260 million to N300 million out of the N452million wage bill even in the State 2020 budget without the implementation to date?
“In a manner revealing a Zero commitment to the development and growth of the University, the Visitor has gone ahead to reduce this promissory note to a disheartening N286 million (projection) monthly in the 2021 appropriation bill presented to the Ekiti State House of Assembly even as the University has spent the money in advance.
“If N260 million was being released when budgeted value was N300m, one can begin to imagine how much should be expected now that the projection has been reduced,” the Union alleged.
The academic union stressed that the alleged untold hardship had forced its members to be living on half salaries for over 15 months now.
Enumerating other demands, ASUU seeks the immediate increment in the university subventions to at least N350 million monthly.and the release of outstanding five months subventions.
The calls for the payments of 3 months outstanding salaries of July, August and September, 2018 by the Administratio and settlement of 15 months amputated/half salaries owed members by the Administration
ASUU also calls for the payments and updating of retirement benefits to retired members by the Administration.