There is currently a split in the ranks of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), branch over an action against the institution’s vice chancellor, Professor Kayode Soremekun, by the zonal leadership of the union.
The Akure Zone of ASUU, through its coordinator, Professor Olu-Olu Olufayo, recently issued a statement in which it accused Professor Soremekun of sundry malpractices, and asked that the vice chancellor be investigated.
In the statement, also signed by the chairperson, ASUU, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Dr Bola Oniya; chairperson, ASUU, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr Adeola Egbedokun; and chairperson, ASUU FUOYE, Dr Akinyemi Omonijo, the lecturers alleged that there were pension fraud and irregular recruitment in FUOYE, among other allegations.
The zonal leadership of ASUU also accused the FUOYE management of promoting academic staff without following due process, and for failing to remit pension funds to workers in line with the federal government’s directive.
But some members of the FUOYE chapter of ASUU expressed their anger over the attacks on the vice chancellor, Professor Soremekun.
Led by Drs A. Akinsoranti and Ayodeji Ige, the aggrieved ASUU members condemned ASUU’s position and described the union’s position as “unilateral and an attempt to smear Professor Soremekun’s reputation.”
They said: “We wish to state clearly that the address purportedly by Zonal ASUU on behalf of our members was not only false but misleading. It is only the congress that can authorise such, and this unfortunately was not the case.
“The smear campaign was a handiwork of an individual backed by a cabal which seeks to mislead the public and cause disaffection in FUOYE. This press conference showed the failure of ASUU to abide by the simple norm of consultation before confrontation.
“Let me also state that some of the issues raised have been tackled by the management. The allegations raised by the zonal ASUU were devoid of facts, lacking in merit and a product of perverted mind.
“We hereby dissociate ourselves from this attack coming from a minority among us.”
To this end, the aggrieved members said they had joined a parallel body called Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), saying “since they are out to destroy ASUU here in FUOYE, we have opted out and we will embrace the alternative platform, Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).”
Meanwhile, Professor Soremekun has denied the various allegations levelled against him, and has charged members of ASUU to thoroughly investigate issues before going public with them and making accusations.
He said, “As a way of educating Zonal ASUU, pension deductions from staff salaries are not carried out by the university authorities; rather, they are deducted at source (at the office of the Accountant-General), remitted to the Pension Commission (PENCOM) for onward delivery to staff members’ respective Pension Fund Administrators.”
On appointments, Soremekun said FUOYE Council and Senate were aware of every appointment made, and that the Federal Character Commission (FCC) had even commended the institution for being the most compliant with the federal character policy among its peers.
“On the allegation of illegal recruitment of both academic and non-academic staff, it is worthy to note that not all positions must be advertised before recruitment.
“Some of these recruitments are often to meet up with urgent needs such as accreditation exercise; and the authority to do so resides with the vice chancellor. Due process is strictly being adhered to even if such positions are not advertised,” he explained.
On the accusation that the bursar and registrar had been in acting capacity, Soremekun explained that “the appointment and promotion of a principal officer rests with the governing council. Only the governing council reserves the right to authorise the advertisement of vacant position(s) of principal officers in the university, and not the university administration.”
He said ASUU also did not take note of the fact that the substantive registrar of FUOYE, Mr. Daniel Adeyemo, “has taken the university to court, and unless the matter is laid to rest, no action can be taken.”
This, he noted, was why the acting registrar, Mrs. Oyeyimika Koyejo Fasakin, has been operating in acting capacity.
For the bursar, Soremekun said the institution’s bursar had been operating in acting capacity because of the death of the substantive bursar, Mr. Bashir Oyeniyi Badmus, in September 2017, saying this vacuum had not been filled yet.
He expressed delight that regardless of the various challenges FUOYE had been leading and setting the pace among the 12 universities established in 2010 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said: “The sub-text of it all is that we are dealing with individuals that wouldn’t see anything good about this university. Our Faculty of Law has been approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Our Engineering students came first in an engineering competition held in Abuja recently, organised by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).”
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