Campaign for and against the extension of service of Mr Waheed Olojede as Secretary, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), continued on Thursday with members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) from Oyo, Ogbomoso, Oke-Ogun (OOODEC) and Ibarapa zone asking the national leadership of the union to uphold the one year extension of service granted Olojede.
Addressing journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press centre, Ibadan, the OOODEC bloc led by its Deputy Chairman, Mr Adewole Taiwo condemned Wednesday’s protest by its members representing the Ibadan bloc against Olojede’s continued service as Secretary as unfair, barbaric and unlawful.
It would be recalled that some teachers in Ibadan land, led by its zonal Chairman, Mr Tunde Onifade, protested on Wednesday, insisting that Olojede having retired in January 2016, had overstayed his time as state Secretary.
Adewole described the rally by the Ibadan bloc as null and void and did not represent the views of teachers of Oyo state, adding that the rally was done without any well-constituted meeting of teachers where such decision to protest was reached.
He dissociated entire members of the state executive council from the twenty-two local branches, making up OOODEC from the protest rally, urging the national leadership of the union to uphold the one-year extension of service granted to Olojede.
On the contentious extension of service, the OOODEC bloc held that it was the exclusive prerogative of the national leadership of the union to extend the service period of any state secretary or senior staff as it deemed fit, adding that many of its senior staff had previously had extended years of service.
He argued that the national and South West zonal leadership of the union recognised Olojede’s sterling leadership quality hence its continued approval of his extension of tenure.
Noting Olojede’s commitment to championing the welfare of workers, over the years, Adewole said those with grievances should follow the due process laid down by the union rather than rubbish the personality of “the astute labour leader”.
He consequently urged those aggrieved members to allow the national leadership to adjudicate on the issue, rather than ridicule Olojede using protests.
While those for Olojede were addressing the press, those against him stormed the venue chanting songs themed, “Olojede must go.”
Meanwhile, Onifade in their own rally, said the protest became expedient because the national leadership foot dragged about having Olojede replaced, noting that his third extension lapsed in January 2016.
Noting that the current state NUT Chairman that emerged from its last election was also from the OOODEC bloc, Onifade said having Olojede as Secretary, also from the same bloc, betrayed the agreement that one bloc should hold Chairmanship position and the other bloc holding Secretarial position.
He held that the protests will continue until the national leadership asks Olojede to leave office as Secretary.
“Olojede is our employee and every teacher is his employer. His tenure of office lapsed in January 2016 and we were told back then in 2016 that he ought to have left his position as state Secretary.”
“But the then National President, Comrade Olukoya Alogba took a series of actions including election that brought in the current executives of NUT and we were asked to jettison the issue of Waheed Olojede then.”
“We have Ibadan/Ibarapa bloc and OOODEC bloc. Olojede comes from the OOODEC bloc and the arrangement is when the Chairman comes from one bloc, the Secretary comes from the other bloc.
“Olojede has spent his 35 years in service and he ought to have gone on retirement in 2016. But we were told that if we allow him to go that way, there will be a vacuum, and someone needed to be trained in 2017.”
“We, the Ibadan bloc then choose Comrade S. O. Oyelere for the position of Secretary and was appointed. We were pleaded with to allow Olojede to stay for another six months after he has enjoyed three years of the uninterrupted extension. The six months lapsed January 9, 2019.”
“We have sent letters to the National body and reminders and they were foot-dragging in order to make sure Olojede continues.”
“We would have resolved this issue but he intentionally refused to convene State Wing Executive Council meeting (SWEC) knowing that we will not take the issue lightly with him. Are we fools?”
“How do you expect a retiree who has taken his gratuity and pension to remain on the seat as our leader?
“There is an Endwell scheme that we are guarding jealously where whatever you get you are to contribute a certain percentage that you will get at retirement. Olojede has collected his retirement benefit from that scheme.”
“How do you expect someone who is no longer a member of the scheme to continue to administer that scheme? He does not have a right to be on that scheme. Olojede must go,” Onifade said.