Prof. Tanko Ishaya, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, has described the academic staff as key stakeholders in the growth and development of public universities in the country.
Ishaya said this at the 22nd National Delegates Conference of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held on Friday in Jos.
The vice chancellor said ASUU had over time played critical roles in this regard, adding that the union remains the brain behind some of the successes recorded in public universities.
“Without academic staff, there will be no public universities; most of our universities would have been backwards today without ASUU members.
“Today, there are many innovations and initiatives introduced by ASUU that are sustaining public universities.
“So, ASUU is playing key roles towards the growth and progress of our universities,” he said.
“The VC called on his colleagues to create harmonious relationships with ASUU members in their various domains, adding that such would be for the good of both management and ASUU.
“There is no need for vice-chancellors to fight ASUU members in their universities; after all; most of us are members of ASUU,” he said.
Ishaya also called for more funding for public universities, saying it would enable better teaching and learning.
Earlier, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU President, said the conference would enable the union elect a new set of principal officers.
He recalled how the current national officials of the union were elected at the 21st National Delegates Conference held at the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, in May 2021.
He added that since that election, the union had undergone a lot of struggles aimed at bettering the condition of public universities in the country.
“The past two years have been very challenging for our members and the union due to deliberate efforts of the government to scuttle our struggle for a better education system and an improved university education.
“The salaries of our members in federal and some state universities were stopped, and agreements reached with two government re-negotiation teams were rejected.
“In federal and state universities alike, ASUU members were pauperised and brutalised for challenging governments to make their institutions and welfare packages attractive and competitive. Those who could not stand the humiliation have fought with their feet and fled the country
“It is our hope that the incoming administration will consider all the issues and resolve them comprehensively for the benefit of the Nigeria university system and Nigeria as a country,” he said.
In a brief remark, Assoc. Prof. Lazarus Maigoro,, ASUU Chairman, Unijos Chapter, thanked the national body for granting his chapter the hosting right for the conference.