The national body of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has blamed the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede for the current indefinite industrial action embarked upon by the OAU branch of the union.
The body said the unpaid Academic Earned Allowances (EAA) upon which the ASUU of the branch declared industrial action was caused solely by the vice-chancellor of the university and not the Federal Government, asking students and their parents and guardians as well as members of the public to hold the vice-chancellor responsible for the disruption in the academic activities.
The President of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, gave this position on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune,
He said it was ASUU that negotiated EAA with the Federal Government and with a specific template for payment to the deserving lecturers across the nation’s public universities.
He said all schools had been using the template for many years and not a new thing and therefore wondered why OAU VC wants to do differently from other universities.
According to him, not all lecturers are even entitled to EAAs but only those who have done excess work and are to be paid based on the volume of work done and that is why a Lecturer One for example can earn more than a professor.
“And the template is what other universities, over 40 of them, have used based on the amount of money that was released to them by the Federal Government since last December before Christmas break and the money had already been given to them.
He said but it was unheard of when the OAU VC agreed with another parallel teachers’ union known as Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) within the university which is now claiming to have developed a fresh template to calculate the allowance that each lecturer should get.
Osodeke said CONUA was not only an illegal to trade union as it was yet to register under Nigerian law according to him, the money was given to OAU in the name of ASUU and not CONUA, and CONUA now dictating on how it would be shared is unheard of and also unacceptable to ASUU.
He said in his capacity as ASUU president, he had engaged OAU VC several times on the matter and pleaded with him to follow the rules guiding EAAs just as his colleagues in other universities have done but that he refused to yield to ASUU pleas.
He said OAU VC just wants to use CONUA which he said supported his candidacy to become the VC to destabilize ASUU activities in the university and that ASUU would never accept such.
Osodeke said now as far as the national body of ASUU is concerned, its members in OAU are currently on strike over unpaid EAA and the action is total and indefinite.
But the university authorities in its reaction to the development also on Tuesday, said only a small fraction of lecturers who are members of ASUU are talking about strike while the bulk of lecturers are at work and not contemplating on embarking on any strike on the matter.
The university’s spokesman, Mr Biodun Olanrewaju, who gave this impression in a statement asked students and their parents or guardians as well as members of the public to totally disregard the circular from any quarter declaring industrial action in the university.
He emphasised that a larger percentage of lecturers in the university are at their duty posts with other activities going on as scheduled on campus.