There is an indication that the two-decade-long feud between the University of Ilorin Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the National Headquarters of the union will soon become a thing of the past.
This development is consequent upon a series of consultations between the two factions of the UNILORIN chapter of ASUU, led by Dr Usman Raheem and Dr Kayode Afolayan, and a delegation from the national headquarters of the union led by Dr. Ben Ugheoke.
A five-point resolution to this effect was signed by the trio last Wednesday (July 3, 2019).
The crisis was triggered by the sacking of 49 lecturers of the institution, tagged ‘ASUU 49+’ by the management of the University in 2001 for allegedly joining a nationwide strike organised by ASUU.
The Supreme Court later ruled that the lecturers be reabsorbed by the university and their full entitlements must be paid for the period of their sack.
Reacting to the development, Raheem, who chairs one of the factions of the union in UNILORIN, described the reconciliation as a welcome development.
Raheem commended the visitation panel for going about the process of reconciliation in a mature and methodical manner.
He acknowledged the intervention of the current management of the university, at whose instance the process was initiated, saying that his members were always in support of the peace and progress of the university.
Raheem also commended the national leadership of the Union for doing everything possible to ensure that “an end must be brought to the crisis”.
He recalled that the panel had extensive interactions with members of ASUU to arrive at a compromise with the conclusion that none of the parties should do anything to undermine the peace process.
Justifying the reconciliation, Raheem said that it was unfair to allow workers and students in the university, who were not part of the feud, to bear the brunt of the protracted crisis.
He also dismissed the notion held in some quarters that the re-integration would expose the university to perennial strikes, saying that both the union and the management of the university would continue to do everything possible to ensure that the prevailing peace was sustained.
While he congratulated his colleagues on the development, Dr. Raheem said that the University of Ilorin stands to gain a lot from the newfound peace. He explained that “We can now walk freely to any campus in Nigeria, interact with colleagues, collaborate with academics from other universities for research, examination and peer review purposes”.
Reacting to the development in a telephone interview with our correspondent, Afolayan, who is the chairman of the second faction of UNILORIN ASUU confirmed that the process of reconciliation of the union had been initiated.