Barely a week after the resumption of academic activities at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the school has threatened to embark on another strike over an alleged illegal appointment of deans of faculties and heads of departments by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Igbekele Ajibefun.
The ASUU threat was contained in a statement issued and signed by the Chairman of the union in the school, Dr Sola Fayose, stating that selecting deans and HODs during the strike was not in accordance with the law and lacked due process.
Fayose described the action of the vice chancellor as unacceptable, noting that the continued employment of academic staff above 70 years of age contradicted the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government Agreement as well as Ondo State Government Official Gazette.
He said in the statement, “the revulsion Professor Ajibefun has for rules and regulations is deep-seated and almost unhealable, as he has also continued to employ academic staff that are over 70 years in total disregard to the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement.”
The AAUA, however, called on Ajibefun to reverse his decision on the selection of the new officers by embracing due process in running the affairs of the university to prevent unnecessary industrial disputes.
The union said “Professor Igbekele Ajibefun is on the way to precipitating another round of instability in the institution based on his brazen violation of rules and regulations.
The AAUA, however, issues a seven-day ultimatum to the university’s vice chancellor, to reverse the alleged illegal appointment of deans of faculties and Heads of Department or face another industrial crisis in the school.
“We call on well-meaning Nigerians, particularly Ondo State indigenes, to prevail on the vice chancellor to allow good reasons to subsist as members of the union are ready to resume effective teaching immediately, not minding three months of their salary and eight months of deductions still outstanding,” the statement stated.
Meanwhile, the authorities of the institution have suspended the executive members of the institution’s branch of ASUU for demanding democratisation of academic headship positions in line with the university’s regulations.
Those suspended included the Chairperson, Dr Sola Fayose; the Immediate Past Chairperson, Dr Busuyi Mekusi; the Vice Chairperson, Dr Dorcas Alese and the Assistant Secretary, Dr Sola Olorunfemi.
Others are the Investment Secretary, Dr Adedayo Afe; Welfare Secretary, Dr Bolu Oshodi and a non exco member.
All attempts to speak with the Chairperson of ASUU-AAUA, Dr Fayose, to react to the suspension were unsuccessful, but a top official of the university who was not authorised to speak on the issue confirmed the suspension.
Meanwhile, the authorities of the institution have explained the rationale behind the suspension of the six lecturers.
In a statement issued by the school authority and signed by the Head, Information, Protocol and Public Relations, Mr Sola Imoru, explained reason for the suspension of the six lecturers.
Imoru said the statement became imperative to clear the air over the misrepresentation of facts being peddled around over the issue.
He stated in the statement that “Following the suspension of the over three months’ industrial action two weeks ago, the Senate held an emergency meeting on October 13, during which a decision was taken, among others, that all lecturers must submit students’ scores and upload same within one week.
“Unfortunately, in utmost disregard for the decision of the Senate, the highest academic organ of the university, some misguided academics disrupted the meetings called in some faculties and departments to achieve Senate’s decision, assaulted their colleagues, including senior professors, and generally disturbed the peace of the university.”
Imoru stated further that “management, on receipt of the reports from the assaulted academics, suspended the erring lecturers and constituted a panel to investigate the matter to restore discipline, peace and sanity in line with the extant books of the university.”
He, however, said that the school has commenced uninterrupted academic activities.