The ongoing saga surrounding the proscription of activities of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Kogi State University by the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has continued to attract comments and commentaries by various stakeholders with varying views about the development. Inside Story sampled some opinions as follows:
A popular dictum says; “When two elephants fight, it is the ground that suffers.” This is apt when the July 19th pronouncement by the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, made a pronouncement proscribing the activities of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is put into perspective. The Governor had in an effort to find lasting solution to the impasse between ASUU in KSU and his administration over the longest internal strike ever witnessed in the institution come up with the proclamation.
While opinions were divided on the matter the management of the institution acted swiftly to act on the directive of government with the office of the Vice Chancellor, acting on the proscription order, released a circular ordering lecturers in the institution to begin academic activities.
The circular reads in part; “All members of Academic Staff are by the circular requested to note that they will be treated based on their individual terms and conditions of employment.
The circular further stated that any member of staff that fails to resume and perform his or her duties would be deemed to have voluntarily resigned. The Chief Security Coordinator (CSC) of the university was therefore requested to monitor and ensure that no illegal meeting, by Academic Staff members, hold under any guise on this campus.
The circular also advised all academic staff to abide by the directives of the University Management and the State Government to avoid what was termed “unpleasant consequence.”
Despite a counter circular issued by the zonal office of ASUU which lampooned the state government and the management of Kogi State University for the proscription order, some of the students, lecturers and other public analysts reacted to the order.
Eta Obadiah, a student of the institution was miffed by the counter circular released by ASUU zonal office and questioned their sincerity on the matter. He queried; “where was the zonal ASUU since all these months KSU has been on strike? For over 6 months now, can they say they have said or done anything that would have in any way assisted in bringing the entire saga to an end? Can they say with all sincerity that they have been fair enough? Did they show any sign of solidarity with the students throughout the strike period? Who pays the lecturers; is it not the government of Kogi State?
They should just allow government do whatever it can to bring the saga to an end because we are so tired of their inactivity and the delay they have been causing to us and our future.
For Judge Atowodele, also a student of the university, it is wrong for any student to blame Governor Bello over the move because ASUU have shown their greed and insensitivity at the highest level on the matter. “They all admitted that the Governor has met all over 90 per cent of their demands, then why not suspend the strike immediately instead foot dragging?” he questioned.
Joshua Usman however differs on the matter. He said for the lectuers to have worked for seven to eight months without salary was no selfishness, as the lectures were only fighting for what is rightly theirs.
A release by a students’ advocacy group on Campus, Advocacy Wing For A Better Learning Environment, a copy of which was made available to our reporter, sided with government, saying the students have had it with their lecturers.
The group said ASUU in KSU is working an angle that is detrimental to students and lauded government for the action to proscribe their activities on Campus. The group said some lecturers have been tampering on students' rights and denial of privileges for too long, and they think they can persist through holding the students' future to ransom.
Some of the injustices they allege the lecturers to have committed includes but not limited to; fixing of lectures at odd times, willful cancellation of lectures even after confirming to the course representative earlier that the lecture will hold; this, the group said occurs too frequently and proved that lecturers’ private matter affect their public duty; dilatory and extended time for the computation and publication of students' results, and rather prefer to public or ask students to come and check the carry-over list; When students have complaints about their result more often than not they treat or regard the student as unintelligent, even when this may have possibly arose from a computational error; among others.
The Governor, the group said, has done the students a great service for proscribing ASUU KSU, because to them, at least no more strike. They said the Enugu State Chapter ASUU representative (s) who addressed the Kogi State Governor and the management of Kogi State Governor, have shown the kind of background they are coming from, rather show their industrial dispute resolution capability or academic prowess.