Pro-Chancellors knock ASUU president over comment on state varsities

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By Henry Okonkwo 

The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-owned Universities has slammed Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, for referring to some state-owned universities in the country as ‘quacks’.

Recall that on August 26, the ASUU President said on television that state universities are ‘irrelevant and quacks’.

However, in a press statement issued on Monday, by the secretary of the committee, Marcus Awobifa, the ASUU President’s comment was insulting, contemptuous, and unbecoming.

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COPSUN also said State Universities cannot be forced or coerced to implement agreements reached between the Federal Government and its workers in the Universities to which they are not parties.

They further condemned the ASUU’s unpopular approach to the issue of funding tertiary education in a modern globalised world, describing it as ‘archaic, antiquated and impracticable.’

Part of the statement read, “It believes that the President of ASUU does not realise that his loquacious vituperation and obsolete stalinist, centralised, unpopular approach to the issue of funding of tertiary education in a modern globalised world is archaic, antiquated and impracticable anywhere in the world.

“COPSUN believes that this is an auspicious time for ASUU to creatively work with all stakeholders to tinker out a compromise that will bring back to the campuses the young men and women who have been insensitively thrown out of the universities for the last six months.

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“COPSUN wishes to appeal to the President of ASUU to realise that the membership of ASUU is voluntary. Therefore, it is not his ill-informed approach and denigration of state universities that will lead to fashioning out creative approaches to avoid existential extinction that will solve the myriad of problems confronting University system in Nigeria.

“The very unfortunate ill-digested view of the President of ASUU has vindicated the position of this Committee on the following issues: (a) The negative professionalisation of offices of the Unions that operate in our Universities and the unserious believe among many members of the Unions that the Unions are superior to the Councils of the Universities that are their employers.

“The need for immediate democratisation of the membership of Unions in the universities to the extent of the freedom of any individual to belong to a Union with options of not belonging.

“Devolution of powers on the issues of labour, wages, and salaries with freedom of the employers to negotiate with their employees, as it is practiced in other parts of the world, where we borrowed the University system.

“State Universities cannot be forced or coerced to implement agreements reached between the Federal Government and her workers in the Universities to which they are not parties.

“It is time to respect the Federal nature of our government in all matters and not selectively, especially on the issues of salaries and wages,” it added.

Awobifa further said COPSUN will not want to go into any diatribe with the President of ASUU, saying that State Universities and indeed members of the Councils are distinguished and accomplished eminent persons who had served and still serving Nigeria in many capacities.