ASUU faults Bello over proscription of Kogi varsity branch
The Calabar Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has blasted the Kogi State Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello, on his order to proscribe of the Kogi State University (KSU) Branch of the union.
Bello had on July 19, reportedly banned the activities of the ASUU-KSU branch, saying he was forced to take the decision following the refusal of the lecturers to call off six months old strike.
A statement signed by chairpersons of ASUU in the Zone, Dr Tony Eyang, University of Calabar; Dr Aniekan Brown, University of Uyo; Dr Emmanuel Ettah, Cross River University of Technology; Arch Ochi Ejimofor, Abia State University; Dr Imeh Okop, Akwa Ibom State University; Dr Basil Onwe, Ebonyi State University; Dr Ogugua Egwu, Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo; and Prof Nsing Ogar, the Zonal Coordinator described Bello’s action as ridiculous and a national embarrassment.
The statement presented by Dr Eyang to reporters at the ASUU Secretariat, University of Calabar, Monday read, “It has become pertinent to address you on the purported proscription of ASUU Kogi State University (KSU) Branch by Governor Yahaya Bello on19th July 2017, an action that is ridiculous and a national embarrassment. As you are aware, the academic staff of that university after a painfully long period of time without being paid their salaries and entitlements and without any reasonable response from the State Government and University Administration to address the issues, decided within the rules of engagement to embark on a struggle to enforce their fundamental rights. To the shock of the nation, the Governor’s reaction to the crisis was to issue threats and adopt scorch-earth tactics, including the laughable purported proscription of the activities of that branch of ASUU.
“The expectation had been that the State Government would meaningfully engage the striking lecturers, who have been demoralized and economically harassed, with a view to addressing the sticking issues.
Instead of this, Governor Yahaya Bello flew off the handle into a whim of dictatorial absurdity by branding the lecturers as criminals and attempting to stop them from exercising their fundamental right of lawful assembly.
“By purportedly banning ASUU KSU activities, Governor Bello has exposed his lack of understanding of the constitutionality of union matters in Nigeria, which belong to the Exclusive Legislative List. The governor has also shown his ignorance of the fact that he has neither the locus nor the powers to ban a duly registered union or a part of it and its activities.
“In fact, the so-called proscription of ASUU KSU is an act of dictatorship that is highly regrettable, in view of the governor’s supposed role as the custodian of the constitution in the state. It is a painful irony that a beneficiary of a democratic system, Yahaya Bello, would be the one to take such a tyrannical posture reminiscent of military dictatorship. It need not be touted how ASUU confronted and wrestled the ogres of dictatorship and terror before, armed with its principles and undying vision for a better country. He should urgently be reminded that his palm kernel was cracked for him by benevolent spirits, and he must not forget to be humble (as Chinua Achebe would admonish).
“Equally disturbing is the uncritical reception of the purported ban on
ASUU KSU by the authorities of the institution, who should have been more knowledgeable, reflective and useful in advising and guiding the errant Governor. This is a sad revelation of both the lack of depth and courage in the managers of the University and their poor appreciation of the many sacrifices and contributions of ASUU not only to the development of KSU but also education in Nigeria as a whole.
“The Calabar Zone of ASUU joins the entire Union and well-meaning
Nigerians to categorically condemn the scorch-earth tactics of
Governor Bello and the Administration of KSU, and urges them to constructively engage the lecturers with a view to addressing their unpaid entitlements – salaries and allowances. This will be helpful to all parties, especially the students who clearly understand that the morale of a teacher is low when his entitlements are unpaid.
“Finally, ASUU is resolved to protect the fundamental rights of its members; and as history has proved, the Union cannot be defeated while fighting a just cause. Governor Bello must mellow and quickly come into the awareness that the academics in KSU are not his slaves, and will never be. Let him retrace his steps and embrace dialogue.”
Eyang said if Bello refuses to retrace his steps, ASUU “will explore a number of options available” to them to address the situation.
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