The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso has said the silence of Oyo and Osun State Governments over its strike is disturbing and could lead to an indefinite strike.
The Secretary of ASUU, Toyin Abegunrin, expressed the union’s displeasure over the silence of the two state governments to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Sunday.
Recall that it was reported last Wednesday that ASUU disrupted the ongoing second semester examination for 2017/2018 academic session at the institution. The lecturers action was due to non-payment of workers salaries as well as decayed infrastructure of the institution.
The union, which embarked on a two-week warning strike to express its displeasure, however said the strike would become indefinite considering the silence of the governments.
On Sunday, Mr Abegunrin said the warning strike is an opportunity for the governments to do the needful; and if not attended to, it will turn “into a full blown strike.”
“The governments are just doing what they like with LAUTECH. They constituted a visitation panel led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN). The panel came up with some recommendations which would have solved the problem of the university, but the governments failed to implement them.
“After the first strike during Wale Omole led Governing Council, they constituted another Governing Council led by Professor Dapo Afolabi. In a meeting with us on January 11, the governing council asked that we submit a proposal on how the crisis can be solved, which we did. We had another meeting on February 13 in Lagos, we looked at the proposal and signed memorandum of action with the council.
“We believed that when they have done what the governments asked them to do, funds will be released. The council did staff auditing last year December and they even found out that LAUTECH is short-staffed. After that, we expect proper funding but the governments are not doing so. They expect funding from IGR which is only the school fees and that is what led to recent increment in school fees. These are the children of the masses. Majorly, they are the children of civil servants in Osun and Oyo State who are not paid,” he said.
He also flayed the respective governments.
“The governments have not been responsive and that’s the promise the governing council made to us that they will make the government of Oyo Osun State to be responsive to their legitimate responsibility including funding. But, we can’t say the Governing Council has not fulfilled its promise because they have principals too.
“The directive of the national body of ASUU is going on a total strike after two weeks of no response. The decision was made at the NEC meeting that took place in Calabar. It is now even beyond what we can control and it is unfortunate that the two governments have been silent all since. So, it is an admittance of guilt otherwise let them speak out. It is unfortunate.”
Mr Abegunrin also spoke on how previous payments were made by the university managements.
“The management is short of funds. The visitors are not releasing the subventions. So, they are incapacitated. To be fair to the management, as far as the little fund they have can carry them, they have (paid), but it has been exhausted.
“The university cannot run on IGR only. The major source of IGR is school fees and ordinarily, using students’ school fees to pay salary is misappropriation of funds because the school fees have headings for healthcare facilities, laboratories equipment and renewal etc. Those are the things school fees are meant for but they are now transferring it to payment of salaries. It is even tantamount to misappropriation.”
Meanwhile, the two state governments have failed to publicly speak on the crisis.
Several calls and text messages sent to Special Adviser to Osun State Governor on Higher Education, Grace Akinola, were not responded to.