ASUU splits over LASU crisis, urges Fashola to send visitation panel
CITING several problems facing the Lagos State University (LASU), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos Zone, on Tuesday called on the State governor and Visitor to the institution, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to send visitation panel to LASU.
Addressing reporters at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) ASUU secretariat, the Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Adeola Nassir, said that the situation in LASU had worsened, even as the institution is gradually sliding into chaos.
But as this was ongoing in UNILAG, Akoka, another faction of ASUU in LASU, at a briefing held on the Ojo campus of the institution, disassociated themselves from yesterday’s protest.
The group, allegedly loyal to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, claimed there is peace in the university, except for “some external forces” trying to instigate some disgruntled members of the union to foment trouble and distabilise the system.
Nassir informed that the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Obafunwa, had defiled several efforts to restore peace and remove LASU from the map of crises.
He expressed disappointment that the visitor to LASU (Fashola) has still not yielded to several calls made by the union to investigate the crises at the institution.
According to him, “Developments at LASU have since gone from bad to worse due to what we perceived as witch-hunting of our members by the LASU administration coupled with crass incompetence, borne out of poor vision and warped mindset of the vice chancellor.
“Ranging from the issue of withholding of ASUU-LASU check-off dues, to irregular appointments and promotions; interdiction of Prof Tunde Fatunde; withdrawal of Ph.D certificates of ASUU-LASU chairman, Dr. Adekunle Idris; interference with the union’s internal matters and denial of regularisation interview to two temporary appointees.”
Other issues as raised by the union includes, violations of rules and regulations governing the university; the state of LASU consult and ventures; and his full time tenure offices as the vice chancellor and Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State.
“With this double standards, how can he (Obafunwa) sits down and think out progressive idea on how to move LASU forward? It is clear to us that Obafunwa is never tired of instigating crises for LASU and government just cover his incompetence.
“Our union is disturbed that the Lagos State government has continued to turn its face away from these brazen anomalies. We therefore wondered what level of crisis would prompt government to act right and act fast in arresting the drift at LASU.
“For the umpteenth time, we are asking that the governor should call Obafunwa to order whilst at the same time setting up visitation to LASU immediately. The alternative is to watch LASU snowball into more crises with the attendant implications.”
To make their dissatisfaction known to the state government and the public, the group in yesterday’s protest at Alausa described Obafunwa’s administration as anti-intellectual and autocratic, challenging Fashola to call the VC to order before the situation becomes uncontrollable.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the ASUU-LASU Caretaker Committee, Ayodele Asokere, at the Ojo briefing, dissociated his group from the protests.
Asokere said the protest was uncalled for and should be disregarded, saying “it is a ploy to lure the LASU students into political thuggery and violence.
According to him, “I want to quickly address the call to yesterday’s protest by one Comrade Aremu of JAF. Many text messages have been circulated in the last few days by one unknown Dr. Idris, giving reasons for the protest.
“Some of the reasons given were victimisation of students and lecturers. Secondly, they cited an intention to increase LASU school fees and thirdly they mentioned disruption of academic freedom.
“We are constrained to state that such a rally is not justified for now especially since the university has just begun a new academic session after the smooth and successful completion of the 2013/2014 session.”
The ASUU-LASU said their findings after so much consultation have not revealed any intention to hike LASU fees, even as he said no case of victimization have been established and that academic freedom in the university is guaranteed.
Asokere said: “Therefore, all the reasons stated in the text messages are baseless and unfounded. It is clear that some mischievous individuals are bent on disrupting the peace and progress in LASU and this individuals are colluding with external agents to achieve their devilish ends.”
The ASUU-LASU leadership enjoined LASU students to steer clear of the planned protest and avoid anything that could jeopardise their future as well as the smooth running of the university’s academic calendar.
“Students need to be informed that political thuggery may come in different guises including this one that wears the cloak of a peaceful rally. Parents are therefore advised not to allow their children and wards to be used by agents of political parties who are disguising to be unionists.
“Parents, please be alerted that those who are calling for the disruption of academic calender in LASU do not have their children or wards in LASU but in private universities in the country where they pay astronomical fees. Please, do not be used by some insincere individuals to achieve some selfish ends,” Asokere said.