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Obaseki, ASUU disagree over management of Edo varsity

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Obaseki. Photo/TWITTER/GOVERNOROBASEKI

Visitation panel indicts AAU of 1.7b fraud
• Gov. names Olotu chair of intervention team

The Benin Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, expressed concern over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s style of managing the crisis in the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma.

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ASUU said Obaseki’s recent actions did not only constitute an assault on the university’s autonomy but portended grave danger in the management of public universities in the country.

Rising from a meeting at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), the union condemned Obaseki’s amendment of the university’s laws, dissolution of the Governing Council and appointment of an Acting Vice-Chancellor.

In a statement issued by the Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Fred Esumeh, ASUU noted that the amendment of the university laws was not only unconventionally and hastily done, but also shrouded in secrecy, adding that conferring extraordinary powers on the governor left much to be desired.

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He described the new law as a plot to impose a Sole Administrator and an emerging dictator on the institution.

The union, therefore, tasked Governor Obaseki, who is a visitor to AAU to reconsider his actions to allow the institution to run in accordance with global best practices, the National Universities Commission (NUC) guidelines and autonomy of the university system.

BESIDES, the special visitation panel to the university has indicted the immediate past management of the institution of indiscriminate procurement of loans and overdrafts amounting to N1.7 billion.

The panel, which was constituted by Obaseki in the wake of unions’ and other stakeholders’ agitations in the university, was mandated to investigate revenue generation, transparency, accountability, adherence to due process, employment, promotions and sustainability.

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Professors Ikponmwosa Omoruyi and Prof. Lawrence Atsegbua of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) headed the panel, which was set up in October 2020.

The panel’s report, which was submitted to Governor Obaseki in March 2021, revealed that there was indiscriminate procurement of loans and overdrafts, noting that the N1.7b, procured within the period under review was not sustainable.

It also said indiscriminate procurement of vehicles through lease financing should be stopped as payment of N133m in five years through lease financing was not feasible.

MEANWHILE, Obaseki has appointed a special intervention team to exercise powers and functions of the Governing Council of AAU in accordance with the provisions of the AAU Special Intervention Powers Law 2021, except the appointment and removal of principal officers.
 
The team, headed by Managing Director of Schlumberger Nigeria Limited, Andrew Olotu, has Patrick Inegbedion, Uyi Izekor, Prof. Esther Ikuoria, Mrs. Imo Okundaye, Emmanuel Etomi, Osen Iyahen, Yusuf Mohammed, Austin Osakwe, as members, while Oaihimire Idemudia Edetalehn is Secretary.

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