As the nationwide strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) continues, the Federal Government has been urged to recognise and reward the academic staff of the University of Ilorin for their efforts towards sustaining the university system despite all odds.
UNILORIN ASUU Chairman, Dr. Usman Raheem, noted that his union represents a paradigm shift in trade unionism in Nigeria, noting that it recognizes “academic staff as critical stakeholders in the stability and sustainability of the university system.”
Raheem made this submission at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Unilorin ASUU Luxury Quarters.
ROYAL NEWS gathered that the ASUU Luxury Quarters comprises 100 units of houses made up of 80 units of fully detached three bedrooms bungalow and 20 units of two bedrooms semi-detached flats under the National Housing Fund Scheme.
According to him, “Our hostel project, the shopping mall on our campuses developed by my predecessors as well as our land acquisition scheme, out of which over 400 of our members benefitted, and this ASUU Luxury Quarters for 170 households of academic staff of this University, are models in the new paradigm and a striking departure from the usual Bolekaja and ‘sink the system’ approach that is obviously not yielding any dividend either for the system, the nation or indeed its progenitors.”
“I want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to recognise and reward academic staff of the University of Ilorin for their efforts to sustain the university systems despite all odds”, the ASUU Chairman said, adding that “the Federal Government should pay up without delay the shortfall on our salaries that has almost paralyzed our cooperative societies and locked up our local economy for up to a year. Secondly, the Federal Government should expeditiously address the demands of ASUU so that the ongoing strike in some campuses can be called off thereby saving the university systems from avoidable crises”.
While commending the efforts of the University’s Governing Council on the progress made so far in the selection of the next Vice-Chancellor for the University, Dr. Raheem noted that the University “parades great minds who are managers of men and materials, some of whom have held enviable positions in our national life with exceeding success.”
The ASUU Chairman, however, maintained that “the Union is of the view that a Vice-Chancellor within our local human resources is much a better deal for our University than an ‘importation’ from any other university culture where strikes and closure of universities were to them, ‘not a big deal’.”
Performing the groundbreaking ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, said that the efforts of the Union showed its progressive nature. “So, I thank Almighty God for giving me the opportunity to relate with this crop of individuals at the University of Ilorin.”
Prof. Ambali pointed out that through the housing project, ASUU has laid a good foundation of guarantying everybody a good tomorrow. This, he stressed, was essential to curbing corruption, noting that, being universities, “we have to be seen as providing solutions to Nigeria’s problems.”
The Vice-Chancellor, who described the Unilorin ASUU leadership as “very focused, who know their destination and how to get there”, said, “The gap between the University of Ilorin and the national ASUU is small; but we only appeal for understanding because even if you have twins, they are bound to be different and as a parent, you have to be parent of both of them by understanding the slight differences between them. We are not fighting with anybody, we are just trying to do our job and we want people to understand that…”
Noting that understanding the differences that exist among people and nations of the world, “is what keeps the whole world going”, Prof. Ambali said, “So, if Unilorin is ready to be accepted for who we are then, please open the bus, then we shall all enter and be in the same bus but having different destinations.”
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