The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, is billed to attend the congress of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU) chapter of the union on Thursday.
A statement by the Secretary of the chapter of the union, Kayode Atilade, noted that Mr Osodeke will address the congress “on the status of its struggles.”
Though Mr Atilade did not disclose the specific issues to be addressed by the President, the visit may not be unconnected to the raging conflicts between the union and the university management especially over the sharing of the earned academic allowance recently released by the government.
The university’s chapter of ASUU is also at loggerheads with a breakaway faction under the umbrella of the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), and Mr Osodeke was fingered as one of the major protagonists in the crisis.
Osodeke versus CONUA
The leadership of CONUA on the campus has consistently accused Mr Osodeke of being a major culprit in the leadership crisis that rocked the union on the campus, which it said forced some members to form a parallel union in 2018.
CONUA was founded after the expulsion of some ASUU members of the union on the campus over leadership crisis.
Mr Osodeke, before becoming the union’s president, headed a committee set up by the national leadership of ASUU to investigate the crisis rocking the OAU branch at the time.
The crisis had been traced to the selection process of the university’s 11th substantive vice-chancellor in 2016, with members accusing the then leadership of ASUU on the campus of tilting its scale towards a particular candidate.
The crisis had also consumed the then outgoing and 10th substantive vice-chancellor of the university, Bamitale Omole, who was molested by the non-academic staff union members on the campus and chased out of the institution. Mr Omole was unable to successfully complete his term.
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Some ASUU members had accused Mr Osodeke of submitting to the union leadership a report “that was completely against the facts on ground.”
“Osodeke in fact is a fundamental factor in the OAU crisis,” said Niyi Sunmonu, National Coordinator of CONUA.
But Mr Osodeke has constantly denied this, and accused the aggrieved members of wanting him to “ignore the facts of the matter then, but to write a report that favoured them.”
CONUA not on strike
The leadership of CONUA has also said it is not part of the ongoing strike by ASUU led by Mr Osodeke.
CONUA noted that its members continued to work at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, until other workers’ unions declared industrial action.
ASUU has been on strike since 14 February, demanding better funding for the university system and better remuneration for its members.
ASUU is demanding the implementation of the renegotiated 2009 agreement with the Nigerian government as well as the deployment of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) used by the government for the payment of its members’ emoluments.