Vice Chancellors (VCs), political office holders, and traditional leaders are allegedly abusing staff employment rights in universities against due procedure, according to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Prof. Emmanuel Osaodeke, the President of ASUU, expressed worry about the issue yesterday in Uyo at the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) Heroes’ Day Celebration in Akwa Ibom State.
Prof. Osaodeke assured attendees that the Union was prepared to combat the anomaly and bring order back to the system.
Osodeke pointed out that although no university in the nation has posted job openings in the last six to ten years, the number of employees at these establishments has increased thrice, with VCs hiring everyone from lecturers to senators and governors.
“Up until now, university employment was done through advertisement followed,” the ASUU president stated.
The ASUU boss explained that, “Before now, university employment was done through advertisement followed by rigorous interviews, but now how do people get here? Through temporary appointments.
“That’s the problem that we have today. I do not know of any university for the past six to ten years that has advertised, but the staff strength has tripled.
“VCs just sat down somewhere and packed people from traditional rulers, governors, and all other politicians into Nigerian universities as lecturers, most of them now scavengers in the system, going after money and all manners of things.
“Unfortunately, university employment has turned into a constituency project, and we have to struggle to reverse this misnomer and bring sanity to the system.”
On the value of UNIUYO Heroes’ Day, Prof Osodeke lauded, “All the heroes honoured today for sacrifices made to the point of termination of appointments, seizure of salaries, demotion, among other travails, for speaking truth to powers for the benefit of others.”
Professor of ethnocommunication Desmond Wilson bemoaned in a keynote speech for the occasion how fifth columnists, including individuals purportedly hired by the government to sow discord, have undermined the Union’s struggles.
Wilson asked all ASUU members to continue being selfless and dedicated in the struggle for the improvement of everyone and the rescue of Nigerian varsities from the current predicament, emphasizing that heroism was not a license for misbehavior.
The VC at UNIUYO, Prof Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, represented by Prof Ben Etuk, acknowledged ASUU’s role and contribution to better well-being among the university staff, urging the association to sustain its efforts.
ASUU in UNIUYO also released over N1.7 million to 15 indigent students of the university who excelled in their academics as it conferred heroes’ awards on worthy past leaders of the branch.
The honourees on the call include Dr Etop Ndiyo, Prof Desmond Wilson, Prof Edet Akpan, Prof Joseph Ushie, Prof Aniesua Essiet, and Prof Ashong Ashong.
Acting Chairperson of ASUU, UNIUYO, professor Opeyemi Olajide, noted that the financial rewards were to help push students found brilliant in their respective faculties to finish their courses of study on a high.