Crisis erupts at the Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), following alleged attacks on the Vice Chancellor, Prof Kayode Soremekun by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Ekiti State chapter.
Some aggrieved members of FUOYE ASUU have expressed disapproval to the allegations of corruption and appointment racketeering leveled against Prof. Soremekun and in the process joined a parallel body called Congress of Nigeria Academics (CNA).
ASUU, Akure zone, had recently addressed a press briefing through the zonal Coordinator and Chairman of the union in Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Prof. Olu-Olu Olufayo, where it alleged that there were pension fraud and irregular recruitment in FUOYE.
Olufayo accused the management of promoting academic staff without following due process while also failed to remit pension funds to workers, in line with the federal government’s directive.
Prof. Soremekun had, however, denied the allegations, saying the Council and the Senate were aware of every appointment made and that pensions were deducted directly from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and not the university.
Briefing newsmen in Oye-Ekiti, those opposed to ASUU’s position, led by Dr. A. Akinsoranti and Barr. Ayodeji Ige, described ASUU’s position as an attempt to smear Prof. Soremekun.
Akinsoranti said FUOYE has been leading and setting the pace among the 12 universities established in 2010 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He accused the ASUU Chairman in FUOYE, Akinyemi Omonijo of running the union like a ‘cult’, saying the press conference he addressed where he made allegations against the VC was not authorised by members and that the positions canvassed by zonal ASUU, were baseless.
“We wish to state clearly that the press conference of October 4, purportedly addressed by Zonal ASUU on behalf of our members was not only false but misleading. It is only the congress that can authorise such and thus unfortunately was not the case.
“The smear campaign was a handiwork of an individual backed by a cabal which seeks to mislead the public and cause disaffection in FUOYE which is still a young university.
“This press conference showed the failure of ASUU to abide by simple norm of consultation before confrontation.
“Let me also state that some of the issues raised have been tackled by the management.
“The allegations raised by Zonal ASUU was devoid of facts, lacking in merit and a product of perverted mind.
“We hereby dissociate ourselves from this attack coming from a minority among us”, he said.
Lending credence to what Akinsoranti said, Ige added: “Those opposed to the management are in the minority group. They knew that the Governing Council and Vice Chancellor cannot appoint substantive Bursar and Registrar since the former occupant of the seat, Mr. Daniel Adeyemo is in court challenging his removal.
“Since they are out to destroy ASUU here in FUOYE, we have opted out and we will embrace the alternative platform, Congress of Nigeria Academics (CNA)”.
Soremekun, in his reaction, urged unions to be thorough in their investigations before raising accusations that would dent the image of the university.
He stated that universities as ivory towers must show good examples by disseminating information that add values to the society.
His words: “As a way of educating Zonal ASUU, pension day deductions from staff salaries are not carried out by the university authorities; rather they are deducted at source at the office of the Accountant General, remitted to Pension Commission for onward delivery to staff members respective Pension Fund Administrators.”
On the upgrading of a non-PhD holder academic staff to the professorial cadre, Prof. Soremekun said the development was not strange as precedents abound in other universities.
“Becoming a professor depends on what you can offer and not about this certificate mediocrity of a thing,” he said.
The vice chancellor accused some members of ASUU as being part of those that mismanaged N10 million released by his predecessor, Prof. Isaac Asuzu, for the school’s farm inherited by his administration.
He said due process was followed in staff recruitment as approved by the governing council with a certificate of compliance issued by the Federal Character Commission.
He added, “This university started operation eight years ago, we understand that it will be impossible to have everything at once. The National Universities Commission regulates all activities of the universities and the governing council is in charge of recruitments and there is no way they can allow us to circumvent the laws.
“We have paid hazard allowance to all staff and this happened for the first time in the history of this university. But the non-payment of relocation allowance should not be blamed on us, it stated from the time of my predecessors but we are taking time to address it as soon as possible.”