THE lingering crisis rocking the University of Ibadan (UI) in the last two months will soon be a thing of the past, as the management is currently putting all machinery in motion to ensure that peace returns to the university.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka, made this known on Tuesday, while speaking with journalists on his six-month in office, and the challenges of governing the oldest university in Nigeria.
The vice chancellor stated that having spent 39 years in the university, both as student and staff, some issues which were currently confronting the institution were perennial problems, noting that the economic situation made the current crisis worse than ever.
On students’ protests, which emanated from the expulsion of a student and the arrest of some students’ leaders on Monday evening, Professor Olayinka said the school is not in session at the moment, courtesy of a decision taken by the Senate.
It will be recalled that some students of the institution took to Twitter on Monday night, calling for the sack of the vice chancellor following the arrest of their leaders.
The staff unions also threatened a showdown with the university administration over incomplete arrears and partly paid salaries from January 2016 to May.
Before the vice chancellor’s address, the Chairman, Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan Chapter, Dr Deji Omole, had told journalists that the unions had reached elastic limit and had resolved to receive their full salaries from the Federal Government.
Omole, who stated that in January this year, staff of the institution were told to wait for the signing of the budget, before enjoying full payment of salaries, noted with dismay that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government implemented the hike in fuel price while starving workers of their salaries.
He stated that the UI ASUU had told the vice chancellor to pay full salary to all members of staff in May.
“Since January 2016, salaries have not been paid in full and deductions were not remitted. We have been showing understanding because we were told things will change once the budget is signed by the president but immediately after signing the budget, the president implemented increment is fuel pump price, rather than meeting our welfare needs. But when the vice chancellor called us to a meeting last Thursday, he said he received same shortfall. We have now reached our elastic limit.
“We can no longer continue. That was what happened in some states and till today they have not been paid their salaries. We are putting a stop to it. Nothing is better than nonsense. Enough is enough. If the salaries and arrears are not ready, the university should not bother to pay. Why will National Assembly members collect their monies, doing little for the country, while intellectuals and masses will not be paid at all or paid-in-part?”
Also, the chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Wale Akinremi, while addressing members of his association at the NISER Park, opposite the Senate Building, corroborated the ASUU chairman’s claim.
Akinremi stated that his members who had been receiving half salaries since December 2015 were not ready to receive same again. He wondered why it took the management so long to understand their plight and make life better for them.
On students’ protest and arrest, Professor Olayinka explained that contrary to speculations, the institution remained shut till otherwise decided by the Senate. He condemned the purported notice calling on the students to resume, describing it as “fake”.
“I did not close the school, but the Senate did. There is a process in doing that, so, ignore any notice by any medium directing the students to resume.
“Such notice is fake and I want you to disregard it. There is a stakeholders’ meeting scheduled for next week Tuesday, at the Trenchard Hall. If the school will decide on students’ resumption, the steps in that regards will be taken accordingly by the same process that sent the students off from the campus.
“On their arrested leaders, we learnt that they were inviting their colleagues for a meeting within the school premises while the Senate had ordered that they should go home. I consulted legally and discovered that there cannot be two orders. So, the security officers on duty did the job they were being paid for.
“I learnt they were taken to Sango police station, and the situation also needed the intervention of the State Commissioner of Police(CP). However, the Dean of Students Affairs is already with the CP to sort things out. I believe they would have been released now.”
On the issue of unions accusing the management of insensitivity to their plight, Professor Olayinka said the economic situation in the country caused the partial payment of staff salary on 92 per cent rate and not half as being claimed by the unions. He stated that the Federal Government is owing the university the sum of N782million as shortfall on personnel cost.
This, he said, had forced the university not to be able to pay full salaries and remit full deductions to staff unions and co-operatives.
He further noted that the drastic shortfall in the overhead cost is creating crisis of meeting utility needs of staff and students.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D, South-West and Joint Committee (JCC) Oyo State, have called for the immediate removal of the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, for abuse of power.
The student body, in a press release signed by the Co-ordinator, NANS Zone D (South-West and Secretary General, Ogunsola Okikiola and Oloja Olanrewaju, respectively, stated that the union would mobilise students for a protest on a day the institution is planning stakeholders’ meeting.
According to the statement “The leadership of NANS Zone D (South-West) and NANS/JCC Oyo State, deems it imperative to state our sacrosanct positions on the nonchalant attitude, abuse of power and anti-student policies of Professor Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan.
“We use this opportunity to intimate the Federal Government that when legal and identified platforms for agitations are neglected, terrorism and nefarious activities will reign supreme which might result in near anarchy. Professor Olayinka is desperate to silence any form of dissenting opinions to his autocratic ideals.
“On this note, the leadership of NANS Zone D (South-West) and NANS/JCC Oyo State, hereby pass a vote of no confidence on Professor Idowu Olayinka and also call upon the Federal Government to remove him as the vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, as he himself in a press interview granted on Diamond FM, reiterated that he had no business with the welfare of the students he is expected to hold in highest priority.
“Furthermore, we want to reaffirm that if Professor Idowu Olayinka is not removed, Nigerian students across South-West would not hesitate to massively mobilise on June 7, 2016 to peacefully occupy the streets of Ibadan, protesting the non-removal of Professor Idowu Olayinka,” the statement stated.
CULLED FROM: tribuneonlineng.com