The Governor Godwin Obaseki led Edo state government, on Wednesday, announced the immediate suspension of the activities of all university staff unions – including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) – at the state-owned Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Ekpoma.
The decision, Obaseki said, was following Tuesday’s protest by students of the university over the lingering strike by the university lecturers. But sources told CAMPUS GIST that the anti-ASUU protest was sponsored by management of the university, who have been at loggerhead with ASUU for some time now.
Recall that the AAU management had recently ordered students to return back to campus for resumption of academic activities despite the ongoing strike by the ASUU AAU local chapter to press home their demands including salary arrears owed members by the Edo state government. But ASUU had kicked against the directive, ordering the students to remain at home.
Meanwhile, in the latest development, Obaseki, who was in 2019 decorated as ‘education most friendly governor’ by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), said the sudden decision to suspend all union activities affect all state-owned institutions of higher learning.
A statement endorsed by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, said the affected unions include ASUU, Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (NASUP) and all allied unions operating across all state-owned tertiary institutions.
Ogie noted, “By this notice, academic activities are to resume in all state-owned institutions and all cadre of staff are directed to report to their duty posts immediately.
“Students across all state-owned tertiary institutions are expected to resume for lectures as necessary measures have been taken to ensure resumption of academic and non-academic activities.”
He added: “Management of the affected institutions have been mandated to pay all outstanding salaries immediately.
“The management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, is hereby directed to implement a no-work-no-pay policy, declare vacant and advertise the position of any staff that refuses to resume work in line with this directive.”
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) had in 2019 honoured Obaseki as the ‘most education friendly governor nationwide’ citing his roles in improving basic education and teachers’ welfare in the state. Ironically, the union would later embark on strike to protest non-payment or incomplete payment of promotion arrears of teachers by government.
Sadly, over the last six years since his emergence as governor, Obaseki has either sacked the entire staff or closed down all the colleges in the state in the name of ‘renovation’ including the College of Education, Ekiadolor; College of Education, Iguoriakhi (which ought to be at the vanguard of agro-preneurial training and production); College of Education, Afuze; State School of Nursing, among others.
Others not spared by the ‘shutting gravel’ of the ‘wake and shut’ Governor are the Igarra Technical College, Afuze Technical College, Uromi Technical College, and Government Science and Technical College – all have been left to rot without any critical governmental intervention.