The leadership of both academic staff, the Union of Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU) and the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) have renewed their disputes and differences, accusing each other of wrongdoing.
This is coming following the invasion of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) by traditionalists in Ife who were protesting against the emergence of the new vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Adebayo Bamire
ASUU National President Emmanuel Osodeke, reacting to the controversies that followed the recent announcement of Adebayo Bamire, a professor of agriculture, as vice-chancellor designate of the university, blamed outgoing vice-chancellor Eyitope Ogunbodede for supporting CONUA. in his antagonism against ASUU on campus.
Mr. Osodeke argued that CONUA defended and supported Mr. Ogunbodede’s appointment and that, since his appointment, he has consistently worked against the interests of ASUU.
He said that CONUA is an unregistered union that managed to present Mr. Ogunbodede as deputy foreign minister through “illegal means”.
But Mr. Ogunbodede has always said that he belonged to ASUU and not to CONUA, saying that his discount dues are paid to ASUU and not to CONUA.
But Mr. Osodeke would not believe the Vice Chancellor’s claim, saying, “How did the outgoing VC, Eyitope Ogunbodede, become the VC? A selection was made and someone was selected and non-academic staff, villagers and others began to riot, and that person was removed, paving the way for Ogunbodede to enter. When he became the VC through the help of CONUA, he began to promote CONUA, an illegal group with no registration in the Trade Union Congress”. Mr Osodeke said.
The pioneering president of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), Niyi Sunmonu CONUA’s response
In response, CONUA’s national coordinator, ‘Niyi Sunmonu, said that the ASUU president was “pronouncing lies”.
He accused Mr. Osodeke of dragging CONUA into a matter that does not concern him.
In a statement obtained, Sunmonu said that contrary to Osodeke’s claim that CONUA helped Ogunbodede become vice foreign minister, CONUA did not exist when he became vice foreign minister in 2017.
He said: “He (Mr. Osodeke) said that CONUA helped Professor Ogunbodede become vice-chancellor in 2017. In fact, CONUA did not exist at OAU until 2018 after the expulsion and suspension of around 900 academic members of OAU. of ASUU by the national executive simply because they stopped their discount dues when the then president of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, single-handedly removed the union’s elected treasurer as a signatory to the union’s bank accounts.”
CONUA accused Mr. Osodeke of playing a role in the crisis that rocked the OAU in 2016, a charge he had previously denied.
CONUA added: “As far as CONUA is concerned, the appointment of the OAU vice-chancellor in 2016 was marred by fraud and ASUU executives in the OAU, with the active collusion of the ASUU citizen and, in particular, of Professor Osodeke himself, they saw nothing wrong. in this.
“Unfortunately, Osodeke has opted for the revisionist part in his narrations, he does not see the collusion of his ASUU brothers in the crisis that engulfed OAU in 2016.
He added: “Instead of condemning the act of collusion shown by ASUU in supporting illegality, it is blaming CONUA for the problems of its union in OAU.”
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Congress of Universities Academic (CONUA) are the two academic unions that operate as parallel bodies with almost similar modus operandi, even though the latter is a breakaway faction of the former.
How CONUA came into existence?
In February 2018, some aggrieved lecturers of ASUU-OAU complained of marginalisation and of being unfairly treatment, a development that resulted in a splinter group that birthed CONUA the following month.
At its inauguration, the National Coordinator of CONUA, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, said the sole purpose of CONUA was to redirect unionism, restore peace and stability in universities in Nigeria and come up with new approaches of engagement in addressing members’ welfare.
CONUA which started in OAU over three years ago has tentacles in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; Federal University, Oye Ekiti; Federal University, Lokoja; and Kwara State University, Malete.