The management of Obafemi Awolowo University has said there is no preparation yet to recall back students for resumption of academic activities.
It could be recalled that OAU management had urged the general public, particularly the students, their parents and guardians, to ignore the purported strike action by the ASUU, stating that other faction of the academic staff, CONUA have the interest of the students at heart and would continue lecturing on campus
But the institution later embarked on a mid-semester break blaming the development on the persistent industrial actions embarked upon by various university unions including SSANU AND NASU.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY GIST, The university registrar, Mrs Margaret idowu Omosule said although the university has two factions of academic staff, noting that calling students to resume for academic activities will lead to paralysis in academic activities while ASUU strike is still on.
The registrar however stated while she hopes one of the two warring party (FG and ASUU) shift ground, the university will communicate to students through a release if there is any development on resumption of academic activities.
The spokesperson for the university, Mr Abiodun Olarenwaju also told DAILY GIST that there is currently no arrangement for resumption of academic activities yet, he however noted that the university was not shut.
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.
ASUU-OAU before the commencement of nationwide strike by its national body had embarked on an indefinite strike over what they described as the refusal of the institution’s management to pay their earned academic allowance.
They accused the Eyitope Ogunbodede-led management of unnecessarily delaying the payment of the allowance which they claimed had since been remitted into the university’s account by the Nigerian government since December 13, 2021.
But the leadership of Congress of Nigerian University Academics, CONUA said it is not part of the ongoing strike by ASUU led by Mr Osodeke.
CONUA through its National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu noted that its members continued to work at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, until other workers’ unions declared industrial action.
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.
The university’s chapter of ASUU is also at loggerheads with a breakaway faction under the umbrella of the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), and Mr Osodeke was fingered as one of the major protagonists in the crisis.
The leadership of CONUA on the campus has consistently accused Mr Osodeke of being a major culprit in the leadership crisis that rocked the union on the campus, which it said forced some members to form a parallel union in 2018.
CONUA was founded after the expulsion of some ASUU members of the union on the campus over leadership crisis.
Mr Osodeke, before becoming the union’s president, headed a committee set up by the national leadership of ASUU to investigate the crisis rocking the OAU branch at the time.
The crisis had been traced to the selection process of the university’s 11th substantive vice-chancellor in 2016, with members accusing the then leadership of ASUU on the campus of tilting its scale towards a particular candidate.
The crisis had also consumed the then outgoing and 10th substantive vice-chancellor of the university, Bamitale Omole, who was molested by the non-academic staff union members on the campus and chased out of the institution. Mr Omole was unable to successfully complete his term.
Some ASUU members had accused Mr Osodeke of submitting to the union leadership a report “that was completely against the facts on ground.”
“Osodeke in fact is a fundamental factor in the OAU crisis,” said Niyi Sunmonu, National Coordinator of CONUA.
But Mr Osodeke has constantly denied this, and accused the aggrieved members of wanting him to “ignore the facts of the matter then, but to write a report that favoured them.”