Ignore threat by ASUU to disrupt Governing Council meeting — UNILAG | Dailytrust

Ignore threat by ASUU to disrupt Governing Council meeting — UNILAG

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of University of Lagos (UNILAG) Governing Council, Dr. Bolanle Olawale Babalakin has urged Nigerians to discountenance threat by the leadership of the University’ chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to disrupt the forthcoming governing council’s meeting.

Babalakin in a statement signed by the registrar and secretary to Council, Oladejo Azeez said his attention was drawn to the notice of congress by the University’s chapter of ASUU, scheduled for July 15, 2020 at the Foyer of the Council Chambers; whereas, the Governing Council had earlier issued a notice for council meeting commencing on the same July 15, 2020.

According to him, the council meeting, apart from being statutory was also requisitioned by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe.

The chairman of UNILAG ASUU, Dr. Dele Ashiru had earlier in a statement threatened a showdown with the Pro-Chancellor if he shows up on campus; stating that Babalakin would be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order his presence would cause on the campus.

Ashiru said the union had mobilised to oppose the council meeting being called by Babalakin on the campus. “The attention of our union has been drawn to a surreptitious Council meeting summoned by Dr. Wale Babalakin. He should be advised to rethink his intention of entering the University of Lagos campus as his presence may rupture the long cherished peace and tranquillity on our campus

“He should also be held squarely responsible for any breakdown of law and order which his presence on our campus may create as all our members in the University have been fully mobilised and put on alert,” he reiterated.

The time and topic of ASUU Congress, according to Babalakin clearly indicates its plan to disrupt the Council meeting, especially since it has issued several threats to prevent the Pro-Chancellor from coming to the University.

“This action is violently against the provision of Section 41, subsection 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) (Fourth Alteration), which guarantees freedom of movement of Nigerians within Nigeria. ASUU as a trade union under the laws of Nigeria is also expected to know that Section 4 of the Trade Union Act states that ‘No person shall subject any other person to any form of constraint or restriction in the course of persuasion’,”

“Obviously, ASUU, University of Lagos Chapter has shown clearly that it is a group that does not adhere to the Constitution of Nigeria or the Trade Union law which it is a part of. As a responsible Council, we will not engage the union on issues that are beyond its duties, powers and responsibilities under the laws of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

Leadership and union crises

UNILAG has been enmeshed in leadership and union crises.

ASUU had in March, 2020 passed a vote of no confidence on Babalakin, saying he was a persona non grata on the campus while Ashiru maintained that the vote of no confidence passed on Babalakin on account of his alleged cancellation of the University’s convocation ceremonies has not been vacated by the Congress of ASUU.

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) in May, 2019 however criticised ASUU for being insincere; lamenting that the institution’s finances were being run by a cabal and Babalakin should overhaul the system.

A Professor of Sociology at UNILAG, Lai Olurode has appealed to ASUU to create an environment for dialogue to prevail in the institution no matter how strong it feels about a matter.

“On matters between administration and Council, ASUU should desist from assuming naively that it has monopoly of opinion or that it is speaking the mind of all. Moral and ethical issues are complex and not cheaply resolved by the mentality of the crowd.

“Let’s all construct a formidable consensus in resolving our differences. In any case, if ASUU has feeble powers to prevent Babalakin’s virtual access into Unilag, there is separation of powers in our universities. Let each organ perform its role without let or hindrance,” he said.

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