Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
Members of Non Academic Staff Union/Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (NASU/SSANU) of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife have vowed to stop the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ayobami Salam from resuming office on Friday.
The university authorities however threatened not to pay the salaries of the protesting workers if they fail to report to their duty posts.
The workers had since June 6 embarked on strike action to protest against non-payment of their allowances and the alleged imposition of the new VC stressing that they will continue with their protest till July 6, 2016, when another court hearing would hold.
The protesting workers who appeared in red and black dresses during the protest on Tuesday were seen playing anti-oppression music.
The protest, it was learnt became intensified when the University’s Governing Council announced Prof. Ayobami Salam as the new VC.
Though the counsel to the university denied the appointment of a new VC at the Osun State High Court hearing last Friday afternoon, but the Governing Council on Saturday officially announced Salami.
The announcement made on the university’s website read, “The Governing Council, at its Special meeting held on June 6, 2016, considered the report of the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board for the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor for the University and decided to appoint Professor Ayobami Taofeek Salami as the eleventh Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife, for a term of five years with effect from June 24, 2015.”
The Chairman of NASU Comrade Wole Odewunmi, stated that “The University Governing Council should keep committing illegality. On July 6, we would know if they actually received a court injunction or not.
“We will keep picketing the Senate building. Immediately it is 10am, we will assemble at motion ground to continue picketing, that is not more like a protest, it is picketing.”
The university authority in a directive signed by the Registrar, Dotun Awoyemi dated June 20, read, “The university has viewed with grave concern the continued absence of some members of staff of SSANU and NASU and allied institutions from their duty post without and declaration of trade dispute since June 7, 2016.
“The University Administration hereby directs all such members of staff to immediately report to their respective duty posts; otherwise; the University Administration may not be in a better to guarantee the payment of June 2016 salaries to this categories of workers.”
Also, the students of the institution under the aegis of Education Right Campaign (ERC) urged members of NASU/SSANU to be united against the university authorities.
According to the communiqué signed by the Secretary of ERC, OAU branch, Omole Ibukun, read: “Recommendations were made as regards necessary unity. The need for a joint congress of all unions was also emphasised, to iron out the grey areas in our struggles, air every justifiable grouse and grudge and achieve the much-needed unity.
“It was also added that the ERC stands for electoral democratisation of the university management and the decision making organs of all institution in the education, to include students, staff, parents and other members of the community.”