Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
Members of the Non-Academic Staff Union and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife branch, Thursday, held a special demonstration to mark exit of the out-going Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Bamitale Omole.
Omole, whose tenure is expected to complete his five-year single term on Friday, has been having a running battle with workers of the university over nonpayment of their allowances for several years, and alleged imposition of new Vice Chancellor, Professor Ayobami Salami.
The protesters, who paraded the university campus with casket with inscription ‘Tale Omole RIP’ also fried bean cake in mockery of his exit from the university.
The protesting workers, who wore white clothes, stated that their choice of white was to show that they were not mourning but rejoicing the exit of Omole.
Speaking during the protest, Chairman of SSANU-OAU, Comrade Ademola Oketunde, appealed to President Muhammed Buhari to intervene in the crisis rocking the institution.
He also called on the federal government to investigate the alleged injustice in the university.
According to him, “we are full of joy that after being in bondage over the past five years, Omole is going. We have to celebrate his exit and pray not to have a Vice Chancellor like him again.
“We have lost confidence in both the University management and the Governing Council. We call on President Muhammed Buhari to intervene by appointing an acting Vice Chancellor.
“Federal government should set up an investigative panel that is not biased and also extend the war against corruption to OAU”, he said.
Oketunde faulted the decision of the University management to shut the institution indefinitely, saying, “shutting down the university shows that the school management is guilty of our allegations. It shows that they have done a wrong thing.”
Also speaking, Chairman of of NASU-OAU, Comrade Wole Odewunmi, maintained that the union would not dialogue on matters relating to the appointment of a new VC.
“Dialogue on a crooked way of appointing a new VC? No, we won’t”, he said adding that “the appointment of Salami is not accepted by my union. We want the university authority to follow due process and not bring in someone through the back doors. The federal government should come in right now and appoint an acting VC for OAU for peace to reign.”
It would be recalled that members of the Staff Unions had embarked on protest and strike action since June 6 saying that the protest and strike action would enable the university authorities accede to their demands.
Among their demands are: cancellation of the appointment of the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ayobami Salami; payment of earned allowances and probing of the outgoing VC of the OAU, Prof. Bamitale Omole.