Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter has condemned the mass retrenchment of staff of the four state-owned tertiary institutions in the State thereby calling for the immediate reversal of this retrenchment by governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The party, in a statement signed by its state chairman and secretary, Mr. Alfred Adegoke and Kola Ibrahim respectively also called for an end to what it described as ruinous policy of restructuring of tertiary institutions in the state.
It would be recalled that hundreds of the academic and non-academic staffs of the four tertiary institutions in Osun State (Osun State College of Education (OSCOED), Ilesa; Osun State Polytechnic (OSPOLY), Ire; Osun State College of Education (OSSCE), Ila-Orangun, and Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH), Esa-Oke) were sacked by managements of these institutions.
The statement reads: “Evidently, many more staffs are being listed for retrenchment by the government. If this policy is not nipped in the bud by workers, students and communities, it will set the background for massive retrenchment of workers across the board, and lead to destruction of tertiary education in the state.
“This policy will also add to the already unbearable and pervasive high unemployment, poverty and suffering of working people. This is why we in the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), call on working people, students and communities to begin massive mobilization against this round of anti-people retrenchment policy of the government.
“We find the arguments of the management officials of the four tertiary institutions on the retrenchment untenable. The excuse that those sacked have no requisite qualification cannot be justified. Why is it now that government is planning to merge these institutions that the managements of these institutions realized that the staffs have no qualification. It is a fact that the so-called restructuring of these institutions as being planned and executed by the government would automatically lead to mass redundancy of staff.
“Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the mass retrenchment of workers is part and parcel of the government’s onslaught on tertiary education, as being implemented by the managements of these institutions.
“We also consider the so-called intervention of the Osun State House of Assembly as mere smokescreen. It was the same House that justified on several occasions merger and restructuring of the four tertiary institutions, which central aim is redundancy of staff, courses and departments.
“The House of Assembly is only trying to provide a soft-landing for government, knowing the expected political backlash this obnoxious policy will generate. It is therefore not accidental that the House within three days changed its position from reversal of the mass sack to reviewing the qualification of the sacked workers.
“We call on staff unions of the tertiary institutions including the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Union of tertiary institutions and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), communities, students’ movement and the labour movement in the state to mobilize their members for mass actions to reject the retrenchment and the merger policy.
“These mass actions must include protest marches, rallies, press campaign, leafleting, strike action, lecture boycotts and pickets of government offices. Without this, the Aregbesola government will further drive down more anti-poor policies on the working and poor people.”
The party pointed out that for the past seven years, including Aregbesola’s five years, there has not been any new project by the state government in any of the four tertiary institutions, saying that the only solution the present government could provide was the sack of staffs.
“Without doubt, this mass retrenchment of workers is aimed at crippling the fighting spirit of lecturers in the four tertiary institutions, who have fought for several years in defence of their living conditions. It is also meant to send jitters to the spines of workers generally, and scare them away from struggle.
“A serious government is expected to commit itself to expanding social infrastructures including education and health care; and not denying young people of quality education.
“We in the SPN believe that there are enough resources in the state and nationally to provide quality and free education at all levels to all citizens,” they insisted.