Afe Babalola, the Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) has accused that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of obstructing the reopening of universities in Nigeria.
Babalola expressed displeasure over the Federal Government’s decision on non-resumption of final year students of tertiary institutions like those in Primary Six, JSSIII and SSSIII, attributing the decision to the likely objection from the “Almighty” ASUU.
The legal icon, in a statement made available to journalists on Monday in Ado-Ekiti by Tunde Olofintila, Head, Corporate Affairs, said the government’s directives should have been excluded private universities from the directives.
“I was not disappointed on the non-resumption of final year students of tertiary institutions, because I knew the reason why the government left out the final year students of University. And I believe the Federal Government was aware that if it directed final year students of public universities to resume, the almighty ASUU would object and in this case, ASUU has objected.
Drawing from his seven-year experience as Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Babalola said about the “Almightiness” of ASUU: “Before I took over as Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, even Council meetings could not take place unless ASUU and other Unions had been appeased or else such Council meetings would not be allowed to hold. It was a serious matter at that time, but I successfully managed that”.
Delving into how he got the news of return of final year Primary pupils, JSS III and SSS III students to school, the legal giant said: “Interestingly, it was a parent who alerted me that the Federal Government has directed final year students in secondary schools to resume and take their final year examinations. He told me that he was shocked and disappointed that the final year students in Universities were left out”.
The former Pro-Chancellor, University of Lagos tasked the Federal Government to, as matter of urgency, insulate private universities from the public ones, saying that “the future of this country in terms of functional and quality education lies with private universities.
“Most private universities are reputed for their moral and physical discipline, quality and functional education, hygienic and safe environment, predictable academic calendar, absence of trade unionism, committed teachers, modern teaching equipment and laboratories, and adequate preparation to prevent COVID-19.
“Indeed, no private university teacher would object to resumption of schools. Already, in the private universities of Nigeria, an Ivy League similar to that in America is emerging, to me, the top ranking private universities should be the mirror or the template for resumption of students because of the hygienic, safe environment and the undoubted discipline amongst students and teachers,” he said.