Ibrahim Alao examines the internal crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Lagos State University (LASU) and school’s management.
“When light shines on murkiness, those exposed by the stinging rays often berate the light rather than regret the muck. More so, a man who has done no wrong surely has no reason to wail over spilled milk or blackmail innocent people”.
Many at times in Nigeria, our collective albeit dangerous silence towards pressing national issues is culpable for our constant struggle for development as a nation. Recent events at the Lagos State University call for critical analysis and fairness on the university stakeholders. Based on ongoing reports, it is evident that some Excos of the Academic Staff Union at the Lagos State University in connivance with its zonal and national body are bent on whipping up sentiments and creating unnecessary tension at the state university. LASU is still trying to put behind years of devastating crisis while once again working vigorously hard to emerge as a university to reckon with in Africa.
For those who may be at sea, ASUU has been waging a lone and lonely war against the University Management led by Professor Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun following the rightful dismissal of over 11Lecturers for various misconduct. Among these dismissed lecturers are the erstwhile Chairman and Vice Chairman of ASUU – LASU, Drs : Oyewunmi and Adebowale Suenu. Oyewunmi held back the destiny of a student for over five years. The student’s only offence was his failure to bribe Dr Oyewunmi with #50,000 for the processing of his results. For Dr Suenu, whom prior to his dismissal was the Acting Head of Department of History and International Studies. Dr Suenu was dismissed for unilaterally altering the results of over 12 students who normally has no business in the university. A colleague of mine who is a recent graduate of that department substantiated the allegations against Dr Suenu.
He (Suenu) is said to have been illegally upgrading the results of withdrawn and extra year students even a year before he was finally caught in the act. What ASUU is also not telling the world is that : Dr Suenu was not the only one that was dismissed for this particular offense(illegal alteration/upgrade of results). Dr Ademeso who was once the H.O.D of Theatre Arts and Music was dismissed for a similar offence. In fact, other Lecturers at the Faculty of Education(Dr Olugbenro Odofin) and Faculty of Management Sciences(Dr Scholarstica Udegbe) were also dismissed for the same offense.
Interestingly, it was the Immediate Past Chairman of ASUU ( Dr Adekunle Idris)while acting as a whistleblower who reported the case of alterations in his Faculty to the university vice chancellor through a text message. The university vice chancellor ordered a forensic audit on the online portal being used by all Heads of Departments for uploading/upgrading of results – in the course of which different culpable names came up including Dr Suenu. Thus,the fact that ASUU is busy crying on the pages of newspapers that their Vice Chairman was dismissed for being a Unionist is a billion miles away from the truth. A mere investigative visit to the Department of History and International Studies in LASU will bring on board facts from staff and students of the department who will tell you how notorious Dr Suenu was in the act of alteration for cash.
In fact, one of the ASUU- LASU stalwarts – Mr Oyekan Adeolu(the Assistant General Secretary of the Union) has a track record of sexually molesting female students in his office. This explains why these corrupt and morally bankrupt individuals use the platform of ASUU to veil their evil deeds and present themselves to the society as activists and saints unfortunately pseudo ones.
To buy time and keep the fire of blackmail and falsehood burning, ASUU has challenged the dismissal of their erstwhile colleagues in court.
Even though ASUU challenged the dismissal of only two of their former members(out of the dismissed 15 as if the rest did not pay union dues), one would have thought the sleeping dog would lie peacefully till when the Judgement is delivered. However, just some days ago, a group of 4-5 individuals parading themselves as ASUU – LASU excos inundated the media with series of false allegations against the university management all in a bid to whip up public sentiments and misinform unsuspecting members of the public . In one of their claims, ASUU accused the University Vice Chancellor of not advertising the vacant positions of Principal Officers in LASU.This is totally false. About 3-4 weeks ago, there was an advert on the university official bulletin and of course on national newspapers about these vacant positions and how interested applicants should go about it. Or did ASUU stopped reading the news for a while or are they just purposely bent on telling lies?
There were also other numerous baseless and false accusations including the election of a Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) even when the current occupant of that post was elected last year. Hence, how come ASUU is accusing the University Vice Chancellor of not conducting election into an Office that has already been filled up since last year?
ASUU – LASU’s constant promotion of falsehood against the University Vice Chancellor – Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun only exposes them the more as a body that lacks integrity,credibility and the moral rights to hold anyone accountable. The national body of ASUU has also failed to hold its constituents to high moral standards. Instead, it has sadly shielded and even sponsored the devilish overtures of its ‘brothers-in-crime” in LASU.
For Nigeria to move forward, we must hold Lecturers in our universities accountable. Without that, we are nowhere near sustainable development as a people.
Ibrahim Alao is a recent M Sc. graduate of the Lagos State University(LASU). He writes from Ibadan