ASUU urges Obaseki to release varsity visitation panel report

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University, (AAU) chapter, Ekpoma has called on the visitor to the University and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, to make good his promise to earnestly reposition the state-owned University at Ekpoma by releasing the report of the Prof I.K. Omoruyi-led Special Visitation Panel to the university.

In a joint statement by the chairman, Professor Monday Igbafen and the secretary, Dr Anthony A Aizebioje-Coker in Ekpoma after a congress meeting, they said that they were shocked and in total disbelief that till date, nothing has been heard about the report of the Special Visitation Panel which the government had declared should submit its report in six weeks, having been inaugurated in October 2020.

Igbafen and Aizebioje-Coker noted that the union was extremely worried that there has not been any report even as the Special Visitation Panel’s given deadline for submission of the report had since lapsed.

They recalled that prior to the setting up of the panel, there was a plethora of alleged massive corruption, maladministration, abuse of due-process and assault on regulations and law of the institution, noting that the report was expected to address the above issues.

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The chairman and the secretary explained that the non-release of the report has given way to many interpretations, which forms part of the discomfort of the union.

The unionists who reminded that the University of Lagos and Lagos State University had similar experiences expressed sadness over why that of AAU must be a case of no-report, while those of Lagos have since overcome their respective crisis or problem with the swift release of the reports of their panels and the respective governments’ white paper (Federal Government and Lagos State) and actions on the said reports.

They added that their worry and concern come on the heels of mounting rumours that the Visitation Panel report has been hijacked by powerful forces who are hell-bent on covering up the true facts about the situation at the state-owned tertiary institution.

Igbafen and Aizebioje-Coker said: “Just as other concerned major stakeholders in the university, ASUU is greatly perturbed by this development. The governor should immediately attend to the problem.”

The union also raised an alarm of imminent crisis in the administration and management of the university as a result of a delay in kick-starting the processes of the appointment of principal officers for the institution.

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In a letter to the Governing Council, they wrote that the tenure of the present Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo expires on May 12, 2021, while that of the Registrar and Secretary to Council of the University, Mr Chris Adamaigbo and the librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) Jane Aba terminates in April and May this year respectively.

Continuing, they noted that the tenure of the bursar, Mr Lawrence Esene had since lapsed and the process which started some months ago for the appointment of a new bursar is neither aborted nor concluded.

“It is utterly bewildered that less than three months to the expiration of the tenure of the present Vice-Chancellor, there are no visible or concrete indications to suggest that the preliminary processes, including media/newspaper advertisement for the position, for a new Vice-Chancellor for the university has commenced.

“The Governing Council of the University needs to be alerted on the negative consequences inherent in any further delay in kick-starting the processes of the appointment of the Principal Officers of the University whose tenures have expired or are extinguishing, namely the Bursar, the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar and the Librarian.

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There is no gainsaying the fact that the delay could lead to a problematic situation where the whole group of Principal Officers of the University would be on acting capacity, given the fact that an Acting Bursar has already been appointed.”

The Union said it views the present development in the University as a potential source of crisis in the administration and management of the university and a serious anathema in a University with a Governing Council.

According to the unionists, like other universities and in consonance with the tradition and convention, the Governing Council ought to have commenced the process for the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor six months to the expiration of the tenure of the present Vice-Chancellor.

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