Splinter ASUU group emerges as CONUA to end incessant university strikes

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A group of university lecturers have formed the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) as against the existing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

They intend formulating a new approach of engagement in addressing the welfare of its members and to end the unnecessary waste of students’ academic time due to frequent strikes.

Addressing journalists after the group’s first national stakeholders’ forum at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, the national coordinator, Niyi Ismaheel, also said they left ASUU to redefine unionism and to restore stability in Nigerian universities.

The union, which started in OAU, has membership at Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma; Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE); Federal University, Lokoja (FUL); and Kwara State University (KWASU), Molete.

He stressed the need for interface between teachers at the ordinary level and academics at the higher institutions of learning to improve quality of students admitted into the university system.

According to him, the union cannot keep doing things in the old ways and expect new results; hence the need to develop alternative ideas to brainstorm with other stakeholders for stability in the university system and return the sector to the good old days.

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“For standard of education to be very high, we need a stable academic calendar. We need to be able to predict the academic session, have innovations that are difficult without continuity, and be attuned to modern realities.

“Our union would approach the matter of engagement with all stakeholders in an engaging manner to have a common ground for moving forward,” he said.

Noting that union was not anti-government, Ismaheel said it would not hesitate to criticise when things go wrong.

“We have been at this for over three years in Ife. We have been waxing stronger and members from other universities have been experiencing what we experience here; hence the decision to come together to form a national union,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has confirmed CONUA’s application for registration.

Ngige, who confirmed this to journalists yesterday in Abuja, said the new union had submitted application for recognition at the ministry.

The minister noted that a committee had been appointed to look into the application.

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