If government doesn't put things in order, we might be looking at a really long strike here.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared that it will resist all attempts to increase tuition fees in public universities.
This declaration was made by the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, adding that they would go on strike if government failed to meet their funding demands.
Mr. Biodun told Premium Times:
“We will not tolerate any attempt to increase tuition fee, we are against telling people to pay more, even the current fees, we are still fighting them, we as a body have always stood against fee increment and we will continue to stand against it.”
A strike might be coming.
He went on:
“The truth is there are lots of issues rocking the system. We have made our position known to the federal government; we have also written to state governments who have refused to give subvention to their universities.”
“Some of them cannot sustain one university and they go on to establish two or three, compounding the issues.
“We have given the government till June ending to attend to our needs, if the government does not call us by June ending we will convey a meeting to take our position."
And the Elephant in the room…LAUTECH.
“We have issues like this, a case where lecturers are not paid for months will no longer be tolerated. The truth is that this and many more make up our demands, we have written to all state governors too and we want to engage stakeholders in this issue, that is why whatever happens in July will be very comprehensive.”
On the other end of the ring…
The Oyo State Commissioner of Education, Adeniyi Olowofela, said the two state governments want LAUTECH opened as quickly as possible.
The problem at the moment, is the audit one. The Commissioner believes the auditors hired, KPMG, aren't getting enough cooperation from the school management.
“The truth is when the auditors were to come in, we gave them three weeks to complete the audit, the three weeks should have elapsed but the auditors did not have enough documents to work with.”
“As we speak now, the allocation that lately came from the federal government, everything was used to pay workers’ salary in the civil service.”
“The Oyo state government also just paid N144 million to LAUTECH as subvention, we are committed to the reopening, we did that. ”
ASUU's position doesn't seem to be going down well with government.
Mr. Olowofela said:
“What we asked of ASUU is just cooperation for three weeks, there is a difference between three weeks and eight months, we cannot obey the position of ASUU.
“Really, the government only needs three weeks of the time for audit, we need to know what we really need in the university; when the audit is done, we know the needs and move on from there.”
And on the school's reopening;
Mr. Olowofela said:
“We need everyone to appeal to ASUU so we can carry out what we need to, ASUU should not be the proponent of saying that the audit should not take place, they should understand that these are hard periods, these things ought to have been completed and all issues solved.”
It is hoped that the LAUTECH problem will be resolved as quickly as possible. Students of LAUTECH have been on the same level since 2015.
That honestly feels like a lifetime away.