A group of concerned lecturers at Lagos State University has called on the national body of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to dissolve the ASUU-LASU chapter executives.
The concerned lecturers, led by 13 professors and past executive members of ASUU-LASU, made the call at a news briefing on Tuesday at its Ojo campus in Lagos.
Spokesman for the concerned lecturers, Prof. Adeleke Fakoya, said the tenure of the present ASUU-LASU executive had lapsed since March 2018 and therefore charged the national body to order fresh election.
The group alleged that the present ASUU-LASU executives were unwilling to conduct fresh election based on false premise that ASUU constitution forbade conduct of election in chapters having crisis.
Fakoya said: “The current executive members of the union are continually engaged in acts injurious to ASUU’s global integrity, members morale and the future education in the university.
“Every person who has been to LASU in the last three years sees and knows that what these Exco members call trouble or problem in LASU are indices of growth and development.
“The present and immediate past ASUU-LASU exco members have lost consciousness of the principal goal of the union, which is to promote staff welfare.
“In the last three to six years, their main agenda has been to cause the downfall of members who hold contrary opinion on matters of mutual concern.
“This resulted to the dismissal of the former Chairman, Dr. Isaac Oyewunmi, and his Vice Chairman, Dr. Adeyemi Suenu.”
According to the group, it is unacceptable for Oyewunmi to remain Chairman of ASUU-LASU despite the fact that he was properly dismissed by the University Governing Council for gross misconduct in September 2017.
The concerned lecturers said Oyewunmi was dismissed not for union activities but for acts he committed in 2012, about four years before becoming ASUU-LASU chairman.
They noted that it was shameful for the “remnant” of the present ASUU-LASU executive members to persistently bring up his dismissal to create chaos and distraction in the university.
Fakoya said: “The present ASUU-LASU executive have used the excuse of Oyewunmi’s dismissal to perpetuate fraud, deceit and illegality.
“Investigation into the management of ASUU -LASU bank account revealed that dismissed Oyewunmi was a principal signatory to the account until January 15, 2018 congress when the concerned lecturers vehemently kicked against the criminal act.”
They alleged that over 700 academic staff paid an average of N4,000 each monthly, saying the present and immediate past ASUU-LASU executives must account for about N168 million.
The lecturers also complained that attendance of members at ASUU-LASU congress in the last three years had dropped significantly.
They said: “With a membership of over 700, hardly do we have as many as 50 members at any meeting.
“Sometimes, we have as few as 20 members to take critical decisions on behalf of 700.
“Members disinterest in the meetings called by the present and immediate executive members is as a result of the caustic disposition of these exco members, as contained in their unbecoming utterances, uncouth publication and extremely ill mannered behaviour.”
The lecturers further said with the present executive’s habitual disrespect and disdain for constituted authorities in the university, the union could never harvest any benefit from within or outside the university.
They pleaded with the ASUU national executive to urgently visit the university to frankly and objectively address certain salient matters that could cause disintegration of the branch as witnessed in some other universities.
Fakoya said: “Our national body is the only body we recognise as truly upholding the dream of the average Nigerian as far as education is concerned and we solely stand by the national body on account of excellent leadership .
“We love our union and are committed to its unity, vitality and effectiveness, so much that we will like to see a quick healing of the union.”
Reacting, Dr. Tony Dansu, ASUU-LASU Secretary, described the allegations as trumped up charges against the present executives.
He explained that ASUU-LASU, just like any other chapter, would not have control over the finances of the union.
Dansu said ASUU national was in control of the finances of the chapter and auditing its account on quarterly basis, while the reports had always been presented during various congresses .
He said: “I would not know where the misappropriated sum of N168 million is coming from.
“Those who say so know that the union will not have such money at any point in time.
“The record of how money is spent is available in the union’s secretariat and so this is a serious lie against the executive.
“If anything is questionable, the ASUU national auditors would have queried us and we will have been disenfranchised from attending NEC meeting, but for five years now, we have consistently attended NEC meetings.”
Dansu said check-off dues paid by individual lecturers varied according to their level and only those on the professorial cadre paid about N4,000 as alleged.
He said: “While 61 percent of the revenue was remitted to ASUU national monthly, ASUU-LASU run the chapter with only 39 per cent of the revenue.
“Out of this, a certain percentage is earmarked for the welfare account, payment of four staff working in the secretariat, traveling expenses of executive members, among other expenses.”
Dansu alleged that the university administration was behind the pranks by the concerned lecturers due to the union’s challenge of the purported dismissal of its Chairman, Vice-Chairman and some misappropriation and impunities in the university system.
He said the union at the chapter, zonal and national levels had continued to recognise Oyewunmi and Suenu as its chairman and vice-chairman because it believed they were dismissed due to union activism and an attempt targeted at weakening the union.
The union leader said the present executive remained in office in accordance with ASUU constitution, which allows an executive to remain in office once there is crisis in a chapter as applicable to the university current situation.
Dr. Oluwakemi Aboderin-Sonibare, ASUU-LASU Treasurer, said the union was generating above N900,000 monthly and after which 61 per cent was remitted to the national and other expenses catered for, hence there was no way N168 million could have been misappropriated in five years.