The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, University of Lagos chapter has described the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in the institution, Dele Ashiru, as “hypocritical, insensitive and lacking in logical reasoning”.
SSANU was reacting to a media statement credited to Ashiru, in which the ASUU Chairman castigated the Registrar, Oladejo Azeez, for sending internal memos to principal officers of the institution as instructed by the council.
In a statement issued on Monday night, the association cautioned Ashiru “against the propensity of youthful exuberance and overzealous tongue and pen-lashing of respectable positions and personalities in the process of protecting members of his union and expressing his views”.
SSANU said it was aware of the “face-off” between the management and the university’s council, describing it as the eventual culmination of the Pro-chancellor and Council Chairman, Dr. Wale Babalakin’s “dissatisfaction with management’s handling of the institution’s accounts, precisely, the institution’s income and expenditure, as well as the appropriateness of fiscal procedural matters”.
Explaining that the face-off bothered on the suspicion that the university’s Internally Generated Revenue, probably the highest in Nigeria, does not match up to 60 per cent of the expected staff welfare and projects on ground, SSANU said: “This is the type of system the staff and unions (academic and non-academic) have imaginatively and accurately viewed as supporting a set of cabal on and out of campus at the expense of proper reward and remuneration of majority of the workers.
“The face-off has led to an open sore, which has degenerated to muscle flexing between Management and Council, with the University Registrar hanging between the devil and the deep blue sea as he is Management’s Chief Administrator as well as the Council’s Secretary. In the absence of the Council, he has to be loyal to the Management of the University. However, immediately Council is involved in an issue, his official loyalty automatically shifts to the Council, which is headed by the Council Chairman.
“Again, the issue is systemic and not to be personalised. The Registrar has to be seen as being officially and naturally going along the path of ‘THE THEORY OF PLAYING POSITION’. He has played the role of the position in which he found himself. It is, therefore, hypocritical and insensitive, as well as a demonstration of lack of logical reasoning for the ASUU Chairman to have castigated the Registrar so nauseatingly.
“The ASUU Chairman has to be reminded that by tongue-lashing the Registrar, he has indirectly bitten the fingers that fed him as his admission letter as a student was issued under the official auspices of the Registrar’s office. His appointment letter, which, like that of every staff, most probably opened with, ‘YOU ARE HEREBY APPOINTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS’, bears the revered implication of reference to the Registrar. Also, anytime he is promoted, the emblem of the office of the Registrar will be indicated. This means that whoever occupies the position of Registrar, MUST be respected logically, officially and personally. It is the system that confers that particular degree of reverence on the Registrar of all higher institutions.”
Urging the management and the council to resolve their differences, SSANU said: “The management should conscientiously measure the attitude of past vice-chancellors to issues of timely promotion of staff, general welfare of students and workers, as well as execution of projects, all of which most workers have deemed to be of very low status compared to the income of the university, a situation that has caused silent but flaming psychological angst against past administrations. Where there are needs for amendments, the present management should do this.”
It drew the council chairman’s attention to the fact that the poor handling of the institution’s accounts predated the current management and called for an overhaul of the system.