Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
The crisis rocking the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) branch of Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) on Wednesday took a critical dimension as aggrieved lecturers passed a vote of no confidence on the leadership of the zonal chairman of the union, Prof Olufayo Olu-Olu for allegedly blackmailing the ASUU branch of the institution.
Identifying themselves as Forum Concerned Academics (FCA), the academics said they have lost confidence in the Akure Zonal Exco, saying if the situation lingers any longer, they are determined to use “all available conventional avenues to assert their responsibility and defend the image which the zone is determined to destroy.”
The aggrieved team led by Prof Sola Omotola, its chairman, and Dr Wasiu Oyedokun Alli, spokesman, with other members, while addressing newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, distanced themselves from the last press briefing held in Akure, Ondo State last Thursday, adding that they are worried by the silence of the NEC on
the ASUU FUOYE crisis, saying they assume this stems from misinformation by the zone, which they insisted has been compromised.
Reacting, Olufayo denied allegations that he was meddling in FUOYE’s affairs and taking steps that could undermine the university’s management and academic staff. He said that the lecturers lack the locus standi to pass a vote of no confidence on him.
The ASUU zonal boss added that he inherited the struggle to reposition FUOYE from his predecessor and that it would be wrong for his colleagues in the institutions to brand him as an agent of destruction or unnecessarily antagonistic to authorities.
In his words: “We did not mean to cause crisis in the university, but we became confrontational when the VC started victimising those who were fighting for good governance in FUOYE. Two lecturers were sacked and they are now in the court of law. They, however, declared Prof Olu-Olu persona non-grata in FUOYE. They condemned him for his action against FUOYE, saying ‘Enough is Enough’, saying Prof Olu-Olu has refused to conduct election into ASUU position in Ekiti State University, EKSU, where he belongs, because of his seat-tight syndrome and probably [because] he is power drunk in leadership.
“We want to use this medium to call on the NEC ASUU to send in an independent team, that will be completely neutral and objective, to assess our situation,” he stated.
The body debunked the claims by Zonal ASUU on the appointment of professors without PhDs in FUOYE, saying such a thing never happened but the case in question was that of Professor Borokini, who had presented his inaugural lecture in May 2015, became a professor at Benson Idahosa University in 2012, and his current tenure at FUOYE is the third leg of his professorial career.
On the suspension of Omonijo without pay, FUOYE FCA noted that Omonijo had been suspended without pay, and deservedly so. He appeared before an investigative committee of Council where he was asked to do two things, it was revealed.
According to the academics, FUOYE, as nascent but fast-growing university, has a management that deserves commendation for the giant strides it has taken to make the institution leapfrog its contemporaries in many respects.
“They condemned Akure ASUU Zonal Leadership for their self-serving blackmail and destruction of the university in FUOYE, saying this is totally unacceptable to them,” Olufayo stated.
“If the vice Chancellor is sure of himself, let him allow an independent panel from the Federal Ministry of Education to probe all our allegations to lay this lingering crisis to rest.”
On his alleged refusal to step down as ASUU EKSU one year after the expiration of his tenure, Olufayo said:
“They have no right to poke their nose into EKSU’s issue.
“I was to leave last year May, but I had an accident in April and I was hospitalised. I was in the hospital when the ASUU strike began and ended in February. So, how would I hold elections under this circumstance?
“I am not a sit-tight person,” he said. “Very soon, election will be held and my successor will emerge. Let me also say that no blackmail will stop me from fighting for good governance in FUOYE.”