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    Trust issues exist between FG, ASUU – VCs

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    By Hosea Parah

    The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, on Friday, noted the existence of trust issues between the Federal Government and university-based unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities among others.

    Speaking in Abuja during the 60th anniversary of the CVCNU, the Secretary-General of the committee, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, also admonished the government to tackle the issues causing distrust.

    The CVCNU also noted its desire “to see a situation where never again Nigeria will have disengagement of Academic activities and see all issues that drove the process of 2022 strike in Nigerian universities resolved.

    Speaking further, Ochefu said, “We stated right from day one that there is fundamental trust issue between the Federal Government and ASUU, as well as the unions operating in the universities. That trust issue arises from the fact that the FG will agree on issues that have caused the strike and make commitment to pay or deliver certain reports, they commit themselves to resolving issues that have caused the strike, and then they implement that position onto a point and they go to sleep”

    “But we are happy that finally ASUU and the FG have been able to reach some agreement and what we desire is a situation whereby never again Nigeria will have disengagement of academic activities, and fundamental issues that drive the whole process of strike should be sorted out,” Prof. Yakubu added.

    Speaking on the conditional suspension of the strike, he confirmed that the government and ASUU must have reached certain compromise which possibly included clearing of backlog of salaries and payment of stabilisation funds which has been included in the 2023 appropriation bill.

    “That is why ASUU must be saying let us be sure it is conditional, you have said you will clear backlog of salaries in two installments and you commit yourself to a timeline, you commit yourself to address stabilisation fund and it has been included in the project and we have seen it, but what happens is that by 2023 when the budget is been implemented, that aspect of the budget will now take secondary position and ASUU will begin to write letters again and again, that is a situation the CVCNU hopes to never see again,” Prof. Aboki added.

    Speaking on the anniversary celebration of the committee, Ochefu said the core objectives of the founding members at the time of establishing universities in Nigeria were to identify common problems impacting Nigerian Universities at the grass-roots level, make decisions on how to address them, and implement sound leadership practices and educational value in the Nigerian universities.

    “On October 14, 1962, five gentlemen assembled in the Office of Dr Kenneth O. Dike, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, for what we can now say was the inaugural meeting of what came to be known as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities. The other gentlemen were; Professor Norman Alexander, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1962-1966), Dr George Marion Johnson, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1960-1964), Professor Oladele Ajose, University of Ife (1962-1966), Professor Eni Njoku, University of Lagos (1962-1965)”

    “The inaugural meeting discussed how to harmonise the academic calendar between secondary schools and universities, how to improve the number of admissions for students and how to improve funding to the universities.

    ” Three of the five universities were owned by the regional government, two of which opened earlier that year. Ibadan had operated as a University College since 1948, while Nsukka opened its doors to students in October 1960.”

    He also made known that over 554 persons had been vice chancellors and 144 in acting capacity.

    “Of this number, academics from the Faculty of Science have contributed 77 vice chancellors; Social Science 48; Humanities 42; Medicine, and Law, 21.”

    The Nigerian university system has also produced 35 female vice-chancellors with 19 of them currently serving.

    “Some of the oldest surviving former vice-chancellors, who served in the1980’s include Professor Ayo Banjo, Adamu Baike, Shehu Galadanchi, Ango Abdulahi, SJ. Cookey, Buba Bajoga, Umaru Shehu, Jibrin Aminu. From our records, the South-West zone with 177, has produced the highest number of Vice-Chancellors with Ogun State having 40 persons. South-East has produced 129 with Abia having 35. Non-Nigerians, who have served as vice-chancellors number 15.”

    “The association was established as a result of the necessity to unite all VCs, regardless of their ownership. All of Nigeria’s VCs from Federal, State, and private universities are members of the CVC committee.

    The committee permits automatic participation whenever a university is accepted by the Federal Government and awarded a license by the National Universities Commission.”

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