THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, weekend, described the Federal Government as an entity that lacked integrity and should not be trusted.
It also described the government as slave merchant, which only listened to and implement destructive policy recommendations of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and World Bank against the larger interest of Nigerians.
This came as Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, weekend, said the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, as the payment platform for university workers was unsuitable for the university system.
It would be recalled that ASUU declared a month warning strike last Monday to press government to implement the agreement the union had with it and withdraw the IPPIS payment platform and replace it with the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS.
Chairman of the union at the University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Akinwole, who stated this in a reaction to claims by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, that he was looking for ASUU to resolve the issues before he heard that ASUU had declared strike.
He said: “The Federal Government lacks integrity. It is sad. The government cannot be trusted any longer. We have been on the same salary for 13 years and it is even shameful to show anyone your pay slip.
‘’When compared to the work we do, we have sacrificed for Nigeria to the detriment of our well-being and this is already dampening morale of our people.
“The Federal Government should sign the renegotiated agreement, implement it, roll out UTAS, pay unpaid earned academic allowances and commit more funds into the revitalisation of universities.”
Akinwole, however, urged parents to impress it on government to sign the new welfare package for ASUU members.
“If we fail to fight for our rights, the slave merchants in government will continue to trade with our future and future of the children of the masses,” he said.
Vows to liberate its members with new decent salary, working conditions
Akinwole maintained that poor policy formulation and implementation in the education sector had been making government to treat lecturers like slaves, warning that the union would battle the slave merchant and liberate lecturers in Nigeria by getting better conditions of service, including salaries, allowances as well as preferred conductive working and learning environments for students.
According to him, the Federal Government and those put in charge of education ministry have displayed total incompetence and nonchalant attitudes to what mattered to Nigerians.
He said it was total falsehood for anyone in Nigeria to claim not to have heard or read series of ASUU warnings on the pages of newspapers at least one month before the union resolved to proceed on one-month warning strike.
Akinwole said due to the stress arising from failure of Federal Government to recruit more staff, ASUU had lost many of its members to death, while others had simply moved out of the country in search of greener pastures.
JAMB boss supports ASUU on IPPIS, proliferation of varsities
Meanwhile, the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, has said the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, as the payment platform for university workers is unsuitable for the university system.
Oloyede, who is former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, UNILORIN, said necessary pressure must, therefore, be put on the Federal Government to jettison the IPPIS payment platform.
He spoke while delivering a lecture to mark the 71st birthday of Professor Peter Okebukola, former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, which held via Zoom.
Speaking on the lecture entitled, “Synchronising cacophony: Interrogating some issues of concepts and perception in the Nigerian higher education topology,” Oloyede said: “I am not a fan of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, but they have a point here.
‘’IPPIS is unsuitable for the university system. Let me cite an instance. When I was the VC at the University of Ilorin, I went to Australia on an official assignment and there I met a Nigerian with Ph.D in an area of Botany where we lacked the manpower.
“I spoke with the man and convinced him of the need to work with us and he agreed. Immediately, I put a call to the Dean of the Faculty of Science and told him about the development and that was how we secured the services of the man. He is now a professor in one of the nation’s universities.
“Also, we must be careful of the number of universities we are having, especially the ones being set up by government agencies and the military. We already have the Nigerian Defence Academy, which trains officers for all the arms of the military. We also have the police academy that trains police officers, it can also help in training para-military men too.
We may soon have university of road safety
“In that regards, we don’t need more than one or two. If care is not taken, we will soon have university of road safety or university of civil defence. Adequately funding existing universities should be our focus.”
“ASUU, which is currently on a four-week strike, is also complaining about IPPIS and the indiscriminate establishment of universities by federal and state governments among other issues.”
On cut-off marks for candidates seeking admission
Oloyede, who also spoke on the issue of cut off marks for candidates seeking admission into higher institutions, said he had been asked in a number of international fora whether anybody whose score falls into that category would be automatically admitted.
He explained that in some situations, candidates might score high marks in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Education, UTME, and fail to do well in post-UTME exams and screening and vice versa.
He, therefore, suggested that cut-off marks could be replaced with minimum acceptable score.
Changes in education sector
On some of the changes needed in the education sector, he called for the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Higher Education Research and Innovation to take care of research institutes now under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
On the supervisory roles of agencies like the NUC, the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE and the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, Oloyede called for a change in the current arrangements.
He opined that the NUC could be renamed the National Research and Universities Commission that would have the responsibility of research coordination and regulatory powers.
Oloyede also noted that teachers in the country were poorly paid, adding that only proper compensation would bring out the best in them.
One of the participants and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, said a committee should be set up to look into the suggestions by Oloyede.
He described Okebukola and Oloyede as great minds who had made indelible marks in academic circles.
The Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, LASU, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, described Okebukola as a visionary with uncommon ability to imagine the future.
Okebukola, who said he was humbled by the encomiums poured on him, thanked Prof. Banjo and others for positive impact on his life