Posted on November 14, 2018
A major crisis has hit the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branch of Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) over allegations against the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kayode Soremekun, by the zonal leadership of the union.
The Akure Zone of ASUU, through its Coordinator, Prof. Olufayo Olu-Olu, recently issued a statement accusing Prof Soremekun of alleged sundry malpractices and insisted the VC be probed.
In the statement signed by Dr Bola Oniya, ASUU, FUTA; Dr Adeola Egbedokun, ASUU, OAU and Dr Akinyemi G. Omonijo, ASUU, FUOYE, the union leaders alleged that there is pension fraud and irregular recruitment in FUOYE among others.
The zonal leadership of ASUU also accused the management of allegedly promoting academic staff without following due process and also failed to remit pension funds of workers in line with the Federal Government’s directive.
But some members of the local chapter of ASUU expressed reservations and faulted the attacks on the Vice Chancellor.
The aggrieved ASUU members led by Dr A. Akinsoranti and Ayodeji Ige, who are against the union’s stand, described their position as “unilateral and an attempt to damage the reputation of Prof. Soremekun’s.”
The opposing group said: “We wish to state clearly that the statement purportedly written, and made available to the press by the zone on behalf of members was not only false but misleading. It is only the congress that can authorize such and this unfortunately was not the case.
“The smear campaign was a handiwork of an individual backed by a cabal which seeks to mislead the public and cause disaffection in FUOYE, which is still a young university.
“This press conference showed the failure of ASUU to abide by simple norm of consultation before confrontation. Let me also state that some of the issues raised have been tackled by the management. The allegations raised by ASUU zone were devoid of facts, lacking in merit and a product of perverted mind. “We hereby dissociate ourselves from this attack coming from a minority among us,” they said.
The crisis took a new turn as some aggrieved members formed a parallel body called Congress of Nigeria Academics (CNA), stating that “since they are out to destroy ASUU here in FUOYE, we have opted out and we will embrace the alternative platform, CNA.”
Defending the allegations, Prof Soremekun denied the various accusations leveled against him and charged members of ASUU to thoroughly investigate issues before they go public with them. The VC said a PENCOM office had already been established in the university to handle pension matters, explaining that the university management had no hand in pension issues as pensions were deducted directly from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and not from within the university.
His words: “As a way of educating Akure ASUU zone, pension deductions from staff salaries are not carried out by the university authorities; rather they are deducted at source (at the office of the Accountant General), remitted to Pension Commission (PENCOM) for onward delivery to staff members’ respective Pension Fund Administrators.”
On appointments, Soremekun said FUOYE council and senate were aware of every appointment made and added that the Federal Character Commission (FCC) had even commended the institution for being compliant with the federal character policy among its peers.
The VC said: “On the allegation of illegal recruitment of both academic and nonacademic staff, it is worthy to note that not all positions must be advertised before recruitment.
“Some of these recruitments are often to meet up with urgent needs such as accreditation exercise and that the authority to do so resides with the VC. Due process were adhered to even if such positions were not advertised.”
On the accusation that the Bursar and Registrar had been in acting capacity, Soremekun explained that “the appointment and promotion of a principal officer rests with the governing council of the institution.
“Only the governing council reserves the right to authorise the advertisement of vacant position(s) of principal officers in the university, and not the management.”
He added that ASUU also did not take note of the fact that the substantive Registrar of FUOYE, Mr. Daniel Adeyemo, “has dragged the university to court and unless the matter is laid to rest no action can be taken,” and pointed out that this was the reason the acting Registrar, Mrs. Oyeyimika Fasakin has been functioning in acting capacity.
For the Bursar, Soremekun said the institution’s bursar had been operating in acting capacity because of the death of the substantive Bursar, Mr. Bashir Badmus in September 2017, saying this vacuum had not been filled yet.
He expressed delight that regardless of the various challenges, FUOYE had been leading and setting the pace among the 12 universities established in 2010 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said: “The subtext of it all is that we are dealing with individuals that wouldn’t see anything good about this university.
“Our Faculty of Law has been approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Our Engineering students came first in an engineering competition held in Abuja recently, organised by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).”
Lending credence to what Akinsoranti said, Ige added: “Those opposed to the management are in the minority. They knew that the governing council and VC can’t appoint substantive bursar and registrar since the former occupant of the seat, Mr. Daniel Adeyemo is in court challenging his removal.”
Soremekun said due process was followed in staff recruitment as approved by the governing council with a certificate of compliance issued by the Federal Character Commission.