In what is termed “a reckless approach to governance and wanton disregard to the educational well-being of Ekiti State, the Egbe Ilosiwaju Omo Ekiti, a socio-cultural group, has condemned the recent closure of the state-owned Ekiti State University (EKSU) and the proscription of its four workers unions by the state government.
Rising from an emergency meeting held on the heels of the closure, the group, comprising of notable elders in the state, described as “most insensitive”, the decision of the Dr Kayode Fayemi led administration to paralyse academic activities in EKSU, rather than find truce to the genuine agitation of workers who were demanding for the implementation of earlier agreements reached with them by his government
In one fell swoop, the Governing Council of EKSU announced the proscription of all the four staff unions in the institution following days of unrest on the campus.
Lecturers and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities at the Ekiti State University had in the past days occupied the campus to press home their pending demands from the state government and the university management.
The affected unions; Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) , National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), are aggrieved that the state government has not met their demands for payment of three months’ salary arrears dated 2018, six years of earned academic allowances and unremitted cooperative deductions among other demands.
The Chairman Academic Staff Union of Universities, EKSU Chapter, Mr. Kayode Arogundade had accused the state Governor of shunning several appeals from the Union and other intermediaries.
Sequel to the protests, the university, in a statement by the Head, Directorate of Information & Corporate Affairs, Bode Olofinmuagun, also announced the immediate closure and ordered students to vacate the campus with immediate effect.
The statement read; “All academic activities are hereby suspended. This is as a result of the continuous disruption of lawful activities on campus which have endangered lives and property in the last one week. Consequently, to guarantee peace and orderliness on campus, all the four unions (ASUU, SSANU, NAAT, and NASU) are hereby proscribed with immediate effect.
Reacting through its General Secretary, Pa Amos Ajibola Omotinugbon the Egbe Ilosiwaju Omo Ekiti, condemned the action of the Ekiti State government and described it as “most irrational in a once fledgling state, abruptly plundered into a haven of illegalities and unbridled shenanigan by a leader who is obviously bereft of requisite administrative intelligence to bequeath a progressive state.
“It is sad that Ekiti State is fast degenerating into a pariah state where anarchy is gradually becoming the order of the day. Today we are witnessing a first-class criminality, orchestrated by the seemingly unending insecurity in the land. And as if this is not enough, we are again opening our doors to yet another budding crisis being masterminded by a leader who we all think should value education but whose body language is pointing at the opposite direction.
“Governor Fayemi came in his first tenure to plunder the education sector and left it worse than he met it. He is at it again directing the affairs of EKSU with a very high hand, reminiscent of a maximum ruler. As of today, Ekiti State Government is only subverting EKSU by 50 percent of its monthly wage bills, without paying any considerable attention to capital grants and infrastructural developments,” he said.
“Pa Omotinugbon further stated that EKSU Administration has been led to ingloriously indulge in financial infractions, such as Subversion of Tax Deductions to paying salaries; Diversion of Pension deductions to paying salaries and Fund diversion from some units of the University.
But the state government has blamed the situation on over-bloated recruitment done by the immediate past administration and the inability of EKSU to meet its own portion of subvention.
The Egbe Ilosiwaju Omo Ekiti, has punctured the claim, describing it as “baseless kicks of a drowning man with lack of understanding of how to hold the state together in unity and strength.”
The group condemned the lingering crises in the land and urged government to find urgent truce while it called on the Ekiti people to cooperate with the EKSU community in ensuring that they are not hoodwinked into jettisoning their legitimate entitlements.
“We want to implore all old students of EKSTU, to stand up against the injustice and intimidation being experienced by the university community. How can somebody just wake up, shut down the institution and proscribe all its unions. The lecturers are right to fight for their entitlements in a peaceful protest, and that is what they have done. Why did the Federal Government not proscribe the national body of ASUU and NLC? EKSTU must not die.
“Everybody in Ekiti must rise up to prevent this ugly harassment in the institution. The affected students are our future and we should not allow some gangs make life unbearable for our young ones and for the poor parents in the state. Medical students should not be having all these unnecessary and ungodly incessant breaks in their studies. It is very dangerous for the world as a whole. Producing half-baked students, caused by warped and poor government policies is not the best for a developing state and country like ours. We should all rise to save our educational institutions in Ekiti,” the group stressed.