The crisis rocking the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) chapter of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has taken a new turn with some members pulling out totally to form another body.
The internal crisis hit the local chapter of ASUU in the build-up to the appointment of a vice-chancellor for the university in 2017 and has eventually fractionalised the union.
However, just as ASUU conducted its election, the newly-formed Congress of University Academics (CONUA) also inaugurated its executive the same day at another venue on the campus.
At a well-attended congress held at the ASUU Cooperative Hall, OAU, Dr Egbedokun O. A. was returned and declared as the new chairman of the union. He succeeds Dr Caleb Aborisade whose executive’s tenure ended.
After series of near physical confrontations between the breakaway faction and the nationally recognised executive, the aggrieved members of the union last week announced that they had formed CONUA as an alternative to ASUU.
They accused ASUU, both local and national, of corruption, high-handedness and arbitrariness.
A member of the breakaway faction told Channels Television on Tuesday last week at the venue of the inauguration of the new group that ASUU had become “a cathedral of contradictions.”
Also speaking, ASUU Chairman in UNILORIN, Dr Usman Raheem, who attended CONUA’s inauguration, alleged that “ASUU is being run by a cabal, and the rule of a cabal never lasts.”
“We had contemplated this (sprouting of a new body to revive ASUU) and if we’re witnessing this today, I think there’s going to be an exodus very soon,” he added.
The chairman of the Kwara State University chapter of ASUU, Dr Isa Abduraheem, was also around to identify with the new body.
Responding to the allegations, the Zonal Vice President of ASUU, Dr Alex Odiyi, who monitored the union’s election in OAU on behalf of the national executive, described members of CONUA as people who lack academic culture.
He, however, challenged them to present evidence to substantiate their allegations of corruption against the union, maintaining that the election was “free, fair and orderly.”
Dr Odiyi further stressed that the process was witnessed by ASUU chairmen from various universities in the South-west zone, including the Federal University of Technology, Akure; Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo; Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, and Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti.
Although he admitted that the internal crisis that has rocked the chapter since last year had led to the breaking away of “esteemed members”, he promised to ensure that it does not degenerate further.
In his inaugural address, the new OAU ASUU chairman thanked his predecessor “for fighting a good fight” and chairmen of other branches for their support.
He promised to uphold the constitution of the union and called for more cooperation from all stakeholders with an assurance that “ASUU OAU will rise again.”
Other newly elected executive members of OAU ASUU are Dr Omotoso M. O. (vice chairman); Dr Komolafe O. A. (Assistant Secretary); Professor Onipede (Investment Officer); and Dr Sapere O. R. (Welfare Officer).
Others are Dr Oladipo O. T. (Financial Secretary), Dr Amusan E.A. (Internal Auditor), Dr Atilade K.A. (Secretary) and Dr Adesunkanmi O.S. (Treasurer).