By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Police to steer clear of its activities at the University of Ilorin.
ASUU handed down the warning in a statement in Ibadan jointly signed by Zonal Coordinator Ibadan Zone of ASUU, Professor Segun Ajiboye and National Internal Auditor of the Union and convener of the ASUU-NEC UNILORIN Integration Committee Professor S.O Ighalo.
The union in the statement alleged the deployment of men of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Police to allegedly disrupt the legal and constitutional elections of its executives at the University of Ilorin.
According to ASUU, there is the need for the authorities at the University of Ilorin to learn from history “that the militarization of a purely academic environment has never augured well for ‘our universities’ as it will soon backfire”.
“The Union wishes to decry a situation where a University administration would mobilize the police and DSS to try and prevent the Union from carrying out its legal and constitutional duties as it happened on Wednesday April 20 at the University. UNILORIN should learn from history. The militarization of a purely academic environment has never augured well for our Universities. Sooner or later, it backfires. DSS and Police guns should be reserved for needed areas, not bastardise the academia” it added”.
ASUU then called “on the Director General of DSS and Inspector General of Police” not to allow their men to basterdise the academia “but to use the guns being wielded on the university campus to fight insurgents, kidnappers pipeline vandals and bandits of armed robbers”.
The union in the statement however gave the name of the UnIlorin ASUU newly elected executives as Dr. Kayode Niyi Afolayan as the new Chairman. The release also listed Dr. Bode Olumorin as Vice-Chairman, Dr. Solomon Oyelekan, Secretary, Mr AbdulGaniyu Olatunji as Treasurer; Mr. Abdullateef Raji, Financial Secretary; Mr. Ganiyu Shittu Olahan, Internal Auditor; Dr. Adesola Idowu Abdulrraheem Abioye as the Welfare Officer.
“With the election, the Union has completed a constitutional transition from its last recognized executive in UNILORIN BRANCH, led by Dr. Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju (which was illegally sacked by the University authorities but reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2009). Having made every effort over the last few years to reconcile disparate elements in the Branch, the Union finally resolved to conduct an election open to all parties and in line with constitutional provisions”.
It added that “the Union is not unmindful of earlier purported elections by groups parading themselves as “ASUU excos” in the University of Ilorin. However, for the avoidance of doubt, these groups are not recognized by the Union” adding that “only the National Executive Council of the Union is empowered to initiate electoral proceedings in any of its Branches, supervise any election into an ASUU Branch, and the same endorsed by the applicable Zonal Coordinator of Union, for it to be valid adding that it was therefore constitutionally and legally impossible for any individuals to become “ASUU Excos” of any Branch without such a process involving the National Executive Council of the Union.
“The Union also wishes to make it clear that the University of Ilorin issue can only be resolved on the basis of Constitutionality and rule of law. It is certainly not the place of any University administration to determine the membership of a ASUU’s Executive. This is the exclusive responsibility of the National Executive Council of the Union in conjunction with academic members of a branch who subscribe to the Union.
“By way of analogy, it would be absurd for the government or the current President to try to determine who is the Chairman or Secretary of PDP! It is purely an internal affair of the party, just as elections of union officials is purely an internal affair of the Union. A situation where a University Administration would assemble a group of persons and say “this is our ASUU” is absurd – the Union will not condone that.”
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.