Ojukwu Varsity-ASUU Factions Disagree On Joining National Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Branch is divided over the decision to join the impending national industrial action and the welfare of members.
The two factions of ASUU in the university led by Prof. Okey Aniebo and Prof. Osita Chiaghanm met in separate congresses on Tuesday and arrived at different conclusions.
Prof. Okey Aniebo faction which started their meeting at the Union Secretariat before they were invaded and disrupted by the Chiaghalam said they would join the national body on the strike
Aniebo and his group left the venue following the confrontation and moved to the university main gate to address the media where some school security personnel went to disrupt them but were rebuffed by the lecturers.
In his address, Aniebo said the university was underfunded by the state government for which the survival of the institution had been sustained by TETFund and Needs Assessment Fund both of which were products of past ASUU struggles.
The chairman said some ASUU members who participated in the past ASUU nationwide strike action were still being owed four months salaries by the COOU management in defiance of the condition that no members would be victimised.
He said lecturers in the university had not received Earned Academic Allowance and that they had no hope of pension because the employee component of the contributory pension was not being remitted
Aniebo regretted that the instead of addressing the genuine yearning of ASUU, COOU management was bent on killing the union by intimidating members and using some colleagues to divide the union.
He urged the federal government to implement the existing agreements with ASUU and avoid another industrial action which would be the last resort.
“As you have witnessed, agents of the Vice Chancellor for the second time have disrupted our lawful meeting at the Union’s Secretariat, our members are intimidated into not joining our meetings.
“Poor funding has not been adequately addressed at the Federal level while state owned universities like COOU have been abandoned at the mercy of the TETFund and NEEDS ASSESSMENT Intervention funds
“As a tradition of our great Union, this press conference is an early warning shot that we are reluctantly being driven to the point of entering another vicious cycle barely one year since the last traumatic experience,” he said.
On their part, the Chiaghanam led faction described the Aniebo and members of his faction as pretender unionists, vowing not to welcome the incoming administration in Anambra with an industrial action.
Chiaghanam who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university said the only goal of the faction was to truncate the industrial harmony in the university and erode all gains of the university’s stable academic calendar..
He cleared the Vice Chancellor , Prof. Greg Nwakoby if every accusation of wrongdoing and high handedness upon assumption of office adding that he had added so much value to the institution.
According to him, not only did he stop the borrowing culture, he cleared all the debts running close to a billion naira.
“COOU is consistent in up-to-the-minute payment of salaries, it does not owe salaries.
“Nwakoby administration broke all barriers to staff promotions ensuring that merited promotions are effected without discrimination with attendant financial obligations
‘It is either ignorance or utter mischief that would associate the VC with non payment of pensions. For proper records, the VC has paid the university arrears of contributory pension up to October 2021.
“‘Our eyes are wide open and our ears are on the ground. COOU is one happy family under God,’ he concluded.