Monday, July 2, 2007

49 Sacked Unilorin Lecturers - The Real Issue

It is no more news that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off their over 2 months old strike last Sunday and directed its members to report back to work, what is news is that among the agreement reached was that the 49 University of Ilorin lecturers sacked 6 years ago may get reprieved, because according to ASSU there is a firm signals emanating from the government to reinstate the 49 sacked lecturers.
In an earlier post by this blog, I stated that, government had not been known to reinstate sacked employees and I still maintain it. The sacked of the lecturers concerned is a forgone issue, most especially when the last administration had turn a deaf ear to all pleas to reinstate them. Having said this, I want to believe there is more to it than what the ASUU want to make us to believe as to reason why the 49 lecturers were not reinstated. The government on the other hand will never come out to tell the world the truth about why they can never reinstate them. This blog will attempt to unravel real reasons why the 49 lecturers may never be reinstated.
The 49 sacked lecturers comprises mostly (if not all of them) non indigene of Kwara State, the state where the University of Ilorin was located. The University itself is a federal universities which make it possible for the non indigene to dominate the Vice chancellorship of the University from inception. As a result of this, at a certain stage, the majority employees of the University were non indigene of Kwara state. This also affect admission quota for the indigene of the state housing the University. As a result of this, the Kwara State indigenes mostly the elites had been lobbying incoming government to correct the anomaly, but they had always not been successful. Respite however came when Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraham an indigene of Ilorin was appointed as the Vice Chancellor, he saw an opportunity to correct the anomaly as could be seen with the number of non indigenes of the state dominating the employee and admission quota of the university. I am sure the 49 sacked lecturers form a crop of those big wig among the top hierarchy of employees trying to see that the issue of correcting the anomaly never materialises. I want to further believe that this political bickering had been going on under like a cold war before ASUU embark on strike in 2001.
As usual, the Unilorin ASUU joined the strike, but the Vice Chancellor directed them to go back to work. The Unilorin ASUU refused, and the VC further threatened them that, whoever refused to go back to office shall be sacked and directed a strict monitoring of attendance. All other Academic Staff returned back to office and sign the attendance register except the 49 and they were subsequently sacked. The VC took the opportunity of the strike to get rid of the 49 lecturers to fulfill his mission The lecturer should have seen the handwriting on the wall by been wiser for it and return to office. All efforts to persuade the government to reinstate them since that time had proved unsuccessful, the Unilorin authorities does not help their matter either claiming that there is no more vacancy for their reinstatement even when Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraham tenure ended, the same scenario still persists.
The irony of the whole matter now is that, since that strike, the University of Ilorin has never joined ASUU strike, and in the recent past strike which lasted over 2 months, they had been attending classes and due to finish the semester exam any moment from now.
So from the above analysis, one would see that, it is only a lip service the government is giving to their return back to the University, reinstating them back to that University would be a miracle, aside that, the only respite that the 49 sacked lecturers could get from Yar'adua administration is a retirement with full benefit as against termination of appointment.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you entirely. These sacked teachers have no place to return to. There has been at least three academic recruitments since their sack in 2001.
The university has also withnessed no break in academic calendar since 2001. It would seem those sacked lecturers were the cause of those strikes in the university of Ilorin before 2001.
If the government means well for unilorin, the issue of "reinstatement" or "re-appointment should be forgoten. Alternatively, they could be reinstated or "re-posted" to other universities.
To see Oloruntoba Oju and his colleague on the campus of unilorin again doing what they think was ASUU is like inviting Osama bin Laden to White house. The university of Ilorin is peaceful and notting should be done to ditrupt the peace.
reliably most of the sacked lecturers have taken up jobs at other universities. For example Dr. Olatunji PO and his wife are now at Olabisi Onanbanjo where he is a professor of haematology. Similarly, Dr. Solagberu has a job at LASU as professor of surgery. Oloruntoba Oju and Ndom are at Covenant University. Others are in Igbinedion (Anjorin, Afolayan, etc).
Please these people are already fixed and some are better off than before the strike.

Anonymous said...

Justice Nurtured by Truth
Download pdf
A lot of hues have been made for and against the “Sacked” (as they brand themselves) Unilorin lecturers. Also, a lot of paid adverts as well as stage-managed editorials have been mounted in some of the Nigerian dailies and weeklies either deliberately or ignorantly or both to present the former lecturers to the unsuspecting and innocent people as the heroes of academic struggle. While one feels inclined to be disinterested in joining issues with the apostles of confusion, it is increasingly becoming unfathomable to be quiet in the face of misinformation and deliberate attempt to restore academic instability at the University of Ilorin . It is also necessary to give a clear picture of events since people who, under normal senses and circumstances, should be honourable and courageous enough to speak the truth, callously choose to glorify falsehood, misinformation and character assassination.
In the light of the foregoing, there is the compelling need to present to the public the untold story about the issue. It cannot be controverted that there was a disagreement between the Unilorin local ASUU and the University Authorities in 2001, but it is also necessary to chronicle some of the events that led to the present situation, which the recalcitrant lecturers whimsically chose for themselves.
The public ought to know that the strike action under reference is a complete misrepresentation of the reality on ground. Succinctly put, there was a local strike embarked upon by the lecturers of Univerity of Ilorin, then under the headship of Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, before the National ASUU called-out members in all Universities for a national strike on some national issues such as increase in take home pay. The two strikes were not even running concurrently. But, the dubious lecturers, acting under the mischievous protection of the then terribly biased National body of ASUU, have consistently and diabolically shove aside the reasons for the local strike which caused them their jobs. After all, if the national ASUU makes Unilorin case, albeit acting from the position of ignorance, as one of its demands, what can the former ASUU leaders of Unilorin present as their reasons for the local strikes? This is where the untold story lies.
One of the reasons for the Unilorin local strike in 2001 was what the then local ASUU leadership called the “unacceptable” stance of the then authority on some local issues. For instance, the Oloruntoba-Oju led ASUU was not comfortable with the sanctioning of some erring lecturers by the University administration. The concerned lecturers were found to be on the employment of the University illegally, having dully retired from the services of other higher institutions, but taking up permanent and pensionable appointment with University of Ilorin . They should not be challenged for this brazen illegality, because they were inner-circle members of ASUU.
Another reason adduced for closing the gate of the ivory tower was occasional delay in payment of monthly salaries. It is on record that during the period under reference, salaries were paid between 22 nd and 25 th of every month. However, any month this could not be achieved, the then local ASUU called out members for strike. The records are there. A particular case of reference was when the salaries were delayed because it was difficult to augment the “amputated” monthly allocation with Bank loan, the ASUU, which had earlier complained in writing about the colossal interest being charged by Banks, called its members out for strike. This is a case of stealing on one hand and shouting thief on the other.
Again, Unilorin had to close down, due to the monopolized wisdom of the then local ASUU, because a Professor, an “inner circle member” of Oloruntoba-Oju cabal, fraudulently presented his wife's document, claiming to be his, to obtain loans and grants from The University of Ilorin. So, for this, the Professor should be a sacred cow, otherwise, there must be strike.
Another rot that the then University of Ilorin administration was expected to doss over to avoid strike, in the wisdom of the clique, was overstaying of some academic staff on sabbatical leave, even after adding the accumulated leave. Some “anointed” leaders and advisers of ASUU who violated the University regulations in this direction were expected to be ignored.
As a stakeholder and an eye witness, I feel it is necessary to give a clear account of what transpired that time. I was keeping and still have all the releases and write-ups of the then local ASUU. I was also at the ASUU meeting where the motion to go on indefinite strike was moved. Some of us were called names, stigmatised and our lives threatened simply for canvassing for decorum, courtesy and counsel.
When the efforts to resolve the seemingly intractable problem were futile, the Alumni leadership also attempted genuinely to quell the senseless and avoidable antagonism of the system, so also did the Student Union of the University. The host community also came in, all to no avail. All people of substance, who foresaw their predicament, made frantic efforts, but they were rebuffed by the clique. The lost dogs did not hear the whistle. At a stage, some lecturers realised that the local strike had some sinister motives and vendetta, and thus becoming unjustifiable, those in this category decided to dissociate themselves from the arrogant and garrulous posture, which the cabal considered as virtue.
After all attempts failed to yield any fruition, the then administration, probably acting like a proverbial landlord who would stop at nothing to ensure peace in his house, decided to introduce some measures to allow some willing lecturers to return to work. At this stage, a register was opened and made optional for interested lecturers to sign back. It is on record that all the lecturers, who were then well over 600, signed back, except the unyielding 49.
Since they refused to yield, it was considered as a deliberate withdrawal from the service of the University. Some of the lecturers and their external agents threw academic virtues into the dustbin and went into Africa hall, the venue of final examinations and physically assaulted some lecturers who were invigilating. The students rebuffed the intruders and this resulted into clashes in the examination hall. One can imagine a situation where some people planned to prevent the graduating students from writing their final year papers and join them to antagonize the system, in the name of picketing. Only the insane would do so. The aggrieved 49 took the University to courts on different charges. Some of the cases are still awaiting court verdicts at different levels of the Nigerian courts. This fact is being hidden from the public.
Since the inglorious exit of the 49, the University has been witnessing academic stability such that the institution is now a toast of many Nigerians, both friends and foes. There has been harmonious relationship among all academic staff on one hand (e.g no staff has taken the other to court on any dispute since the exit of the 49) and Unilorin Chapter of ASUU and other Unions within the University on the other hand. There has also been peace and progress manifested in the timely graduation of students, construction, completion and commissioning of several projects. Also, cultism and student unrest have become history since their departure from the University. The University undergraduates and graduates are doing well within and outside the country. Indeed, the University of Ilorin is better by far than when they were there.
In conclusion, if the 49 who initiated court actions against the University no longer believe in the rule of law and are now desperate to return to the University of Ilorin, a University which they had condemned in the past, they should be humble enough to apply to the institution through the current advertisements rather than engage in political arm twisting.
Usman Alabi Olayinka Yusuf
Justice Nurtured by Truth

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to know what the law has to say about the whole issue. Somebody should please educate us all.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the comments above are lopsided and false. What was reported in the press, which has not been and cannot be disputed, is that the then Vice-chancellor of the insttituion, Prof. Abdulraheem, was indicted for serious corrupt practices and he went all out to destroy the union that exposed him. Go and read the governmen white paper and also the edition of Insider Magazine titled "Abdulraheem, Nigeria's Worst Vice-chancellor." To date, Abdulraheem has no answer to the allegations by the magazine published more than five years ago. Secondly, unless somebody wants to rewrite the labour laws of the country, all the 'hue and cry' about strike in Unilorin is absolutely irrelevant. The law allows strikes by the workers,but the law does not allow corruption and embezzlement by the university authorities. Thirdly, the so called 'peace' in Unilorin means that no one has dared to speak out against corruption and excesses of the institution out of fear of being victimised. Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju spoke out courageously and that is what this country needs, not sycophants. The only people who really enjoy the peace of the graveyard are those who are dead and are buried, and of course the undertakers who benefit from the morbidity. A university without a culture of debate and dissent is a dead university. Finally, it is irritating for any supposedly intelligent analyst to suggest that the criticism of the actions of an institution, or of a country for that matter means they dont want to belong to the institution or country anymore. If that is the case, then all the critics and social activists who condemn the actions of the country's leaders should be sent into exile! These people should look for something more intelligent to say on the Unilorin issue. And by the way, who is Usman Alabi Olayinka Yusuf? This name does not appear anywhere else except at the bottom of the unintelligent comment above. I hope this blog-owner will be objective and courageous enough to post these comments for the benefit of Alabi Yusuf and his cohorts, and more importantly for the benefit of Nigerians.

twinstaiye said...

At least Usman Alabi Olayinka Yusuf is bold to identify himself, you posted as anonymous. Your comments is not deleted though, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I also have to post as anonymous as I have no google/blogger account, how do I indicate an identity? Anyway, my comment:

I thought they were talking about out of court settlement. I dont see any need to continue beating the drums of war. Afterall, the man Abdulraheem behind it all has found a greener pasture at the Federal Character Commission. Funny enough he is reported in the media to be criticising the same tribalism that he executed in Unilorin (which the first post by the blog owner testifies to).
By the way, I dont agree that criticising the University means the lecturers should have no place there. Even the most patriotic persons criticise Nigeria when things are done badly. Recently, the Chairman of MDCAN has been criticising the quality of Nigerian medical graduates. By the same logic he should not be treated in any Nigerian hospital if he falls ill, or his child should not be admitted to any medical school. Poor logic demonstrated in that post, my friends (the post suggesting that those who criticise must be ostracised).