ASUU demands exclusion of Acting VC, SIT members from AAU Governing Council

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By Owen Eresoyen, Benin

Ahead of the impending composition of a new Governing Council by Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki for Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, the local branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called for the exclusion of all members of the present Special Intervention Team (SIT) of the school.

Besides, the union is also demanding that the university management led by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin who has acted for more than two years (since February, 2022) in clear violation of the university’s law, rules and regulations be excluded too.

In a joint statement weekend in Ekpoma by Dr. Cyril Onogbosele and Dr. William Odion, the Chairman and Assistant Secretary of ASUU, AAU, Ekpoma chapter respectively and made available to journalists in Benin, the union advised the state government to be guided by the university’s law and the relevant rules and regulations on membership of Governing Council, especially in relation to academic qualification and relevant experience.

Onogbosele and Odion pleaded for a neutral, competent and experienced Governing Council for the state-owned school, noting that a body that lacked such attributes may exacerbate the crises currently facing the institution.

The chairperson and the scribe argued that it would amount to robbing the proposed new Governing Council of neutrality if any member of the SIT is included in the new Governing Council.

They insisted: “As a result, no member of the present controversial, expired and discredited Special Intervention Team (SIT) of the university should make membership of the Governing Council expected to be constituted for the university by the Visitor.”

Continuing, they remarked that the move will strengthen the credibility, neutrality and fairness required of both the university management and Governing Council by staff, students and other stakeholders of the university.

The unionists maintained that the minimum academic qualification for membership of a university Governing Council is a university bachelor’s degree and vast knowledge of university governance and administration, particularly for a chairman of the council.

They called for independence of the proposed Governing Council and cautioned that undue government interference would make rubbish of its relevance and fester the present crises facing the university.

They added: “In order to restore lasting industrial peace and harmony to the university, all outstanding salaries of staff should be paid while cases of staff victimisation, repression and undue termination of appointments with the university should be dispassionately addressed and resolved.”

Onogbosele and Odion urged the state government as a matter of urgency to restore adequate monthly subvention to the university for recurrent expenditure and release the budgetary capital allocation of the school, stating that the problem of funding is undisputably central to the crises facing the tertiary institution.