Samuel Amah, Abakaliki
The meeting between the delegation of the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities and Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi, on Tuesday, ended in a deadlock.
Prof. Emmanuel Osedeke, National Vice President (Academics) of ASUU, said the delegation was disappointed with the reactions of the state governor, who is the visitor to the university.
“We came to discuss issues such as university’s governing council which was dissolved about two months ago and has not been re-constituted
“This is the reason for the deadlock as the visitor was busy talking about the university’s ASUU chairman whom he calls a boy and claims to be insulting him.”
Recall that the Ebonyi State University Chapter of the ASUU, and the State Government, had since last year, been enmeshed with faceoff over alleged non-payment the varsity staff salaries and highhandedness by the government.
The varsity staff, FamousReporters gathered, had led members of the Union in the state varsity to, at various times, staged an industrial strike, thinking that the government might turn a new leave.
However, staff’s plights seem to have heightened, as the state government has neither paid their salaries nor reconstitute the EBSU dissolved Governing Council, which the ASUU claimed would have been mediating between it and the Government.
Osedeke, however, said that the ASUU delegation would discuss the development at its congress on January 20, 2021 (today) and brief its national body for decisions to be taken.
The ASUU national officer, Osedeke, also decried and condemned the alleged threat to life of the EBSU-ASUU Chapter’s Chairman, Dr. Ikechukwu Igwenyi, saying this was the height of wickedness a Government could unleash to a hardworking civil servant.
“The Visitor (Governor Umahi’s) also repeated his threats on the University’s ASUU Chairman, claiming that he would be held responsible for anything that happens. This is very uncivil and not the way to go about this kind of situation. The Governor went ahead to call the EBSU ASUU Chairman a small boy. This underscores how the governor regards and treats people and we can’t take it.”
The Commissioner for Education in state, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, however, said that the governor did not threaten anyone and did not back out from the negotiations.
“The delegation should approach the university’s leadership to get the correct facts before meeting with its Visitor (the Governor).
“The governor’s office is a centre of peace and if one’s presentation does not go according to his points, it does not constitute a threat,” Chime said.
He said that neither the state ministry of education nor the office of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Higher Education was aware of the delegation’s visit, faulting such arrangement.
“The sector has the highest allocation in the state’s 2021 budget with 19.5 per cent and is to be developed from the cradle.”