The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-owned Universities (COPSUN) has taken drastic steps on members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the state institutions.
COPSUN said its decisions were based on the recent comment made by the President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, on Thursday August 25, on a television programme on Arise, where he said that state universities are “irrelevant and quacks”.
In a press release signed by the Secretary, COPSUN, Marcus Awobifa on Monday said membership of ASUU is voluntary.
“Therefore, it is not his ill-informed approach and denigration of state universities that will lead to fashioning out creative approaches to avoid existential extinction that will solve the myriad of problems confronting the University system in Nigeria.”
According to COPSUN, the “very unfortunate ill digested view of the President of ASUU has vindicated the position of this Committee on the following issues:
“The negative professionalisation of offices of the Unions that operate in our Universities and the unserious belief among many members of the Unions that the Unions are superior to the Councils of the Universities that are their employers.”
The committee concluded on the need to democratise the membership of ASUU in the universities to the extent of the freedom of any individual to belong to a union with options of not belonging.
“Devolution of powers on the issues of labour, wages and salaries with freedom of the employers to negotiate with their employees, as it is practiced in other parts of the world, where we borrowed the University system.
“State Universities cannot be forced or coerced to implement agreements reached between the Federal Government and her workers in the Universities to which they are not parties.
“It is time to respect the federal nature of our government in all matters and not selectively, especially on the issues of salaries and wages,” he said.
Reacting to the statement made by Professor Osadeke, he noted that its first response was to ignore “this tendentious, ill conceived and flagrant unconscionable statement by the President of ASUU, but on reflection, it was thought necessary to do a rejoinder to this rather unfortunate statement having regard to the position of the President of ASUU in the scheme of things in our University system in Nigeria.”
COPSUN said it takes the statement as insulting, contemptuous and unbecoming for the President of ASUU to state that its esteemed members who are retired Ambassadors, retired Generals in the Armed forces, retired Vice-Chancellors, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, renowned politicians and other distinguished professionals are presiding over quack and inconsequential universities.