By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- VICE chancellors of the nation’s public universities have indentied trust issue as being responsible for the incessant disagreements between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, resulting in crises.
To this end,they have vowed to end the ugly trends through their collective interventions.
The vice chancellors, operating under the aegis of Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, CVCNU,spoke in Abuja, yesterday.
The group said it was its desire to end the constant crises between the government and ASUU.
Speaking to newsmen during a briefing in Abuja to mark the celebration of 60 years of Leadership in Nigerian Universities, the Secretary General of the CVCNU,Prof. Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, insisted that the group was determined to end disagreement between the government and ASUU, resulting in seamles ancademic activities in public universities across the country.
The group tasked the government to tackle fundamental trust issues between the government and all unions operating in universities across the country.
According to Prof. Ochefu,“ we stated right from day one that there is fundamental trust issue between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities ,the unions operating in the universities.
He explained that,” Trust issue arises from the fact that federal government will agree on issues that have caused the strike and make commitment to pay or deliver certain reports, they commit themselves to resolving issues that has caused the strike ,and then they implement that position onto a point and they go to sleep”
“But we are happy that finally ASUU and the FG have been able to reach some agreement and what we desire is a situation whereby never again Nigeria will have disengagement of Academic Activities and fundamental issues that drive the whole process of strike should be sort out” Prof. Yakubu added.
Speaking on the conditional suspension of the strike, he confirmed that the government and the members of the Academic Staff Union must have reached certain compromise which possibly included clearing of backlog of salaries and payment of stabilization funds which has been included in the 2023 appropriation bill.
“That is why ASUU must be saying let us be sure it is conditional, you have said you will clear backlog of salaries in two installments and you commit yourself to a timeline, you commit yourself to address stabilization fund and it has been included in the project and we have seen it but what then happens in that 2023 is that by 2023 when budget is been implemented that aspect of the budget will now take secondary position and ASUU will begin to write letters again and again, that is a situation the CVCNU hopes to never see again” Prof. Aboki added.
Speaking on Nigeria universities at 60,the Secretary General of the committee said “the core objectives of the founding members at the time of establishing universities in Nigeria were to identify common problems impacting Nigerian Universities at the grass-roots level, make decisions on how to address them, and implement sound leadership practices and educational value in the Nigerian Universities.
He explained that,”From 1948 till October 2022 , the number of Nigerian Universities has grown to 219.
“On the 14th of October 1962, five gentlemen assembled in the Office of Dr Kenneth O. Dike, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, for what we can now say was the inaugural meeting of what came to be known as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities. The other gentlemen were; Professor Norman Alexander, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1962-1966), Dr George Marion Johnson, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1960-1964), Professor Oladele Adebayo Ajose, University of Ife (1962-1966), Professor Eni Njoku, University of Lagos(1962-1965)”
“The inaugural meeting discussed how to harmonise the academic calendar between Secondary schools and Universities, how to improve the number of admissions for students and how to improve funding to the Universities. Three of the five universities were owned by the regional government, two of which opened earlier that year. Ibadan had operated as a University College since 1948, while Nsukka opened its doors to students in October 1960,”he said.
He also explained that since the inception of public universities in the country,over 554 persons have been vice chancellors and 144 in acting capacity.
He said:“Of this number, academics from the Faculty of Science have contributed77 Vice Chancellors , social science 48, Humanities 42, Medicine, and Law, 21”
The Nigerian University system has also produced 35 eemale vice-chancellors with 19 of them currently serving.
“Some of the oldest surviving former Vice-Chancellors who served in the1980’s include Professor Ayo Banjo, Adamu Baike, Shehu Galadanchi, Ango Abdulahi, SJ. Cookey, Buba Bajoga, Umaru Shehu, Jibrin Aminu. From our records, the southwest zone with 177, has produced the highest number of Vice-Chancellors with Ogun State having 40persons. South East has produced 129 with Abia having 35. Non-Nigerians who have served as Vice-Chancellors number 15”
“The Association was established as a result of the necessity to unite all Vice-Chancellors, regardless of their ownership. All of Nigeria’s Vice-Chancellors from Federal, State, and Private Universities are members of the CVC committee. The Committee permits automatic participation whenever a University is accepted by the Federal Government and awarded a license by the National Universities Commission,NUC”,he said.
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