Senior academic staff of Lagos State University (LASU) who at various times, had occupied executive positions in the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, LASU branch have unanimously declared that members of the varsity community never had their place of work as peaceful and conducive to work in as they currently do.
This concerted verdict was passed at a brief chat with news media at LASU Senate Chamber, Ojo Main Campus on Tuesday.
This is coming on the heels of the recent reshuffle exercise done by the management of the institution of recent which brought about the promotion of some 370 members of staff across the academic and non-academic cadres and the dismissal of eight, including three members of ASUU-LASU executive.
In his remarks, Prof. Sola Fosudo, Head of Department, Theatre Arts and Music posited that there was nothing new in a university management doing its duty of rewarding and sanctioning staff as appropriate and commensurate to the respective conduct of the staff members.
The seasoned actor cum academic believes that being a member of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) or being an executive member does not confer on anyone the liberty to flout the rule, regulations, and condition of service that guide members of the university community and to which all staff had sworn to obey on appointment.
The professor of Theatre Arts decried what he called the campaign of falsehood which he noted that the dismissed executive members of ASUU-LASU had embarked upon since their dismissal by the varsity management.
He insisted that all due process was followed to arrive at the dismissal decision by the Governing Council of the University after very thorough investigations, even as he wondered why a section of the media had chosen to blow up the sack of eight staff while playing down the promotion of over 370 staff members across all cadres of the university employees
He, therefore, implored media practitioners not to help detractors tarnish the soaring image of LASU but rather continue to promote its glory globally.
Backing Fosudo, Prof. Martin Anetekhai, Chairman Conflict Management and Resolution of the university advised the affected staff to either write to the Council or take their case to the Visitor of the university for redress if they are convinced of being victimized.
“My position is that LASU should never be heated up again. Issues should no more be blown out of proportion”, Anetekhai emphasized.
Adding his voice, Prof. Abiodun Akinpelu insisted that there must be academic culture, otherwise, the Ivory Tower would no more be worth its name.
Recalling that he bagged a backdated professorship based on the principle of fairness, he posited that there was absolutely nothing new nor wrong with the award of promotion in arrears in a university system.
He recalled his own case in the same varsity wherein he was as good as dismissed but when he appealed to the University Council, he was discharged and acquainted and was paid an arrear worth N1.5m.
Decrying what he observed as a pull-him -down campaign of some members of the Union, he also recounted that even the promotion of Dr. Kunle Idris was backdated even as a serving ASUU-LASU chairman a few years ago and nobody raised any dust over it.
Dean of Management Sciences, Prof. Babatunde Yusuf waved off the insinuations that two cases of staff dismissal in two years (2017 and 2019) may be too much, he stated that any university that takes seriously the matter of discipline, obedience to the rule and regulations would not do anything different in the current case of LASU.
Prof. Yusuf who was once a Vice-Chairman, ASUU-LASU, opined that living by the laws guiding the day today conduct of all staff of the university cannot be set aside in the name of Union executive membership.
“Professors are the goodwill ambassadors of a university. Professors are the pillars of the university. Nobody is above the law. Even the VC can be disciplined if necessary.
“The press should continue to project positive reports about LASU , support LASU, write good things about LASU but that does not mean that if we do so badly, you should not mention it.” ; he admonished.
Contributing, another ASUU-LASU Chair, Dr. Jamiu Oluwatoki disclosed that academic elders and patriotic members of the university had made several efforts at talking the dismissed executive ASUU-LASU officials into reasoning just for peace to reign but were rebuffed and insulted.
Also joining his voice of solidarity was the President of the Lagos State University Students’ Union (LASUSU), Comrade Ade Oluwatayo Oladele who posited that “if there is no law, there can be no offence. When there is a law, it must be obeyed”.
The students’ leader wondered: “Why are we only talking about the dismissal and not talking about the massive promotion of ?”.
Fosudo interjected: “For the past 20 years, we never had the level of peace we now enjoy in LASU. Everybody gets his promotion as and when due. We never had it this good
Other vibrant senior lecturers who spoke included Prof. Wahab Elias, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and a former Secretary of ASUU-LASU; Dr. Oluwoko Abayomi, Prof. Steve Ogunpitan, Director of LASUES; Prof. Ayo Omotayo and members of LASUSU executive.
The brief was occasioned by the recent dismissal of three executive members of the ASUU-LASU who had claimed to be objects of victimistion and high-handedness of the Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun-led administration.
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