From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the dissolution of the Governing Councils of Universities with a call on President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to rescind the obnoxious decision and restore the council.
The National Vice President of ASUU, Chris Piwuna, made the call on Thursday, as a guest speaker at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, (FUAM), during an orientation exercise for new members and award of honours for new professors of the university.
Piwuna, while speaking on the role of a unionist and professional in the governing organs of the University, said the effective and efficient running of universities depends on many organs of the institution, the council and senate inclusive.
While he described the the council and senate as the custodians of the university academic culture, Piwuna said the Council offers a strategic path to governance, while the Senate is empowered to organize and control teaching and admission and discipline of students, promote research, make provision for the award of degrees, amongst other responsibilities.
He said “It is, therefore, wrong to dissolve Governing Councils and transfer the powers of our Councils to the Federal Ministry of Education or the National Universities Commission (NUC) without due recourse to the university laws.
“It is also a disservice to the universities to allow a vacuum because mischievous Vice Chancellors and ministry officials could connive to ruin our universities if such brazen disregard for the laws establishing the universities is not checked.
“With our recent experience, the university Senates as the moral compasses of the universities, ought to have spoken in defence of our Councils. Almost two months since the dissolution of the governing councils before the expiry of their terms, no senate in any Nigerian university has spoken.
“No wonder, the potency of the University Senate, as a body of honest, truthful, and courageous individuals is diminishing in Nigeria.
He insisted that “the position of ASUU as a union has not changed. Councils had been dissolved in 2013 by Goodluck Jonathan, President Muhammadu Buhari also dissolved councils and on each occasion, they reversed the decision based on the fact that those actions violate the law establishing the universities
“The most widely advertised credential of the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is his struggle for the enthronement of democratic rule. Democracy thrives on the rule of law; therefore, if he cannot call his officials to order, by rescinding this obnoxious decision to dissolve governing councils, then his government has trampled on the law.
“This government cannot be wrong and strong at the same time. It is not late to reverse it. The President should direct without hesitation, the restoration of these councils and allow them to live out their four years term. That is the law,” he said.
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