By Adesina Wahab
FOR about a year now, there has been a cold war as to who are the authentic leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, at the Lagos State University, LASU. The problem arose from the sack of some leaders of ASUU in the university for various reasons some years ago and the emergence of a new set of leaders early last year.
However, while the national leadership of the union is supporting the former executive members, the management of the university under the leadership of the former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, supported the new leadership. But the recent botched attempt to select a substantive VC for the university brought to the fore the leadership crisis in the union.
The Secretary of a faction, Dr. Tony Dansu and the Assistant Secretary, Dr. Adeolu Oyekan, wrote a petition to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu condemning the selection process and saying some of those being touted for the post of VC were not qualified. The other group, led by the Chairman, Dr. Ibrahim Bakare and the Secretary, Dr. Sylvester Idowu, said Dansu and others had no right to comment on the matter since they had been sacked by the Governing Council of the university.
“Our attention (ASUU-LASU Executive Committee’s) has been drawn to a release by Drs. Tony Dansu and Adeolu Oyekan who signed as Secretary and Asst. Secretary, respectively, on the subject above. Ordinarily, we would not have responded to the release but we later deemed it fit so that the general public will not be misled by the duo, who have been dismissed from Lagos State University since September, 2019.
“In the release, they protested against the process of the ongoing selection of a new vice chancellor for our great university, casting aspersions on the Selection Committee. The attitude of Dr. Dansu and Oyekan is prejudicial as the case of their legitimacy as staff of the university is pending in court. The leadership of the erstwhile Exco of ASUU-LASU to which they are laying a claim ceased to exist on January 24, 2020 when the Congress of our union elected and inaugurated the Ibrahim Bakare-led Exco. Therefore, to have written on our behalf as Secretary and Asst. Secretary is condemnable.” However, the Lagos Zonal leadership of the union, following in the step of the national leadership, said it did not recognise the Bakare-led exco.
According to the Zonal Chairman, Prof. Olusoji Sowande, said there was no faction in LASU ASUU and that Dansu and others were the real leaders of the union in LASU. The union said: “That the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is one, and has no faction in any Nigerian University, including LASU, and operates an unbroken leadership structure from the branches, through the zones, to the national body. In this unbroken chain of the union’s leadership is the Dr Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi-led executive of Lagos State University, LASU, Branch.”
As the Chairperson of ASUU-LASU, Dr Isaac Oyewumi is still a statutory member of the National Executive Council (NEC), and has continued to represent the LASU Branch of the union as such.
“Five out of nine current executive members (i.e. the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and the Treasurer) of
ASUU-LASU were maliciously tried on various trumped up charges, and were purportedly dismissed between 2017 and 2019. The Union strongly believes that these actions by the Fagbohun-led
Administration and the 10th Governing Council of LASU are cases of victimization due to the principled stance of the branch leadership against disrespect for the rule of law, serial breaches of due process, and outright maladministration.
“The injustice done to the union leaders in LASU is being challenged in the courts of competent jurisdiction. In line with the
constitution of ASUU and its code of practice, until these cases are disposed off in the court of law, or the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU reviews the situation, the Isaac Oyewumi-led executive shall continue to be recognized as the leadership of the union at the LASU Branch. The Isaac Oyewumi-led executive of ASUU-LASU enjoys the unwavering support of the Union at both
Zonal and National levels, and this position has been communicated several times to the university authorities and the government.”