Students’ Union leaders of the University of Ilorin have unanimously said that it is not realistic to ask the incoming Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Wahab Egbewole, to lead the university chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) out of the union.
Speaking with the Tribune Online in Ilorin on Thursday, the president of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the university, Taofeek Waliu Opeyemi, said that majority of the students desired that the university should leave the lecturers’ union because of the strike actions characterised by ASUU membership.
Tribune Online gathered that the University of Ilorin was not part of ASUU for about 20 years following a disagreement between the local chapter of the union and the national body, a situation that gave the university a stable academic calendar while out of ASUU.
“Of course as a student, I’ll love so much to have back our stable academic calendar. That’s not negotiable, more so as a student and a students’ union leader, representing over 5,000 students. I’m of the view that we should opt out but the power of opting out doesn’t lie with the VC. He sits as an ordinary member of ASUU in their meeting.
“He doesn’t make decisions for ASUU. Students want the university to opt out of ASUU because they don’t have the background of the situation. Yes, as a student and as a student leader, I’ll propose that VC asks the local chapter of the union to pull out, which I know is not possible. It’s something I’ll love to happen personally, but I don’t think it’s realistic.
“I don’t even think it’s possible to opt-out of ASUU. ASUU is an association of lecturers. As far as you’re a federal government staff, you’re part of ASUU. What led ASUU Unilorin to have purportedly opted out of ASUU was because there was an issue. Not that the university’s local ASUU opted out.
“University sacked about 40 lecturers some few years ago. The Unilorin chapter invited the national ASUU to come to their aid. The national ASUU didn’t give them the required support. So, in anger, they decided not to work with the national ASUU any longer. There was an ASUU structure on our campus and we still have it.
“The outgoing VC, Professor Abdulkareem Age, only intervened or mediated in the long-standing disagreement between the local and national ASUU then when he assumed office some five years ago and it was sorted out. It’s not like saying whether Unilorin was part of ASUU or not. Unless there is going to be another disagreement that could make the local Unilorin ASUU pull out, we’re part of ASUU.”
On the students’ expectations of the university’s new VC, the SUG president said that the university should invest in transportation to mitigate problems being faced by the students.
“Our major challenge in the university is transportation. If the new VC succeeds in solving our transportation problem, he would have solved 60 per cent of the university problem. Students queue for hours to get to campus and leave campus every day,” he said.
He also said that the new VC should work on improving the academic standards and stability of the university, rather than what he described as “rush rush” of the academic calendar.
He called for student-oriented academic stability, advocating that students and their leaders should be involved in matters relating to academic matters in the university.
“We have it but not really a full representation of students. That’s what we want the new VC to focus on as he’s coming on board. We also want him to emulate the open door policy of his predecessor.”
Also speaking, a former SUG president of the University of Ilorin, Wisdom Oluwaseun, said he would support that the varsity should opt out of the ASUU, but quickly added that the federal government should meet the demands of the university lecturers in the country to solve the constant strike actions on campuses.