A new union has emerged in the nation’s university. It is named the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), signalling a splinter group within the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The universities which formed the new union are the Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State; Kwara State University, Malete; Ambrose Ali University Expoma, Edo State; Federal University, Oye-Ekiti and Obafemi Awolowo University, lle lfe.
At the unveiling of the new group at lle-Ife on Saturday, the CONUA National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sumonu, said it was formed to give new approach in handling issues affecting universities across the country. Sumonu said the first mandate of the new union was to ensure a stable academic calendar to improve the quality of education in the tertiary institutions.
“For standard of education to be very high, we need a stable academic calendar. We need to be able to predict academic session. We need to have innovation which is difficult without continuity.
“We also need to be in tune with modern realities. Our union will approach the matter of engagement with all stakeholders in an engaging manner to have a common ground for moving forward,” he said. Reacting, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union was unaware of any splinter group. Ogunyemi accused some vice-chancellors, who were rebuked for “high-handedness”, might be encouraging members of the union in their institutions to revolt. Simon explained:
”Our union is not anti-government, if government and by extension, administrators of universities are doing well, we will let the world know and we will quickly knock them, provide alternative constructive criticism and take them to task where they are not doing well. “We will not wait for them to make mistakes before we intervene. We have vision and will provide ahead what can be done to have better results.
“If that is done we are sure we will have a better way to move forward. “Members believe we should have alternative ways of solving problems. Members have been contributing very well to the finance of the union. “When we fulfill and do all that we need to do, financial constraints will be forgotten.”