Thursday, May 23, 2024

Our varsities can’t join IPPIS strike – Oyo, Ogun, Cross River

Oyo, Ogun, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers state governments have said lecturers of state universities cannot  join the planned strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System.

State governments, in separate interviews with The PUNCH on Monday, said the IPPIS issue was purely a matter  between the Federal Government and lecturers in its universities.

They said state university lecturers should not subject their students to hardship by   dabbling in an issue between the Federal Government and its employees.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported on Monday that ASUU had directed its members to begin a strike action immediately the Federal Government failed to pay their January salaries.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Hammed Idris, had in a letter last week, asked the Ministry of Finance not to release January salaries to universities. He said payment of the salaries would be made through the IPPIS platform.

Following a directive by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, (retd.), Idris between October 25 and November 7 last year, deployed the IPPIS officials to federal universities and directed all workers in the institutions  to enrol for the IPPIS.

But ASUU opposed the directive on the grounds that the IPPIS negated autonomy of the universities.

Both the FG and ASUU failed to resolve their differences when the union met the President three weeks ago, as Buhari advised the lecturers to enrol for the IPPIS.

ASUU, in some universities, including the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, and the Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso,Oyo State, on Sunday told The PUNCH that they would obey the directive of their headquarters on the IPPIS strike.


States, FG varsity lecturers under different employers

But the  Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dahud  Sangodoyin,  said there was no basis for state university  lecturers to join the ASUU strike on the IPPIS. The commissioner said state and the federal universities lecturers were  under different employers.

He asked, “If you say somebody wants to do something what would be the grounds for doing it? In some climes, you don’t go on strike without going to an arbitration court, but in Nigeria, you don’t have that style. If you want to go on strike you must have a purpose for doing that.

“I am not of the school of thought that you just go on strike without any reason, just because you want to do it. The federal universities have their own grounds. Are they the same as state universities? Of course, not. We have many variables that are not comparable. They don’t have the same salary scale to start with; They are not on the same allowances and not in the same category of salaries and emoluments.”

The commissioner  disclosed that the state paid the salaries of its higher institutions’ staff on Friday.

He stated, “We should really be reasonable in this country. It is not everything that you embark on strike for. By going on strike you are destroying other people’s lives. By going on strike, you are destroying our future generation.”

IPPIS strike not the right thing for state lecturers – A’Ibom commissioner

On his part, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Education, Prof Nse Essien,  said that the plan  by lecturers in state universities  to  join ASUU on the IPPIS strike was not the right thing to do.

He said, “I am not aware of the plan by the lecturers to join the IPPIS strike. I also don’t think that it is the right thing to do.”

IPPIS not a state problem – C’River govt

Also,  the Cross River State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Asu Okang, advised ASUU in the Cross River University of Technology not to join the IPPIS strike.

He stated, “They should also know that they are (CRUTECH ASUU) a state-owned university and our children must not be allowed to suffer. The issue of IPPIS is not part of our problems right now. It is not a state problem.”

OOU, TASUED lecturers  have no reason to  join IPPIS strike – Ogun govt

But the Ogun State Government expressed confidence that ASUU members in TASUED and the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, would  not join  the strike  in solidarity  over IPPIS .

The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Kunle Somorin, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the cordial  relationship between the government and the workers  in the universities would not make them join the strike.


We don’t operate in isolation, says OOU ASUU

But  ASUU in the OOU  said it was   ready to join other branches in other universities on the IPPIS strike.

The Chairman ASUU OOU , Dr Joel Okewale, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “We don’t have Federal Government ASUU . We have only one ASUU. We have not been operating in isolation.

“The NEC will direct  us and for that to take place , there  will be a NEC meeting even if it is an emergency.  Until that is done,  we cannot say whether we will join the strike or not . The issue  will be brought to the table and we will  look at its  merit and demerit.”

In Enugu State, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Chidi Aroh said that ASUU in the state University of Science and Technology had not notified it that  it would  join the ASUU national strike.

IPPIS: We’ll join strike if it’s declared –  ASUU AAUA

The Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State chapter of ASUU, said it would join the strike on the controversial IPPIS, if the national body of the union declared the industrial action .

The Chairman of the union, Dr Simon Erhiabi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “This is a union matter, if the strike is declared, we will join the strike; we don’t have an option. Our national body is our parents and if they declare strike we will join.”

ASUU fighting a battle it can’t win, says Buhari’s aide

But  the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said ASUU would not win the fight being declared against the Federal Government on the IPPIS.

Ogunlesi said it was better for ASUU to re-channel the energy being dissipated on a losing battle to a push for improved research and teaching efforts in universities.

He said the government would not be moved by the union’s opposition to IPPIS which he said had come to stay.

The President’s aide made his position known in a message he posted on his Twitter handle, @toluogunlesi. He wrote, “ASUU cannot win this fight against public finance accountability (embodied by IPPIS).  IPPIS is here to stay, @NigeriaGov will not be moved.

“The energy spent fighting a losing battle would be better deployed into the push for improved research and teaching efforts in universities. (It is) important to realise the battles that cannot be won (because they must not be won).”

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