Why we’ll continue to prevent new OAU VC from resuming – Workers

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Protesting workers of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Osun State, have continued to lay siege to the campus to prevent the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Ayobami Salami, from resuming duty, The Point’s investigation has revealed.
The workers, under the aegis of the Non-Academic Staff Union and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, have, since last week, embarked on a strike and intensified protests against the announcement of Salami as the new VC.
The workers, who described the selection process that produced the new VC as illegal, had vowed to prevent him from having access to his office located inside the university’s Senate Building.
The new VC, who was expected to arrive on campus on June 24, 2016, could not do so due to the presence of the irate workers at the university’s Senate Building.
The protesting workers had, last Thursday, blocked the entrance to the office of the then outgoing VC, Prof. Bamiale Omole, with a mock-coffin and obituary posters bearing his picture to mark his exit from the institution. They described him as the worst VC OAU had ever had.
Our correspondent, who visited the campus on Wednesday, observed the workers who gathered around the Senate Building carrying on their protest as the gate leading to the new VC’s office was firmly padlocked.
Speaking with our correspondent on the phone, OAUNASU Chairman, Mr. Wole Odewunmi, vowed that the workers would not allow Salami to resume as the new VC.
To achieve this, Odewunmi said the workers would continue to keep vigil on the OAU campus and lay siege to the institution’s administrative building.
He said, “We don’t have a new management as I speak. We are presently occupying the Senate Building that houses the VC’s office. The way forward is for the university management and the Governing Council to embark on a fresh selection process for the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor.
“The one that was purportedly produced came in through the backdoor and it’s not acceptable to us.”
Addressing stakeholders, he added, “As it is now, we want a permanent solution to OAU’s problems. We don’t want any delay in the flow of the academic calendar of OAU. Be patient with us, we are fighting for you. What is the essence of you resuming now and being sent home a week later? We will not relent in our struggle until this crisis is resolved once and for all. I am also appealing to parents to beg their children, who are the students, to be patient with us.
“Though we have disallowed the purported new VC from resuming office, I would want to state that we don’t have any personal grudge with him. All we are demanding is for a just and legal selection process to prevail. We won’t tolerate illegality because he emerged through illegal means.”
But the new VC, in his acceptance speech, posted on the institution’s website, urged workers and other concerned individuals to engage his administration in a round-table discussion, rather than cause crisis on the campus.
In his speech entitled, “Dawn of a New Era”, Salami said, “Let me make a clarion call on all stakeholders, including all staff, our alumni, friends, benefactors as well as all and sundry, to join hands with this new administration, which has pledged to be firm, just, equitable and independent in running the affairs of our institution.
“If there are groups or individuals with any concern, this administration is ever ready to engage such constructively in a round-table so as to amicably resolve matters, instead of resorting to any self-help that may lead to disruptions and disturbances to members of the community.”