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FG still withholding salaries of over 200 ASUU members ― Ogunyemi

The immediate past vice-president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, has emerged as the new president of the union.

This came as the outgoing President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has revealed that salaries of over 200 members of the union are still being withheld by the Federal Government over non-enrollment on the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS).

Osodeke, who confirmed his emergence as the new ASUU President to Tribune Online on the telephone, said he was elected alongside other executive members of the union early Sunday during a three-day conference of the union held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

A professor of soil science at the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Osodeke took over from Biodun Ogunyemi, a professor of education at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

Other members of the union, who were elected alongside Mr Osodeke, include Chris Piwuna of the University of Jos as vice president; Olusiji Sowande of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, as treasurer while Ade Adejumo, a professor from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, was elected as financial secretary.

Also, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Austen Sado, was elected as investment secretary; Adamu Babayo from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, was elected the union’s internal auditor while Stella-Maris Oke from Cross Rivers State University of Science and Technology, was elected as the new welfare secretary.

Ogunyemi will continue to serve in the new executive committee as an ex-officio, apparently to guide the new leadership.

The new ASUU President lamented that some members of the union were still owed salaries up to 13 months, vowing to engage the Federal Government on how this could be resolved amicably for the universities to run normally.

Osodeke said: “Our union runs collective administration. Our struggle is for the development of 4Nigerian universities to compete with all others in the world in line with the universality of universities.

“One of our major aims is to ensure that children of the poor have access to good university education and we will ensure that we get the government to pay equal attention to the Nigerian education system, not just university, tertiary institutions, secondary and primary education,” he said.

He said the union would engage both Federal State Governments on the payment of salaries and entitlements of members of the union, saying it was unfortunate that some ASUU members were still owed salaries up to 13 months by the Federal Government while in some branches the check-off dues of ASUU members have been collected for months and not remitted.

He said the implementation of IPPIS, has negatively affected the operation of the university system as it negates the autonomy of the university system, adding the introduction of University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS), was to check the anomalies in the system, lamenting, however, that since the strike was called off government has not done anything about the integrity test and subsequent approval for implementation.

The outgoing, ASUU President, Ogunyemi, said he was unhappy that salaries of over 200 members of ASUU were still being withheld by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation because of non-enrollment of the IPPIS platform.

He said: “As for me I have no regret, only that I’m unhappy that some of our members whose salaries were withheld by the Accountant-General Office because of IPPIS have not been paid. You can imagine where we have well over 200 of our members whose salaries are still withheld. It’s an area of concern not just to me, to the entire leadership of the union.

“I know our new President and all of us will work round the clock to ensure that no member of our union is denied his or her entitlement,” Ogunyemi said.

He noted that his stint as President of ASUU was a service to the nation and “an experience that brings out the best and worst at the same time in an individual. When you work with others, there will be a success. Our members have been very fantastic and cooperated fully to push our demands for improved welfare and transformation of the university system.”

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