The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has cautioned Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), over its call to the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Professor Nnenna Oti, to resign, warning ASUU to rescind from such ugly move or face the wrath of students.
The warning was given by the Vice President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Comrade Ezenagu Victor, while addressing journalists in Abuja, last week.
According to him, “it has become expedient, albeit with dismay, to address the unbecoming attitude of the leadership of Academic Staff Union of University. The latest of which is the derogatory headline of the dailies wherein the Union Zonal Leaders allegedly demanded the resignation of Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri for alleged corruption. The charlatan who is the acclaimed ASUU Zonal leader should rather ask their members who were involved in election rigging, sales of handouts, sexual harassment of our female student’s , cultism , Sex for marks and other anti- students activities to resign they are rather chasing shadows and asking the hero of 2023 elections to resign !
“Our attention was drawn to the headlines because the Vice Chancellor of FUTO, Prof. N.N. Oti, is a mentor to many of us. Particularly our female folks who were shocked to the marrow reading such headlines about the woman who has personified integrity, honesty and transparency. Sequel to this, NANS has been able to carry out investigation by interacting with both students and staff of the institution”.
He added, “although we were not able to have any discussion with members of FUTO Management as they said part of the issue we wish to inquire is in court. Our finding has shown that the lies spewed by those who gave that press release in the national dailies were not only unfounded, but also malicious and wicked! On the contrary, testimonial evidences garnered by the NANS points to the fact that the action of the ASUU leaders is a mere political vendetta wherein these Union Leaders are acting by proxy”.
NANS posited that “the attack on her person has been so vehement basically because of her gender, emerging as the Vice Chancellor of the University, as well as her transparency during the national assignment and in the discharge of her duties as Vice Chancellor. Those who lost to her during the contest for VCship as well as those who could not use her to achieve their ungodly aims during the national assignment have resulted to using highly corrupt Union Leaders in ASUU to grind their axe with the woman and to make the University ungovernable. Despite all of these, Oti has remained a mother with a long suffering heart of forgiveness and has refused to join them in any public or private display of arrogance”.
Ezenagu, thus reaffirmed that “we, the National Association of Nigerian Students, wish to draw the attention of the ASUU in particular and the public in general, that those fighting the Vice Chancellor of FUTO by proxy are obviously threatening peace and tranquility in the University. We are already informed that the disturbance is aimed at causing industrial action at the University so as to bring her to disrepute at the expense of students learning. It should be well noted that all industrial disputes have its major side effects on students who suffer untold hardship during and after such disputes. This includes, but not limited to waste of their precious time. Amounting to the students spending longer years in the University, as well as waste of their resources as universities end up having them pay more school fees; particularly for the postgraduate students who pay for the number of years they spend irrespective of the strike that has never been of their making”.
The Association highlighted that “in retrospect, we wish to remind ASUU that our students are still struggling to come off the payment of their rents, losses of their source of income and opportunities that begged for their certificates, arising from the last eight months industrial disputes. We are aware that ASUU NEC has not been able to manage its house effectively, nor mend fences with her members at the local branch level in FUTO. Our interaction with several members of staff at FUTO confirmed our fears that the national body is using a suspended set of executive as a pawn to destabilize and disrupt the smooth running of academic, as well as the peace enjoyed in the university”.
He further stated that NANS female students in the school are already mobilizing their colleagues in other universities all over Nigeria for a mother of all protest against the intimidation of the female Vice Chancellor just because of her gender. “This is because up till now, not one person has been able to provide evidence whatsoever to buttress the assertion of corruption against Oti. On the contrary, she has proven to be an incorruptible woman in all ramifications”.
He maintained that “the most recent of which is the positive headlines she made during a national assignment giving her wherein she came back and was well received by the community for not only making her gender, but also making the country proud. She proved that women with integrity still exist in the black nation. We are certain that if this witch-hunt is not stopped immediately, it could snowball into in national matter and NANS will hold the leaders of ASUU responsible”.
“Hence it could lead a protest against ASUU. One that might be akin to a national catastrophic cataclysm against the Union. One would have thought that the losses recorded in court most recently by ASUU in a bid to stop the registration of other academic unions, as well as the loss of eight months salary which has resulted to untold hardship for her members would be a front burner that will make them rethink and rejig her strategies based on how badly they have fared rather to be looking for who to attack further. We therefore advise the ASUU to find a means in resolving their problems rather than delving into the murky waters of politics.
“As more of this attack on the Vice Chancellor of FUTO will attract a decisive action and the wrath of Nigerian Student’s will be melted upon the identified elements hiding under the umbrella of ASUU to be forewarned is forearmed”, NANS warned.