The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, on Wednesday, said the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, had no constitutional right to proscribe union activities in the state-owned institution, Ambrose Alli University.
The ASUU president, who disclosed this when he led other national delegates of the union in solidarity protest to the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, over their unpaid salaries and other sundry issues, said ASUU is a registered body that had the right to operate in the country.
He said: “The governor did not establish the union, therefore, he doesn’t have the right or the power to ban the union. He doesn’t have that right. He is just making noise and it will not work”, he said.
Corroborating the national president, the immediate past president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union needs to rise up against the action of the state governor for proscribing union activities in the university in order to deter other state governors for emulating the bad gesture.
He said, “What we are doing today is symbolic in many respects. Firstly, as a union of intellectuals, we have the responsibility to protect the integrity and sanctity of university education in Nigeria. What Obaseki is doing is tantamount to destruction of university education and we will not allow it.
“Secondly, we know, no university can do it alone, no university can operate in isolation. What Obaseki is trying to do is to isolate AAU Ekpoma for destruction.
We owe it a duty to the name of the founder, who was a reputable scholar, to preserve the sanctity of Ekpoma. So, we are here to support our members, boost their confidence and let them know they should stand for their rights.
“In the third place, we believe if we don’t do this, other states will follow same pattern, which is dictatorial and not known to the university system.
“University is a universal environment for intellectual engagement. As Nigerian scholars, it is our duty to challenge him and restore normalcy as well as let him know that he cannot get away with this in a university system.
“So, we will continue to support Ambrose Alli University for as long as Obaseki does not change his way and we will stand by any other universities in Nigeria that is visited with the Obaseki’s treatment.”
Earlier, AAU ASUU chairman, Dr. Cyril Onogbosele, said the state government was owing the union 19 months’ salary arrears, adding that 10 of their members died due to lack of funds to take care of themselves