Comrade Alfred Ilesanmi is the National Vice President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities,South west zone.
He spoke with newsmen on issues relating to the welfare of SSANU members and some burning issues within the university system,shortly after the recent zonal meeting of the union in FUTA.
What is the main purpose of this meeting ?
The quarterly meeting of our zone and other zones are meant for review and update of the activities of the union both at the National level, zonal level and branch level.
It is also to look into the welfare of our members at various branches and the welfare of the system where we work too. It is also to deliberate on how to move the university system forward and also how to move the nation forward, so this the gamut of what we are gathered here to do.
What is your assessment of the welfare of your members ?
My assessment if I will not be economical with truth, the welfare of our members has not gotten to where we wanted it to be in the system and it varies from branches, university to university .
Some Vice Chancellor are very good, like FUTA VC here must be commended for the way he has been handling issues of welfare of our members and I want to really single him out for the ingenuity that he brought in to resolve the crisis that engulfed FUTA before he came in as the VC and the way he resolved the issue and together with the issue of the staff school.
If you go to other universities in other climes in Nigeria, they are not the same , some VCs even don’t want to see non teaching staff, some are ready to malign and to marginalise the non teaching staff in the system, so the welfare of our members has not gotten to where we hope to be in the system in our own little assessment.
What are the things you expect ?
I expect that the needful should be done so that everybody working together in the system have a good sense of belonging in the system.
For instance, in the university system, we have the teaching staff and non teaching staff, and all of them work together to produce one product which is the graduates. So if our members are not given their fair due in the system, the impact will be glaring, there cannot be industrial peace in the system.
My advice is that all VCs and all the people that are saddled with the responsibilities of managing the system must take everybody along and give everybody their fair share in the system.
The welfare of everybody must be taken into consideration and not that some people will be looked after while some will regarded as second class citizens within the system.
What exactly do you think is the problem between the SSANU and many of the Vice Chancellors ?
The major problem is that most VCs see themselves as member of ASUU and they always want to satisfy that their own constituencies and all of these are because of their selfish interest because every VC will believe that it is when they please this set of people in the system that they can achieve and rise to the peak.
But a few of them who know what is right have always done the right thing irrespective of who is not happy about it. Ego is the main problem against the non teaching that is creating the problem that we have .
One of the Vice Chancellors did suggest that SSANU and other non teaching staff should be outsourced because they are the problems in the universities, do you subscribe to this ?
No. That statement was put into their satanic verses of their Needs Assessment documents.
i am proud to inform you that we did all we could to kill and make that stupid submission not too see the light of the day, even though they are still working towards realizing it but what we did at that time was to come with our own document and we also went into research we came out with our document debunking the fallacy that they put in the Needs Assessment that there is no where in the world where non teaching staff outnumber academic staff in the university system.
Even in world class universities the ratio of academic to non teaching is not the same but out of the selfishness they are saying the non teaching staff should be outsourced.
I want to ask that which one is easy to outsource, administrators or lecturers? Are they not outsourcing themselves, are they not here and going to teach in other places?
So government should as well make them freelancers but you cannot make an administrator a freelancer. so I don’t subscribe to that but it’s just selfishness and they are just being economical with the truth.
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