The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) branch has called on the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, who is also the Visitor to the University, the University Council headed by Dr. Tunji Abayomi and other stakeholders in the state to urgently salvage AAUA from immediate collapse because of the challenge of under-funding by the State Government.
The Union’s Congress at its meeting of November 10, 2020, expressed concerns that members of staff have been on amputated net salaries for the past three years and that July, August, September, and October 2020 salaries have not been paid in AAUA.
The Branch Chairperson of the Union, Dr. Simon Ehiabhi, on behalf of the Union, noted that, using the number of academic staff in the University, to justify the position of the Union for urgent financial intervention and increased funding (subvention) by the state Government, posited that in the 2015/2016 academic session, the University had 61 academic programmes with a total number of 382 academic staff with 35 of them being Professors.
The monthly subvention to the University in the 2015/2016 academic session was 212.5 million naira (two hundred and twelve million, five hundred thousand naira only).
However, from 2017, the monthly subvention had been drastically reduced by the state Government to a paltry sum of 148 million naira (One hundred and forty eight million naira only) at a time when the number of academic staff increased from 382 to 456 with 45 of them being Professors and by the 2019/2020 academic session, academic programmes had increased to 63.
The Union, therefore, finds it difficult to understand the rationale behind the reduction of the budgetary allocation to a growing University as AAUA by the State Government.
Dr. Ehiabhi further noted that the drop in the monthly subvention and budgetary allocation to the University is negatively affecting the capacity of the University to discharge its responsibilities, including prompt payment of salaries, and release of Union and Cooperative deductions.
It is, therefore, disheartening to note that because of the drastic drop in subvention, which amounts to under-funding, the University is owing ASUU-AAUA over 12 million naira (Twelve million naira only) as members check-off dues, while the Academic Staff Cooperative Multipurpose Society (ASCMS) is being owned over 100 million naira (One hundred million naira only), which are deductions from academic staff salaries.
As a result of non-release of the Union’s check-off dues, it has become extremely difficult for the Union to carry out some of its statutory functions to members in particular and to the general public, while the ASCMS is also going through difficult challenges in promptly meeting the financial needs of its members as the Union and ASCMS have not received their deductions since January 2020 asides the backlog of other deductions.
The Branch Chairperson explained that, despite the fact that AAUA had been rated as the best state University in Nigeria on several occasions and also in the 2020 webometrics ranking due to the commitment and dedication of staff of the University to the goals of University education, it is heartrending and unfortunate that the same members of staff are being subjected to poverty and penury as a result of non-payment of staff salaries as and when due.
Consequently, the once vibrant University campus is now full of staff with sad faces, wallowing in pains, sickness, deprivation, want, frustration and perhaps haplessness.
The Union urges the State Government, as a matter of urgency, to bail the University out of its present financial predicament, as a short term measure, in order for the University to pay outstanding salaries of July, August, September and October 2020 and also the 10 months outstanding Union and Cooperative deductions in order to avoid imminent crisis and industrial disharmony.
“As a long-term measure, the budgetary allocation (subvention) to Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko should be appreciably increased to be able to accommodate staff wage bills and other University activities.
The Union is calling on the Governing Council of the University under the leadership of Barr. Tunji Abayomi, to assist the University in terms of sourcing for funds and also persuading the Visitor and Governor of the State to urgently intervene so as to rescue members of staff and University from extinction.