OAU.NASU-Chair.interviewWhen Professor Tale Omole emerged as Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, five years ago, the trade unions on campus protested over the process that brought him in. They also expressed concern over his questionable antecedence. They have been vindicated. His tenure is best described as full of such atrocities as; mismanagement of university funds, unlawful and unwarranted suspension of student activists, poor and endangering welfare conditions for the students, failure to pay workers arrears and allowances, diversion of workers’ wages and salaries for personal uses amongst many other. The most recent of his atrocities and of high concern is the violation of existing democratic traditions and attempts to forcefully impose a new VC on the university community, using a crooked method to conduct an unpopular election that produced a Prof. Salami as VC -elect. The university workers in the joint congress of NASU OAU branch and SSANU, OAU branch, held on the 23rd of March, 2016 condemned the attempts of the VC to impose someone who will continue the anti-workers trend of his predecessors and also in order to cover his tracks.

The workers rejected the candidacy of Prof. Salami and called on the Federal Government not to consider him or any person forwarded to the FG with the undemocratic method. The NASU chairperson in his speech reiterated that as the workers in the university they are the many and have a huge stake in the university community. He further demanded that the workers must be allowed to elect the VC of the university. And also the workers demanded that the outgoing VC of the university in person of Prof. Tale Omole must be probed.

The university management generated huge capital through the IGR and also more fund came into the university through support for marking the golden jubilee anniversary of the university. Yet, there is no tangible developmental project in the university, as a matter of fact the hall of residence of the students are not only in poor conditions but are in dangerous states.

The school library remains ill-equipped and so also the school laboratories. The lecture halls are not enough and are in poor condition, likewise the management owes the workers arrears and allowances, and there is issue of double deduction in workers’ salaries.  So the question that begs urgent reply and not only reply but mass mobilization and action is, where did all these monies go to? Before the introduction if TSA by the FG as at last year the university management had 43 active accounts.

We in the SYL (Socialist Youth League) stand with the workers and also charge the president Buhari-led FG to extend its anti-corruption fight into the university, especially OAU and more specifically Prof. Tale Omole, he must not escape with the workers’ wages, the management should pay the workers allowances and arrears, without delay.

by Lai Browne