Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, have been re-assured that nothing would disrupt the conduct of the 2017/2018 Rain Semester Examinations as the University Management has put every machinery in motion to make it hitch-free.
It is very expedient to issue this press statement not only to make this clarification but also to emphasize the readiness of the university to conduct the examinations as scheduled, contrary to the falsehood which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife branch has been peddling about on the true position of things on OAU campus.
Certainly, it will amount to gross deceit to claim that the current strike has been effective at OAU. It will not be out of place to describe the strike as the most ineffective, ever, in the history of OAU as academic and administrative activities have continued unabated. No form of interruption, whatsoever, have academic activities including teaching, learning and research, suffered since the strike began.
The general public is quite aware that the 43rd Convocation Ceremony for the 2015/2016 and 2016/3017 graduating sets of the University was successfully held from Tuesday, 11th to Friday, 14th December, 2018. Even statutory meetings of the University such as senate, Administrative Staff Committee meetings, Appointments and Promotions Committee (A&PC) meetings, Development Committee meetings, Junior Staff Committee meetings and the Procurement Committee meetings all held as scheduled.
In addition to all these, the University played host to several national and international conferences including a very unique one on the Application of Information and Communications Technology to Teaching, Research and Administration held from the 11th to 14th November, 2018. Many professional bodies visited for collaboration or accreditation purposes, and the University received a substantial number of important guests. The faculties of Clinical Sciences, Environmental Design and Management and Social Sciences successfully had their annual conferences and Faculty weeks. During the period the nationwide strike commenced and now, there have been a flurry of academic, research and social activities, unprecedented in the history of our university.
All these would not have been possible without the full cooperation of the academic members of staff who ASUU mischievously claimed had been on strike in OAU! The University has also enjoyed the cooperation of non-teaching staff who are quite conversant with the issues at a stake and can easily recognize the need to keep the Senate approved calendar of the University sacrosanct at this time.
To further set the record straight concerning ASUU’s lies, at a Management meeting held on December 17, 2018, reports from Provosts and Deans indicated that effective and efficient teaching had been carried out in all Faculties even though a few lecturers (less than 20 among an academic staff population of over 1300) had not completed the teaching of their assigned courses. Their teaching assignments have been reassigned to other academic members of staff who have gladly taken up the challenge to ensure that we have a smooth academic session.
The University administration and the generality of the students will forever be grateful to them for their sacrifice. They have lived up to the expectations of the new Obafemi Awolowo University that is devoid of disruptions of the academic calendar. A rebranded OAU that will no longer graduate students with many extra years, who have never failed any course but simply suffered the misfortune of incessant strikes.
OAU is running a Senate approved calendar and this cannot be jettisoned based on the whims and caprices of a very insignificant number of academic staff. As of today in 2019, OAU is still in the 2017/2018 academic session and yet to commence the 2018/2019 session not to talk of the 2019/2020 session which should be the ideal. Our esteemed parents, guardians and other stakeholders should please note that it is no longer the intention of OAU to cancel academic sessions as had been in the practice in the past.
The University authorities will like to implore ASUU to join this progressive movement and think of a proper and better way of resolving differences other than truncating the academic progress and future career of hardworking students. It is condemnable that ASUU condemned the reallocation of courses to lecturers who voluntarily accepted to teach these courses. It will be good if ASUU can name any of its members who had been forcefully assigned a course.
The truth is that the OAU community has realized that incessant strikes compromise standards and has spoken with a very loud voice to reject this archaic model as an instrument for conflict resolution in modern citadels of learning. One is glad ASUU participated actively at the Council Retreat held late last year where firm decisions were taken on the future of OAU. The administration will continue to support all genuine efforts to improve the welfare of the staff but this will not be at the detriment of the students and the denigration and desecration of the ideals and reputation of GREAT IFE. All-and-sundry must strive to justify the vision and labours of the founding fathers of our university.
It is on record that at the beginning of the strike in November 2018, ASUU OAU branch’s officials went to the students’ hostels to incite and compel them to vacate the halls, an attempt that failed woefully. The University authorities have been reliably informed that they have again gone to inform the students of the need to go home and shun the forthcoming examinations. They even circulated misleading documents in the halls of residence.
Students are not members of ASUU and it will be interesting to know why ASUU is so desperate to misinform and incite them. One would have thought ASUU would exercise decorum and limit its incursion to academic members of staff who are supposed to be its members. If there are no lectures and the strike is effective why are the students still on campus more than two months after the commencement of the strike? Discernible minds will like to know why ASUU is so desperate to cause confusion and misperception, if the academic members of the university community are truly not strike and are not teaching or ready to conduct examinations.
As ASUU is aware, only the University Senate can alter the academic calendar, and the same senate has reaffirmed the sanctity of the calendar for the current academic session. The failure of the strike in OAU is traceable to the lack of transparency, insincerity and insensitivity of the local leadership of ASUU in recent years. A trait that is still, unfortunately, very apparent in its letter and misleading document circu-lated to students. It is unthinkable for an insigni-ficant few to attempt to force their views on the vast majority and dictate to them how they should run their lives, order their career and fulfill their obligations to their students, institution, state and nation.
ASUU should please be informed that it is the wish and expectation of the University administration that it will reason along with the vast majority, who have the interest and advancement of the University at heart, to conduct the examinations which is scheduled to commence on the 14th of January, 2019. It is also expected that ASUU and its few sympathizers and, or, supporters in OAU will show true allegiance to our university and render their contractual obligations to the University instead of playing to the gallery.
The University authorities will want to point it out to ASUU OAU branch that it is against the regulation of the University to conduct official matters first in the media before utilizing official channels, and should in future desist from such behaviour.