OSUN – In a bid to refine academic unionism to foster quality education in the Nigerian university system, a newly formed academic union in Nigerian universities, Congress of University Academics (CONUA), has made a call for a stable academic calendar.
Addressing journalists after its first national stakeholder forum at the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, Osun State, at the weekend, the National Coordinator of the union, Niyi Ismaheel, said the union is set to adopt new methods in engaging with other stakeholders in the sector to ensure stability in the university system.
While assuring that it is ready to champion as well as address the lingering crisis of members welfare, he also pledged to ensure that unnecessary industrial crisis in the sector is put to rest so that students can return to classes.
“For standard of education to be very high, we need a stable academic calendar, we need to be able to predict academic session, we need to have innovations which are difficult without continuity.
We also need to be attuned with modern realities. Our union would approach the matter of engagement with all stakeholders in an engaging manner to have a common ground for moving forward.
“Our union believes we should have alternative ways of solving problems. We have been at this for over three years in Ife, we have been waxing stronger and members from other universities have been experiencing what we experienced here, hence, the decision to come together to form a national union.
“Our strength lies in our focus, which includes, the welfare of our members, secondly would be the interest of the system and most importantly is the third stakeholders, the students that no one is defending their interest, we would look out for them because we are only lecturers because of them”, he added.
According to him, the union which started in OAU now has Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Federal University, Lokoja and Kwara State University, Molete as members.
He noted that the union is putting necessary documentation in place for official recognition by the university management and the government.
Meanwhile, Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has said that the ministry is yet to register the union even as he confirmed that they submitted their application for registration as a union in April.
“We have not yet registered the union. Their application is in the ministry. We are still looking at their application. I asked a committee to look at it.” said Ngige.
When asked if the ministry will consider registering the union which is perceived will duplicate functions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the minister said he is awaiting the report and recommendations of the committee he setup to look at the application.