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There is tension in the Anambra State–owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, over plans to elongate the tenure of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Fidelis Okafor.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities and the non-teaching staff are at war over the matter.
The tenure of the incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof Fidelis Okafor is expected to end in September.
Apparently, pre-empting the visitor of the university, Governor Willie Obiano, the university’s ASUU had written the governor asking him not to re-appoint Okafor.
It asked the governor to appoint another person to replace Okafor.
But at a news conference at the Igbariam campus of the university on Thursday, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, National Association of Academic Technologists, and Non Academic Staff Union urged Governor Obiano to ignore ASUU led by Emeka Nwabunnia.
The unions said, “The letter from ASUU branch of our university addressed to the governor showed that the union was ignorant.
“It is either that ASUU does not know the contents of our university law, which took effect from 11th September, 2014, or as usual, the union intends to use the letter to extend further rascality in the university community.”
It further said “Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University law, Ref: ANHA/LAW.2014.12, which our governor signed on the 12th of November, 2014, took a retrospective effect from 11th September, 2014.
“The Anambra State University of Science and Technology Law, 2000 (which later became Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Univerity) had been repealed and so, the law governing this university took effect from September, 2014.
“What this means is that the tenure of Professor Okafor as the vice chancellor of COOU took effect from 11th September, 2014 and will end on 11th September, 2019.”
It further said, “Having thoroughly read the university’s law, we also note that the Governing Council of our university is fully aware of its duties and as such, did not declare any vacancy for the office of the vice chancellor of COOU because none exists.”
It maintained that Nwabunnia-led ASUU and his group had taken actions that were inimical to the growth of the university, adding that there must be an end to such rascality.
Former SSANU chairman in the university, Mr. Vincent Asoegwu, who spoke on behalf of the unions, said the ASUU chairman and his group were always behaving as if they were the only stakeholders in the university, adding that they often act unilaterally on matters affecting the entire university community.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on their part , had urged the state government to appoint a new acting vice chancellor for the institution.
The ASUU chairman, Emeka Nwabunnia, enjoined the government to shelve the idea of re-appointing the incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof. Fidelis Okafor, saying it would amount to “tenure elongation.”
Nwabunnia said the institution had no properly constituted and functioning governing council since January 2015 that would ensure the smooth appointment of an acting vice chancellor after Prof. Okafor.
He said, “It is the governing council that ought to announce the vacancy for the seat of the vice chancellor which is usually made six months to the end of the incumbent’s tenure but that has not been done.”
The union, he said, had written to various stakeholders to get the management and government to do the right thing.
Nwabunnia alleged that despite the union’s advice, the government was planning to appoint Okafor as the acting VC after his substantive tenure.
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“This is unacceptable to the union; the law has to be followed. Someone can’t work in acting capacity, then work on substantive capacity and then go back to work on acting capacity.”
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