The Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU], Calabar zone, has expressed disappointment at the way some governors establish state universities without backing same with necessary laws.
The union warned that such may affect the autonomy of the institutions.
The zonal chairman, Dr Aniekan Brown, while addressing journalists in Uyo, said for most state universities to be competitive, governors should stop playing politics with their establishment, and should do such in line with laid down laws as recorded in the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act of 2012.
“It is worrisome that only seven state-owned universities have their laws in conformity with the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act of 2012, while 26 are partially compliant. In most of the institutions, the “non-demonetisation” of the Act gives room for university administrators and governors to trample on the autonomy of the institutions by usurping powers of governing councils and Senate.x
“Evidence of this could be gleaned from the manipulation of the composition or non-constitution of councils. For instance, the Yobe State University Law stipulates a five-year single tenure but was repealed and replaced with a four-year renewable tenure for the position of vice chancellor.
“In Ebonyi State University, there is no Chancellor and government is yet to constitute a new council since it was dissolved in November 2020. At the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, the vice chancellor, has acted for 15 months. Currently, the autonomy of Kaduna State University is under intense threat, as it is placed under supervision of both the state ministry of finance despite the existence of council.
The union subsequently called on all concerned to set in motion necessary steps for domestication of the Act to allow autonomy in state universities in line with national and global standards.
ASUU also expressed concern over funding of state universities, alleging that some governors now rely on TETFUND and sometimes divert such money to establish new institutions.
The union lamented that poor funding of state universities has resulted in poor state of capital projects in these institutions.
“In some instances, governors divert allocation meant for existing institutions from TETFUND to establish their politically motivated universities. The inadequacy or absence of funding for capital projects has overtly manifested in the dearth of well-equipped workshop, libraries, studios, classrooms, hostels, utilities and municipal services.”
The union, therefore, called on stakeholders to ensure that the impending crisis in state-owned universities are averted.
“ASUU is committed to working for industrial harmony in all universities including those owned by states. However, this commitment can only be sustained if the respective governors and councils take urgent steps to address the nagging issues highlighted so far.
ASUU urged governors to as a matter of urgency, make adequate budgetary provision for both capital and recurrent expenditure for infrastructure, staff development and payment of staff emoluments starting with 2022 budget.”x