The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University, (AAU), Ekpoma Chapter has expressed doubt on the ability of the Special Visitation Panel set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki to come up with an unbiased report at the end of its sitting.
In a statement issued in Benin City on Tuesday by Dr. Monday Igbafen and Dr. Azebioje-Coker Anthony, the Chairperson and the Secretary of ASUU AAU, Ekpoma respectively, the Union said the panel’s maiden visit to the University on Wednesday October 28, 2020, showed that the chairman of the panel, Prof. I. K. Omoruyi and his team are going to do the bidding of the management to the detriment of the staff and students of the University.
According to the Union, “our attention has been drawn to the news report to the effect that the special Visitation Panel to AAU, Ekpoma set up by the visitor to the University, Governor Godwin Obaseki visited the Ambrose Alli University on Wednesday October 28, 2020, wherein the Chairman of the Panel, Prof I.K. Omoruyi, claimed to have met with the stakeholders of the University, calling for their cooperation and support.
“Whereas the members of the Panel led by its Chairman actually visited the University on the said date whereas the Panel visited the Onogie of Ekpoma and the Chairman of Esan West Local Government Area, the Panel took a hasty marathon tour of some new projects in the University. And the Panel was closely led and provided guidance throughout the visit by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. I.A Onimawo and his team, was lavishly treated to a luncheon by the University Administration at the University’s Faculty of Management sciences; but sadly, the special Visitation Panel never met with the major stakeholders in the University on the said date.”
“The hope of workers, students and staff Unions in the University to receive the members of the Panel in a town hall meeting in the University was dashed as no formal invitation was extended to them for a meeting, not to mention having the knowledge of the Panel’s itinerary,” the union stated.
The Union further emphasised that some staff who were intimated of the said visit of the Panel waited in their various offices throughout the day without seeing the members of the Panel, adding that worst still was the fact that Academic Staff of the various Faculties who were asked to wait for the Panel in the Faculties waited in vain.
The Union insisted that “it is therefore suspicious and misleading for the Panel to claim to have met with the stakeholders in the University as elaborately reported in the print and electronic media, quoting the Chairman of the Panel, Prof. I. K. Omoruyi.”
ASUU also said it was in deep shock and disbelief over the statement credited to the Chairman of the Panel to the effect that “the Visitation Panel is in the University campus to meet with the management team of the institution, so as to work together towards uplifting the University.”
The Union maintained that having weighed the merits of the said visit and the specific statements credited to the Panel’s Chairman, “ASUU in the University is sad to observe that the Panel may have lost the requisite moral compass to do justice to the onerous task of unearthing the alleged gargantuan corruption and other malfeasances in the University, even as stressed by the Visitor to the University during the inauguration of the present Governing Council of the University in October 2018.”
“While not casting aspersion on the Panel, the said Panel’s visit, the false claim of meeting with stakeholders and the promise to take side with the University Administration all call to question the integrity and capacity of this Panel to achieve the expected laudable mission, which the government and the concerned stakeholders are anxiously yearning for.
“Just as other concerned major stakeholders in the University, ASUU AAU, Ekpoma is greatly perturbed by this development”, the Union said.
ASUU recalled that against the backdrop of a plethora of reports of alleged massive corruption, mal-administration, abuse of due-process and assault on regulations and law of the University, the panel was set up.