A professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, Ndukaeze Nwabueze, has urged the leadership of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to look after members interest rather than fighting proxy wars.
Prof Nwabueze in a statement said the university staff union had no constitutionally defined standing in the misunderstanding between the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council and the management of the University of Lagos.
He said, “ASUU, Unilag has no constitutionally defined standing in the misunderstanding between the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council and the management of the University of Lagos. Our union is neither PRO nor the ‘aluta’ wing of management. The union had neither declared a trade dispute against the council of which Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, is the Chair.
“On the other hand, management, to the best of my knowledge, has not declared inability to state its own side of the dispute if a conducive dispute settlement atmosphere was to be provided for that purpose. This is the path of honour which I would have supported my union to play in these circumstances.
“As I have made abundantly clear to my highly respected chairman, where two parties are engaged in a fight, a responsible third person will not come in to take sides and conflagrate rather than douse the tension. I feel that by descending into the arena of conflict and supporting one side against the other, the union is not only pouring petrol on a smouldering fire, it is fanning the embers of unending dispute. This is not in the interest of council, management, members of ASUU, other unions on campus, the entire staff, students, parents and guardians, the university community as a whole, our alumni, friends and the public in contact.
“Our union is behaving more like a misguided students’ union. It goes on the war path for the slightest provocation. Where is collective bargaining, dialogue, mediation, arbitration or even lobbying? Not too long ago, the union embarked on its ‘struggle’ approach over a member’s case. That matter was settled to the happiness of all parties not towing the combative approach of the union. This matter between the council and management shall be settled without any input by this union. I can bet anybody this prediction. The consequence? Our union is gradually sliding into functional irrelevance and, soon, our views will neither be sought nor matter anymore going forward.”
Prof Nwabueze further appealed to the university’s council and management to settle the misunderstanding between the duo amicably.