The crisis rocking the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, over the appointment of a Vice Chancellor, got messier at the weekend.
Members of Non Academic Staff of University (NASU) of the institution allegedly beat up some national officers of the union who came to the institution to affect the directive of the national secretariat on the dissolution of the OAU chapter of NASU.
The National Secretariat of the NASU had ordered the dissolution of its OAU chapter following persistent protests by the union members over the appointment of new Vice Chancellor of the university.
The union had directed NASU executive in OAU to shun the protests because the union had intervened at higher level.
The National Headquarters of the NASU in a letter dated June 21, 2016 dissolved its OAU Branch Committee.
The letter referenced NASU/UV/5/Vol.XVII/102 and signed by NASU National General Secretary, Mr. Peters Adeyemi, accused the OAU executive of disobeying the constitution of the union and therefore directed the union’s executive at OAU to hand-over all NASU properties in their care.
“In accordance with Rule 22 (1 and 5c) of NASU constitution therefore, the OAU Branch Committee is dissolved with effect from 20th June 2016 over persistent violation of the content of the Constitution,” the letter read in part.
However, the development did not go down well with the OAU chapter, which insisted that Professor Ayobami Salami would not take over the mantle of leadership of the university unless certain conditions were met.
Among the conditions is the payment of their hazard allowance running to over 64 months among others.
Apart from beating up the national officials, NASU at the institution also confiscated the vehicle that brought the officials to OAU.
NASU at OAU had alleged that the appointment of Professor Salami was faulty and that the process should reviewed.
A member of NASU in OAU said, “They (the national officials) thought that we are fools and will compromise. After fighting and risking all our lives, they want to come and take over all that we possess. Even if our executives agree, do they think that we will allow them?
“We did not injure anyone. Members only prevented the handing over from taking place. We did not beat them except that we slapped the head of one of them.”
Comrade Wole Odewunmi, chair of NASU OAU, said that the leadership of the union was shocked at the incident because they have agreed to hand over to the National Headquarters.
“We are actually prepared to hand over but our members acted contrary. We have documented all the assets and ready to account to them (representatives) but unfortunately some of our members refused to let us hand over.
“There was no injury and I have ensured that the vehicle is returned. We did not see the handing over as a big deal because we are sure that everything will be returned after the crisis has been resolved.”
Mr. Peters Adeyemi, national general secretary of NASU, insisted that the OAU branch of NASU remained dissolved.
“To the best of my knowledge, that branch has been dissolved and it is even in the public space that they have changed the name to Integrity Workers Union.
“I have not been able to reach the representatives that we sent for details yet”.