The Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU], Calabar Zone, has expressed disappointment at the way and manner some state governments established state universities without backing same with enabling laws.
According to the union, such portend danger as most state governors use such to interfere with the autonomy of the institution.
This observation was made by the Chairman of ASUU, Calabar zone, Dr. Aniekan Brown, while addressing journalists in Uyo as a fall out of the Union’s National Executive meeting held at the University of Ilorin earlier in August.
Brown explained that for most state universities be worth the status, state governors should stop playing politics with it establishment, but should do such inline with laid down laws as entrenched in the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act of 2012.
“This is worrying that only seven state-owned universities have their laws in conformity with the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act of 2012 while 26 others are partially compliant. In most of the universities, the non-demonetization of the Act gives room for university administrators and governors to trample on the autonomy of the universities by usurping the powers of governing Councils and Senate.
“Evidence of this could be gleaned from the manipulation of the composition or non-constitution of Governing 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 For instance, the Yobe state university law stipulates a five year single tenure but was repealed and replaced with a four year renewable tenure for the position of Vice Chancellor.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 Eboyi state University, there is no Chancellor and the government is yet to constitute a new Governing Council since it was dissolved in November 2020. At Enugu state University of Science and Technology, the Vice Chancellor has acted for 15 months. Currently, the autonomy of the Kaduna state university is under intense threat as it is placed under supervision of both the state ministry of fiance and despite the existence of governing council.
“ASUU call on all concern to immediately set in motion necessary steps for domestication of the Universities [Miscellaneous Provision Amendment] Act to allow for exercise of autonomy in these state universities in line with the national and global standards.
According to the ASUU, Calabar zone, another area of concern to the union has to do with funding to state Universities, where the union noted that most state governors now rely on TETFUND and sometimes divert such money to establish new university.
The union further noted that poor funding of state universities has resulted in poor state of capital projects in these institutions, adding that, some state governors, divert allocations meant for existing institutions from TETFND to establish university.
“In some instances, state government 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, municipal services”.
The Union therefore call on powers that be the put all hands on deck to ensure that the impending crisis in the state owned universities are averted.
“ASUU is committed to working for industrial harmony in all universities including those owned by state government. However, this commitment can only be sustained if the respective Visitors and Governing Councils take urgent steps to address the nagging issues highlighted so far. Therefore, we call on all owners of state universities 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”.