Strike: We'll Not Welcome Our New Governor With Industrial Action - ASUU COOU

  By Mmadubuchi Onwumelu

The entire members of Progressive Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, have unanimously opposed to the industrial action about to be embark upon by ASUU National, stating that it would be out of place to welcome the incoming University's visitor with Industrial action which according to them, had not yielded any result 

 Addressing newsmen at the COOU, Igbariam Campus, the Interim Chairman of Progressive Academic Staff, COOU, Professor Osita Chiaghanam made Clarion call to safeguard the institution against those he described as agents of destabilization and destruction masquerading as Unionists.

'The university community, especially the academic staff in Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) is hereby placed on red alert to beware of a sinister and wicked plot by enemies of peace and merchants of doom to invade the university and ply their trade of blackmail, distortion, disruption and destruction.

'The latest plot being bandied by the hatchet men of a ruinous dark past as ASUU-COOU RECONCILIATORY CONGRESS is nothing but a well-rehearsed gangup to recruit sympathisers to feather their self-warming nest of infamy. Sensing that their mission is dead-on-arrival as usual, the meddlesome interlopers have resorted to mudslinging, cheap blackmail and arm twisting just to make an in-road into the conscience of a few unsuspecting members of the university community. 

'Make no pretense about it, the only goal of these sly invasionists and their cohorts is to truncate the  industrial harmony in our university and erode all gains of the university's stable academic calendar,' he said. 

 Prof  Chiaghanam recalled that certain individuals invaded the university in September 2020 and failed woefully despite their truckload of frenzied falsehood against the university management, noting that Now they were back again. 

'The marauders must be told in clear terms that COOU is a community of people of honour committed to the best ideals of responsible unionism.

'It is an old fashioned  single story for the self-serving czars of stomach infrastructure to signpost nonpayment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and Pensions at a time the university is reaping the gains of having a visionary management that courageously manned up to the ruins of the university's past and changed the narratives for good.

'Yes, a ruinous past that was characterised by low staff morale, aridity, disenchantment and traumatising impoverishment of staff and systems brought about by the unbridled greed of power-hungry individuals that took the old university administration hostage and made COOU their personal vassal and fiefdom where abuse of office, embezzlement, impunity and iniquity held sway. 

 'It beats no imagination that these locusts and cankerworms that championed and chaperoned the ignoble past have suddenly donned the robe of unionism in their desperate bid to regain access to the university coffers and reactivate their habitual pillage and plunder of our university. God forbid,' he stated.


In their separate speeches, the interim Secretary, Professor Ngangan, the Interim Public Relations Officer, Prof Kingsley Nwuozor and Prof Ezeogidi described ASUU National as responsible Trade Union, noting that they were not against ASUU national leadership, adding that they would not allow unscrupulous elements to use the ASUU COOU platform to perpetuate evil in the University. 

 Continuing, Professor Chiaghanam said they were for peace and progress of the University.

'Truth be told, before the advent of Professor Greg Nwakoby as the Vice Chancellor of our great university, the university was borrowing money to pay salaries. Not only did he stop the borrowing culture, he cleared all the debts running close to a billion Naira. As expected, the beneficiaries and commission-earners of the debt era went on rampage but could not prevail.

'Every labourer is worth their wage. In a clime where many sister universities are owing salaries up to eight calendar months, COOU is consistent in up-to-the-minute payment of salaries. This is an entitlement the university management evidently vowed to pursue as a matter of top priority. COOU does not owe salaries.

'Against the push and pull of beneficiaries of the old order of favour-currying-for-promotions, the Nwakoby administration in COOU broke all barriers to staff promotions ensuring that staff that merit promotions are so promoted without discrimination with attendant financial obligations of such promotions promptly implemented.

'During one of their presentations to the university council, the unionists despite recognizing the impercunious state of the university, demanded for the remittance of National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions and completion of all abandoned projects in the university. A simple audit showed the contractors aided by certain pretender unionists had abandoned site after collecting almost complete payments from  past administrations in the university. Professor Nwakoby went to work. He not only completed the abandoned projects but mobilized resources to commence and complete new projects

'The same great move to complete abandoned projects in the university caused him to muster funds with which the ASUU Secretariat in COOU was completed. Further to his union-friendly gestures, he paid arrears of check-off dues from 2015 with only four months remaining to be paid.

'Despite the humongous arrears of unpaid NHF contributions by past administrations of the university, the Nwakoby administration acceded to union demands with prompt payment and remittance of NHF contributions with real-time payment alerts sent to all contributors.

'It is either ignorance or  utter mischief that would associate Professor Greg Nwakoby with non payment of pensions. For proper records, Prof. Nwakoby paid the university arrears of contributory pension that accumulated from February 2017 and has paid up to October 2021. The only thing that is left is the state government part of the contributory pension.

'Following the racketeering and bastardisation of COOU certificates, investigations revealed the existence of a colony of purported affiliates awarding degrees of the university contrary to NUC standards even in programmes not known to COOU. As a Professor of Law determined to preserve the integrity of the university's certificates, the Vice Chancellor took appropriate legal steps and routed the degree-churning mills that were parading as affiliates. No doubt, the promoters of the old order didn't go to sleep. For all they care, COOU under Professor Nwakoby must be pulled down.

'The essence of internal members in University councils is to give members of the university community a bold voice in council. Interestingly, the promoters of the latest attempt to disrupt the smooth-running of COOU were variously elected into the University Council but never made a case for EAA or Staff Pensions. The question is, what changed now that they are no longer in the university council? 

'Customary to his persona and antecedents, Professor Greg Nwakoby is committed to optimal welfare of every member of the university community. As we await the inauguration of the new University Council, there is no doubt that the arms of the university management will be stregthened to deliver all the dividends of responsible University administration as agreed with law-abiding and well-meaning members of the university community. 

'Finally, it is important to highlight that no crisis, no matter how highly wired will thrive in any university if the university community decides against it. It is on this wise that every staff of COOU is called upon to be vigilant against the antics of merchants of discord and disunity parading as unionists on a self-assigned mission of steal, kill and destroy.

'One final word to the pretender unionists. The university community is sufficiently motivated to fiercely resist any attempt no matter how veiled to lure any segment of the recognised unions into any kind of strike be it local or national. As a responsibly managed state university, the academic community in COOU is no longer available to escort any individual or group on national strikes that profit nothing to state universities. 

'Our eyes are wide open and our ears are on the ground. COOU is one happy family under God,' he concluded.



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