The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in reaction to a threat by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) members to boycott the rain semester examination, has insisted that the examination will hold.
This newspaper earlier reported how, in an open letter to students sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the OAU branch of ASUU said it will not conduct examinations owing to the ongoing nationwide strike by university lecturers.
The union declared an indefinite strike action on November 4 last year over non-implementation of previous agreements by the federal government and demanded for increased university funding.
Several attempts by the federal government to get the workers back to work have failed as meetings held with the union leaders ended in deadlock.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported that against the declaration of the ASUU national body, a parallel union, Congress of Nigerian Universities’ Academics (CONUA) in OAU had refused to join the industrial action, thereby causing more confusion.
Some lecturers have stopped attending classes while some are still teaching.
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview, the spokesperson of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the management is undaunted by the threats of the lecturers and examination will commence next week Monday as scheduled.
“Some lecturers from the CONUA have been working while some of the ASUU counterparts have refused to attend classes. It is not possible for us to boycott exams because some lecturers have decided not to go to class,” he said.
Speaking on ‘illegal’ reallocation of some courses to other lecturers who have no expertise in them as alleged by ASUU, Mr Olanrewaju said since the ASUU lecturers decided to withdraw their services, the management has “sought for alternatives”.
Giving an analogy of a driver who has refused to drive a car, he said; “the fact that one is not driving a car doesn’t stop others from driving it. Let them see if the car will not move”.
When asked about departments that had shut down academic activities, he stated that “no department has been shut down that I know of”.
But when examples were cited, he didn’t clarify his stance.
Mr Olanrewaju, who described the ASUU members as ‘being threatened’ also condemned the threat of boycotting examination.
Meanwhile, PREMIUM TIMES correspondent confirmed some departments like chemical engineering and botany were shut down by ASUU lecturers for over four weeks before the holidays.
Also, some students who earlier spoke with this newspaper on grounds of anonymity lamented the refusal of the school management to extend the academic calendar.
A Part 3 student of Botany told our reporter that for four weeks out of the 12 weeks scheduled for lectures, students in her department have been idle “because none of the lecturers attended classes fixed”.
Another student from chemical engineering department said there is no way the students can meet up with the workload without an extension in the school timetable.
A student from English Department said: “the attendance of lecturers in this department has not been regular and several lecturers have given assignments without covering a reasonable length of the topics in the syllabuses.”
On Monday, the Secretary of CONUA, Henri Oripeloye, corroborated the stance of the university.
“We are bound by the university rules. So if the university says exams will hold, so shall it be.”
He also said there was nothing wrong with the school’s decision to allocate some courses earlier taught by ASUU lecturers to CONUA lecturers.