5th September, 2012
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said today it will continue its strike until Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi appoints a new vice-chancellor for the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST). Dr Felix Igwe, the union chairman of the university gave this indication in Port Harcourt today.
Governor Amaechi had told newsmen on September 1 in Berlin, Germany, that ASUU should take his government to court if it was convinced that it breached the law.
Amaechi said it was the Governor’s prerogative to appoint a vice-chancellor of the university.
Igwe, however, said Amaechi breached the law of the university in the appointment of Professor Barineme Fakae as vice-chancellor of the university.
He refuted a statement credited to Amaechi that the university was governed by the state law and could not be dictated to by union’s national leadership in appointment of a vice-chancellor.
“The visitor (Amaechi) is not a member of staff of this university; the visitor’s responsibility to appoint the vice-chancellor is indicated in the university law which says that the visitor will appoint the vice-chancellor acting on the recommendation of the selection committee from Senate and Council.
“He cannot just appoint anybody he wants; he will not go to mile three market and pick anybody and appoint as vice-chancellor; this is an educational institution for God’s sake.
“The process was started according to the law and the process concluded according to the law.”
The union leader said Amaechi was wrong in his assertion that some members of the University Governing Council were not qualified for appointment as vice-chancellor.
Igwe said the state government’s claim was due to Fakae’s failure to emerge successful from the screening exercise.
“It was not indicated that if you are a member of the Governing Council or member of the Senate you cannot apply; if this was a condition for not applying for the position why didn’t they screen them out.
“The vice-chancellor; the one he (Amaechi) has picked is also a member of the university Governing Council; so it’s a funny reason to give.
“A situation where a lame excuse is just been given because the man that they wanted did not emerge among the first three (candidates from screening exercise).
On threats that salary would not be paid to the striking lecturers, Igwe said that if government goes ahead with the threat, the union would also resort to further strike.
On the university’s management directive for students to report for examinations on 17 September, Igwe said that the management was trying to create the impression that academic activities were on-going in the university.
According to him, lecturers will not resume academic activities until Amaechi appoints a substantive vice-chancellor from the best three candidates who emerged during the screening exercise. (NAN)