11th April, 2021
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
The management of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State, has assured members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), that efforts were on by the state government to adress the current funding challenges facing the institution.
It, however, cautioned the leadership of ASUU in University, under the leadership of Dr. Monday Igbafen, to shun pursuit of personal vendetta, vilification and malicious mudslinging on the person of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, and face the welfare of its members.
Recall that the institution’s chapter ASUU had asked students of the University to hold the VC responsible, if the indefinite strike embarked by its members on 25 March, gets unnecessarily prolonged.
The University’s spokesman, Edward Aihevba in a statement on Sunday, absolved Prof. Onimawo of blame in the inability of the University to pay outstanding salaries arrears and check-off dues, adding that the the VC has nothing to gain from a prolonged strike by the Union.
According to the Aihevba, “ASUU leadership under the watch of Dr. Monday Igbafen, has expressed negativity and clandestine resolve for the pursuit of a personal vendetta, vilification and malicious mudslinging of the person of the Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, a man whose achievements and contribution to the growth and development of Ambrose Alli University is unparalleled.
“Rather than encouraging Union strike, our amiable Vice-chancellor, with the love of the University at heart, has appealed to the staff to seek an alternative solution to the problem of funding in the University, rather than the total strike that seeks to close down the University and threaten its very survival.”
The University’s spokesman further noted that while subventions to the University continues to drop, the VC managed to pay staff salaries till March 2020, through prudent management of reduced IGR.
He lamented that rather than commending the visionary leadership of the VC, the leadership of ASUU of the institution continues to blame the University management for the outstanding payments.
“In March, 2020 the subvention coming to the University from the State Government, dropped to less than half of what it used to be. In September 2020, it further dropped to less than one quarter of its former level.
“The sudden adverse financial situation in the University was complicated by the fact that from March 2020, the Covid-19 lockdown coupled with the national ASUU strike kept students out of the University till February, 2021.
“This made Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR), which was used to augment subvention for the payment of salaries, to be totally unavailable.
“The University Management had managed to pay salaries by prudent management of the subvention and IGR up till March 2020.
“When subvention dropped drastically and at the same time IGR dropped during Covid-19, the University Management was still able by dint of prudent Management to pay net salary up till December, 2020. The University Management should be commended for this feat.
“The public should be made aware that the generality of the staff know where the problem lies, and that it is definitely not the management.
“The State Governor and Visitor to the University has promised to make a statement at the end of April 2021, to redress the current funding situation,” he assured.