A former Vice Chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba (AAUA) Professor Nahzeem Olufemi Mimiko has recommended the regulation of workers’ unions in Universities.
Mimiko stated this while delivering a keynote address at a seminar organized by Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) on Monday.
Speaking at the conference with the theme: “Getting our Universities Back on Track: Conversation on Higher Education in Nigeria”, Mimiko stressed that one of the problems militating against universities’ governance was the activities of the unions and pressure groups like ASUU, NASU, Student Unions, among others.
He said “To achieve effective university governance, there is need to rein in the unions or our universities won’t be able to compete globally. Unions want to be consulted in everything, including the management of funds and even apointments.
“To me, it constitutes what can be described as a handshake above the elbow when unions, during protests, lock up the gates of the institutions, disrupt movement, cut off water and electricity.
“Unions should be organized on how to add value not just to create confrontations. I am not saying we don’t need the unions, but there is a need for greater responsibility in the way and manner unions run. We must rein in the unions when they commit infractions.
“For example, I do not support collective bargaining.”
He then advocated the enactment of legislation to curb “irresponsible” strike actions.
He stressed the need for “protection to be created for those who chose not to take part in the strikes so that the democratic principles upon which the unions were founded in the first place are not eroded”.
He said “Paucity of funds does not tell the whole story of the problems facing our universities. Governance is more important. A university that has all the funds it needs, but lacks professionalism and efficiency in governance, will eventually shipwreck.
“The quality of leadership in Nigerian universities is a very important conversation that we must continue to have.”
Executive Vice Chairman of ISGPP, Dr. Tunji Olaopa explained that indeed, an invitation was extended to ASUU but that other modalities and protocols for getting the union on board could not be met before it kicked off.
He promised the unions would be part of the next education-based discourse by the ISGP, which he said will focus a lot on ASUU, other unions and critical stakeholders in the universities.
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