ASUU has declared August 30 a work free day across the nation for its members to protest the governor’s action.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State of meddling in the running of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST).
The President of ASUU, Nasir Isa, said at a media briefing on Thursday in Abuja that the governor has shown a clear violation of the statutes establishing the university by the “undeserved and illegal re-appointment of Prof. Barineme Fakae as the vice chancellor (VC)”.
“A university is a product of law. Such a law must be respected and protected at all times by those the people have entrusted to govern the university. Anything short of that, as we are witnessing at RSUST, is unacceptable.
“To say the least, the re-appointment of Fakae as acting vice chancellor is morally repugnant and legally indefensive,” Mr. Isa said.
He said that Mr. Fakae’s appointment by the governor in 2008 was illegal as it was not the responsibility of the governor to do so but that of the university’s governing council.
He said the appointment of the VC did follow due process and when the matter was challenged by the RSUST branch of ASUU, the governor, who attended the congress of the union, pleaded that the matter be laid to rest.
He promised that Mr. Fakae would not stay a day longer at the expiration of his term.
He said members of the union then, felt that the governor be given the benefit of the doubt as ASUU is not a body that “prides itself in rubbing in the mud the noses of leaders”.
Mr. Isa said the ASUU leadership has declared Thursday, August 30, as a day of solidarity with its members in RSUST and has directed all its members nationwide to stay away from work on that day.
The ASUU leader also accused Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, of doing the governor’s bidding in the matter.
“Another surprise was that Justice Karibi-Whyte started inventing rationales and justifications for the re-appointment of Prof. Fakae as if he is oblivious of the Visitor’s gentleman’s agreement with the university community.
“Rather than address the issues at stake, which are the inappropriateness of the appointment of Prof. Fakae and Gov. Amaechi’s promise not to re-appoint him, both the Chairman of the Council and the Visitor have been playing the ostrich.
“This has empowered the acting VC to unleash a reign of terror on academics and other workers at the university. His foot soldiers are all out on a campaign of calumny against the leadership of ASUU,” Mr. Isa stated.
He also accused the VC of mobilising law enforcement agencies to “violently disrupt a peaceful assembly” of ASUU members who met on August 15 on the campus to review the on-going strike in protest against his appointment.
The president said such lawlessness should not be allowed to thrive in a fledgling democracy.
He cited the case of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo, where the VC, registrar, bursar and the student union government are all operating in acting capacities.