The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic branch, Owo, Ondo State has declared an indefinite strike to protest the state government’s non-payment of an alleged N2.1 billion subvention to the institution.
The Chairman of ASUP, Rafiu Ijawoye, told journalists in Akure that the amount resulted from the slash of the subvention to the institution; first, by the Olusegun Mimiko led administration and recently the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu government.
He said the slash of the subvention had caused the inability of the school to pay the arrears of N1.7billion unpaid salaries of all staff in the institution in the last 10 years.
The union is also demanding the immediate payment of 16 months consolidated Polytechnic Salary Structure (CONPOCASS) allowance which it said was long overdue.
Mr. Ijawoye, however, assured that the union was ready to dialogue with the government as soon as there was invitation to that effect.
He said lecturers in the institution had been neglected while their counterparts in the civil service were being paid their due.
“All programmes being offered by the polytechnic are due for accreditation and are under the threat of being de-accredited due apparently to deliberate starvation of funds,” he said.
“This unfortunately, is due to palpably lackadaisical and inept attitude of the management and the insensitivity of the government towards the collective goals and aspirations of this oldest institution in Ondo state.”
He also listed the decaying infrastructure, abandonment of ongoing projects, inadequate lecture rooms, acute shortage of accommodation and non-availability of seats as some of the problems facing the institution.
“A situation where students have to remain on their feet during lectures is deplorable. As a matter of fact, the situation becomes more worrisome during the examinations when students virtually sit on themselves,” Mr. Ijawoye lamented.
“A seat that shouldn’t take more than three persons during examination is forced to take, at times, eight to nine persons. Exams. In RUGIPO can best be described as theatre of absurdity and negation of necessary ethics.
“Whilst we are optimistic that the government of Arakunrin will bring positive change to the polytechnic as against past deprivation, the character of the state government presently remains as it were contrary to our expectations.”
The Rector of the institution, Idowu Ologunagba, in his reaction, said the management had been talking with the lecturers on the issues raised so as to resolve them as soon as possible.
He said the problem of paucity of funds is not peculiar to Ondo State.