The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has been criticised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities for saying that university teachers, especially professors, were doing better in terms of welfare under the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mr Fayemi, who reportedly made the comments during an interactive session with Nigerians living in France, said the current ASUU strike was needless as the Buhari government had done more for education than any other government.
The governor noted that most professors in Nigerian universities earn N500,000 monthly, the same salary he also earns as a governor.
However, ASUU at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, on Wednesday chided the governor over his comments while disagreeing with his position.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Bola Oniya, ASUU said its members had been going through hard times since the beginning of the current administration.
“Since the inception of the current administration, there has been several untoward interference by certain dramatis personae in the guise of ‘oversight’ functions in public universities and thus challenging the autonomy of universities in Nigeria,” the statement read.
“These ‘dictations’ from various quarters are unwholesome for the smooth running of the universities and against the global best practices. Since December 2015, workers in public universities (state and federal) have been plagued with shortfalls in salaries.
“For three years running, the same problem persists and the Ekiti State University will rank high on the list of state universities with the shortfall problem as the university is owing workers for five months. The governor may claim that the debt was inherited, but the clock is ticking.
“Where did the governor source his information? The basic salary of a professor at bar (to his family) is less than N300,000 monthly, and with his other ‘allowances’ he earns about N500,000 till he retires at 70.”
A similar reaction from ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, also challenged Mr Fayemi to return to the university as a lecturer rather than the governorship position if he thinks university lecturers earn a better pay.
Chairman of the chapter, Deji Omole, in a statement, said the union would not be distracted in its struggle for the revitalisation of public education by Mr Fayemi’s comments, whom he descrived as a “political opportunist”.
He also challenged Mr Fayemi’s source of information on the salaries of a professor, urging him to publish same, “as no newly promoted professor earns N500,000 monthly”.
“A newly promoted professor in the slave enclave called Nigerian universities earns below N400,000 and will only be able to receive N500,000 monthly after 10 years of becoming a professor and this includes all allowances,” said Mr Omole.
“It is sad that someone living on state resources with his family and countless aides with juicy salaries will not be circumspect in thought. Fake news and propaganda have been the trademark of the ruling APC. Fayemi’s utterances revealed the mental state of those ruling us.
“We challenge him to publish what a professor earns as salary and allowances and what governors earn and allowances. If lecturers earn more than governors, why did Fayemi run away? Fayemi should tell the world how much he spent on capital grants to EKSU during his first sojourn in office.
“Nigerians should ask him why he failed to pick up the appointment offered him as an associate lecturer by the University of Ibadan.
“ASUU has not made monetary issue the main issue but her members are entitled to allowances owed them since 2010. We are more concerned with a revitalised university that is adequately funded to attract foreign scholars.
“Fayemi should attract an international professor and offer to pay him $1500 per month and let us see how many of them he can bring to Nigeria. A person who bought nomination form for N22.5 million to become governor and spent billions to campaign, with his party listed among those who bought votes, Fayemi should tell lies to his party men who are not discerning.”