Academic activities have commenced at the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, in Osun State, after a sudden closure on September 10.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the school was shut amid a rift between a lecturer, Francis Adeoye, and the Students’ Union President, Lukman Rufai.
The closure came amid protests from students to stop any plan to rusticate Mr Rufai.
With the reason omitted, the Registrar, O.A Ogunleye, in a memo obtained by this paper, noted that the decision to reopen the school was made after a meeting of the academic board held the same day.
Nonetheless, this paper learnt that the second semester examination of the school earlier scheduled for last Monday, started on Wednesday.
There were also various attempts to placate the aggrieved parties.
On July 29, Mr Rufai ordered the deflation of the tyres of a car belonging to the academic staff, claiming he violated a ‘No Parking’ order and it was an attempt to stop the recurring cases of accidents on that road.
However, the action did not go down well with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) branch chairman in the school, Nurudeen Masopa, who found the act disrespectful.
Although Mr Rufai was warned to desist from such acts following the recommendation of an adhoc committee set up to investigate the case, ASUP members threatened to withdraw their services if the case is not transferred to the Students’ Disciplinary Committee (SDC).
The panel recommended that a warning be issued to both Messrs Rufai and Masopa and that was communicated in a letter dated August 22.
The union stated that the SDC the only statutory committee saddled with the responsibility of hearing such cases.
Meanwhile, on September 10, the students, who assembled in their numbers, were ready to protest a ‘planned’ rustication of Mr Rufai by the panel.
Some students who spoke with this newspaper on the condition of anonymity pitched their tent with their president saying he was being victimised.
While Mr Rufai said “the lecturers’ union wanted to intimidate him because of his moves to curb sexual harassment against female students by lecturers”, Mr Masopa told PREMIUM TIMES about the ‘highhandness’ of the student leader, demanding for justice for his colleague.
Mr Masopa clarified that against the students’ clamour, the union never prescribed a punishment for the management or the panel.
Attempts to settle scores
Ahead of the resumption of Wednesday, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the Chairman of the polytechnic’s governing council, Nasir Musa, met with ‘stakeholders’ to salvage the situation.
Speaking with this correspondent on Wednesday, Mr Masopa explained that the union accepted the resumption because the SDC had concluded its investigation and the report has been submitted to the management.
He said he got the ‘permission’ of the members after a congress held two days to the resumption date.
The union leader however stated that the agreement was sealed on the basis that the report of the committee will be implemented.
“The Chairman said the boy (Rufai) should apologise and we all agreed that the report of the Students’ Disciplinary Committee be implemented. We have started the examination today and our members have resumed work,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Rufai claims that the union is still hell-bent on his rustication. He disclosed this in an interview with this newspaper on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the school, Sola Lawal, told PREMIUM TIMES that the matter has been laid to rest.
“To the best of my knowledge, the case has been resolved amicably and accordingly. It is more or less a family affair. The union just have to forge forward and forget about any settlement or no settlement. The matter has been resolved,” he said on Wednesday evening.
When asked about the implementation of the report, which ASUP demanded, he did not respond directly.
“It is a case of ‘no victor, no vanquished’. It has been an age-long tradition for us to resolve our differences in a unique way,” he responded, evading the question.
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