WHERE DO WE STAND IN THE DESTRUCTION OF FUTA
I write this with a heavy heart and a sense of responsibility. I have to come out in this manner to appeal to our sense of responsibility that our profession as university administrators demands. I have spent a large portion of my life working for FUTA and doing my quota to build it to what it is today.
Have we critically asked ourself what this crisis is all about? Do we sincerely feel it's worth supporting?
Is this about our welfare? For all I know, No! Unionism as I know it, is always and at all times concerned with the welfare of its members. Insisting that a Vice Chancellor, who is yet to be indicted by any organ of the law or by his employer, be removed, isn't about our welfare or the development of the University. Prof. Daramola will surely leave in a few months time. We are all birds of passage.
No human being can be a law unto himself. You cannot be the accuser and judge over your own case. JAC has accused the VC of financial impropriety. Ok. They reported the case to EFCC. They also gave them the Audit query from the Auditor General's Office. EFCC invited the VC and Bursar for interrogation and found no reason to detain them. But JAC wants the VC out all the same and at all cost.
Let me ask you fellow administrators, is this proper?
The university has been down since 6th October 2016. All well-meaning people had intervened in this imbroglio with the hope of settling it but JAC stubbornly rebuffed these peace moves.
The house of Representatives committee on Education intervened and directed that the two months salaries (for the work we didn't do) be paid, that the suspension of the leaders of JAC be lifted. JAC was also asked to call off the action. The Management complied but JAC again refused.
Some Senior members of the University has been harrassed: the Director of Works, the University Librarian. The official vehicle of the Librarian was forcefully taken and his 4 tires deflated. The driver of one of the Registrar's service vehicles who was sent to bring a Council member was also forcefully taken and the driver beaten up.
I ask you fellow administrators, does this hooliganism represent you? Is that what we are as administrators? Is JAC representing us as university mangers?
In spite of all these, the University management felt enough is enough and the university as the university has lost a lot since all these started. Electricity which has been cut off since this started was restored. Senate met and 3rd January 2017 was fixed for students to return to school. Schools Board of Studies are meeting to plan the resumption of students. Your job as School Officers are being taken over by Academic Staff. Why? It's because as it were, you are in support of the removal of a VC who has not been convicted of any wrong doing. If another person can do your job, why are you there?
Yesterday, the Dean of Students and President of the FUTA'S were beaten up along with some students. The police joined them to brutalised these people who we're going about their duties. The Dean of SAAT was also harassed. Are you in support of that too? The students are waiting for their colleagues to come back next year as they plan a revenge attack on JAC.
After the meeting of Congregation, I went to my office. I had hardly sat down after putting on my Laptop, when Mr Durojaiye with about 4 or 5 of JAC members badged into my office and "ordered" me to leave my office. Durojaiye started pulling at the cord of my laptop and shouting at me to leave and never return to the office. I quietly obeyed them for fear of losing my laptop which contains important information. I shook my head thinking "Ah, if I was younger, and not who I am now and this had happened, one of us would have died in this office today". Yes. There are things people don't know about me. Durojaiye told me not to come near the office again because as he said " Yinka, you are my friend, "a maa ro building yi ni o" I told him to go on as I'm not afraid to die.
Anyway, I write this to ask you as University Administrators, where do you stand in this? Do we know who you are? Do we belong to a Union of drivers, artisans, clerks who rose to be senior non teaching staff??? Are they representing you as a person? If your response to these question is no, why do we follow them sheepishly. Why are you afraid to say no, this is not who I am. Voilence is not part of the character of our profession. We are analytical in our thoughts and actions.
Why were we not at the meeting of congregation? I know why. You were threatened not to dare to attend. You will rather obey the leadership of JAC than your employers.
Listen, how do you feel when you collected the November and December Salaries you didn't work for? Did you feel good?
As I've always said, we university administrators are not like any cadre of staff in the University. If you don't know who we are, then we should not be in this profession. We are custodians of the rules and regulations of the university. We are the closest to Management and effect directives of management. We are facilitators in this system. Should we be part of the pulling down of that same system?
If we lose our identity, and allow academics to take over our jobs, then we are finished. The academics already feel we are misnormal in the system and now are we not proving it.
My colleagues, I don't even know what to say again. I'm so sad about this all. I was with the Registrar one day, she called an admin officer on her phone . His phone rang but he refused to pick it up. She called again and guess what, he had switched off his phone.
What a shame! Where do we go from here? You are University administrator. You should know that there are procedures for the removal of a VC. JAC is not part of that procedure. Why do we want to go with a body on a wrong course.
Our profession is a nobel one. We are not given to violence. We follow constituted authority. We don't block gates and carry sticks, singing war songs.
Many of us even claim to be Christians. Some are even pastors. I beg to say this, if you are part of this, you don't know God at all. You preach God's word but you don't know him at all. Stop deceiving yourself. You danced as you celebrate the wishful death of another man and you still go to church to preach and pray for God's protection. Which God are you praying to?
I just want you to sit down for a while and think. If a snake comes inside your house, do you burn down the house? Of course not. You don't set the house on fire. You find a way to kill the snake and enter you house in peace.
If you as an administrator is not in support of what JAC is doing, then be bold to go to your office and sit there. Be bold to say enough is enough!
We are not cowards who keep mute as our means of livelihood Which we have help build is destroyed.
Let us pull out of this senseless protest. Let us go back to work and assure Management of our unalloyed loyalty to this system and our work and profession as administrators.
If you agree with me, send this to other administrators in FUTA.
Enough is enough.