The Ongoing 37th National Executive Committee (NEC) Congress of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) holding at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, is another testament to the rising profile and clout of the Ondo State-owned Institution in the comity of Universities in Nigeria.
This was the submission of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun while addressing newsmen at the end of the opening plenary of the Congress on Wednesday.
Prof. Ajibefun, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Olugbenga Ige, said it was noteworthy that the Congress is holding in AAUA for the first time.
The Vice Chancellor added that, “This shows the kind of understanding and mutuality of ideas between the University and her staff unions. For us, the welfare of staff is paramount; that is why this administration has focused keenly on the issues of welfare of our staff.
“And I think SSANU recognizes this and decided to bring its National Congress here for the first time ever. It shows that our University is peaceful and that we have a robust engagement with all staff unions. This is a good development that should continue.”
Prof. Ajibefun advised the gathering to focus on issues that border on welfare of their members rather than engaging in political grandstanding. He counselled that unionism should no longer be used to cause chaos and instability but should be deployed as an instrument of effecting positive changes through intelligent and creative methods.
Speaking earlier in his Goodwill message, the Vice Chancellor reiterated the commitment of Management to making lives meaningful for all staff members and listed how the University has boosted the capacity of all staff members.
He said, “One distinguishing feature of this University’s human capital development drive is its non-discriminatory stance. Adekunle Ajasin University is one of the few tertiary institutions in this country that is committed to sending both its academic and administrative workforce on training at home and abroad on a regular basis.”
He called for a symbiotic relationship between teaching and non-teaching staff in order to engender innovations and development in Nigerian universities.
Also speaking, the Branch Chairman of the association, Com. Temitope Famuti, expressed the hope that the human capital development benefits associated with hosting the NEC would be realized.
Com. Famuti thanked the University Management for sustaining regular payment of staff salaries as and when due despite paucity of funds and other competing demands. He added that, “Staff welfare has been given priority. The hazard allowance which was hitherto suspended was reinstated in full under this administration. Deserving members have always received their promotions.”
He also took time out to list other pending demands of the union while calling on Management to expedite action on them.
The 37th NEC Meeting of SSANU is being attended by delegates from over 100 Universities spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and Abuja. The meeting is chaired by the National President, Com. Chijioke Ugwoke and the National Vice President (West), Com. Ilesanmi Jimoh.
Meanwhile, an Award ceremony for deserving members of the University Community and beyond was held earlier on Tuesday. Those honoured include the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ajibefun “for his commitment to the welfare of staff and for being union friendly.”
Others were: the Pro Chancellor, Dr. Tunji Abayomi “for his courage in defending policies that will move the University forward;” a former Bursar, Mr Olayiwola Akinterinwa “for probity and accountability;” and Hon. Kolawole Babatunde (Amechi) for his contribution to the poor and needy in the society.
Also honoured were the pioneer Chairman of SSANU in AAUA, Com. Samuel Akinduro, a former Pro Chancellor, Sen. Bode Olajumoke “for being a good friend of the physically challenged and for building a twin hostel for them on campus.”