The 19-year-old crisis between two factions of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) branch, has finally come to an end.
Leaders of the two factions – Dr. Kayode Afolayan and Dr. Usman Raheem – signed a truce pact after a meeting at the university’s main auditorium yesterday. Vice Chancellor of UNILORIN, Professor Sulyman AbdulKareem, played a prominent role in the peace parley supervised by a representative of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU, Ben Ugheoke.
Representatives of both factions in attendance spoke on the prolonged imbroglio, concluding that the battle had done more evil than good to the academic community. The hostilities dated back to the time of Professor Shuaib AbdulRaheem as the vice chancellor. AbdulRaheem had urged the local ASUU led by Dr. Taiwo Oju not to join the strike called by the national body of the union, citing the need for a stable academic calendar.
However, due to the alleged refusal of about 22 members of the local ASUU to back out of the industrial action, the VC suspended the teaching staff and subsequently ordered their retirement, among other punitive measures. Undaunted, the affected staff fought the battle to the Supreme Court and got judgement in their favour. During the pendency of the legal tussles, some members of the group lost their lives, while many others sought greener pastures outside the university.
National body of ASUU consequently sanctioned the university, especially by ordering its members to shun the moderation of examinations in the institution. But following the NEC meeting of the ASUU at University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) on June 8 and 9 this year, it was resolved that a visitation team be sent to UNILORIN with the mandate to recover the branch.
Pursuant to the mandate, the visitation team met with leaders of both sides who agreed to fuse as one body, among other resolutions. Afolayan, Raheem and Ugheoke signed the pact. Sources at the meeting told The Guardian that there was back-slapping between the fused members, just as they ate a sumptuous meal together to formally usher in peace and banish hostility.