The management of Rivers State
University of Science and
Technology (RSUST), Port
Harcourt, at the weekend gave
indications of its willingness to
engage the
striking Academic Staff Union of
Universities (ASUU) of the
insbosomution in meaningful
dialogue as a means of resolving
their disagreements.
Speaking at the weekend in Port
Harcourt, the insbosomution’s
Deputy Registrar/Public Relations
Officer, Mr Desmond Wosu was
reported to have said that the
management of the university
was now prepared to dialogue
with ASUU and other unions to
restore peace and normalcy to
the insbosomution.
However,The Tide investigations
last week revealed that
uneasy calm and uncertainty
once again enveloped the RSUST,
Port Harcourt, following the
strike action declared by ASUU in
protest against the re-
appointment of Prof Barineme
Fakae as the acting Vice
Chancellor of the university.
It would be recalled that the
university’s ASUU had given the
state Governor and visitor to the
university, Rt Hon Chibuike
Rotimi Amaechi a one-week
ultimatum to reverse the re-
appointment of Prof Fakae or
face industrial action.
It was crystal clear last week
when The Tide visited the
university that ASUU had made
good its threat to embark on
strike at the expiration of the
ultimatum, penultimate
Wednesday, as there was no
indication that all was well with
the state-owned university.
Indeed, an atmosphere of
uncertainty, confusion and
apprehension hovered over the
campus, as distraught students
idled away.
While some gathered in groups
particularly around the
Faculty of Engineering block,
speaking in hush tones, others
milled around hopelessly.
There was nothing to suggest
that teaching and learning or
other meaningful activities were
going on at the university.
Several persons, suspected to be
non-academic staff, were also
seen gathering around the
Amphitheatre block, including
stern-looking security men, who
were patrolling the area.
Opposite the block, two SOS vans
were also strategically
positioned, facing the road.
The entrance of the Senior Staff
Club was firmly locked, as some
security men were seen taking
position within the premises of
the club.
The club, which used to be a
beehive of activities was
deserted, as senior lecturers of
the university and other guests
who used to cool-off there after
the day’s work, were nowhere to
be seen.
Three lecturers who were seen
directly opposite the club, were ,
however, visibly agitated.
They lamented that an incident
had taken place at the venue
where members of ASUU were
holding a meeting last
Wednesday, to apparently
review strategies of the strike.
They alleged that an unidentified
young man in black attires had
invaded the venue of the
meeting, and disrupted it in full
glare of securitymen who had
positioned themselves inside the
hall to monitor
proceedings as the ASUU
meeting progressed.
Suspecting foul play, some ASUU
members were said to have
whisked away the Chairman of
the union, Dr Felix Igwe for fear
of his life. The Tide, however,
could not confirm immediately
reports and insinuations that Dr
Igwe was brutalised and was
being hospitalised as a result.
However, the Deputy Registrar
(Public Relations) of the
university, Mr Desmond Wosu
told The Tide in an exclusive
interview in his office that ASUU
had not notified the
management of its intention to
proceed on
strike.
While attributing the lull currently
experienced in the
university to dangerous and
unfounded rumours making the
rounds concerning the strike, he
said the re-appointment of Prof
Fakae, whom he said, had
performed creditably in office,
was not enough to degenerate
to industrial action.
Wosu also noted that Governor
Amaechi did not make a mistake
by re-appointing Prof Fakae,
saying, the re-appointment was
the best thing that had
happened to the university.
According to him, Prof Fakae’s
reappointment was done in
good faith, following his track
record of achievements for the
university since 2007 when he a.
ssumed office.
He listed the achievements to
include the eradication of cultism
in the university, the
introduction of e-learning
system, which he said, had
placed the university on high
pedestal, the full accreditation of
the university’s programmes by
the National Universities
Commission (NUC) and the
improved ranking of the
university from 76th to 19th
position.
He also indicated that the Fakae-
led administration had ensured
that admission into the
university
was based on the carrying
capacity prescribed by NUC, to
the extent that cla. ssrooms and
lecture rooms were no
longer over-populated while
lecturers no longer complained
of having too many scripts to
mark, coupled with the fact that
the university’s science
laboratories and workshops
were now well-equipped.
The university’s image maker
further noted that Prof Fakae’s
re-appointment would put the
university in a better stead, as
his administration would ensure
continuous, rapid transformation
of the university.
‘Members of the university
community should give peace a
chance. ASUU should adopt
dialogue so that we can move
the university forward.
Enough is enough. Let us not
drive our students to the streets
again. It does not augur well for
us , it does not augur well for
parents. It is not good for our
children. Let us support the
management to move the
university forward”, he pleaded.
He also defended the VC’s
administrative style, and sued
for peace, tolerance and
dialogue.
However, a member of the
Senior Staff a. ssociation of
Nigerian Universities (SSANU)
who was visibly disturbed by
the current state of affairs at the
university, while speaking to The
Tide under condition of
anonymity, advised the Vice
Chancellor to step aside in the
interest of peace, and not allow
the university to be consumed
by selfish interest.
Source: thetidenewsonline.com

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