The Vice President, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Comr. Victor Ezenagu, has mocked Professor Emmanuel Osodeke of University of Agriculture Umudike for fraudulently emerging as President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Ezenagu who addressed newsmen in Abuja over the week, stated that ASUU is obviously witnessing her most unpopular time ever, saying before now ASUU, was among the most popular Union in the country, but at some point, it was even difficult to tell between NLC and ASUU which is an affiliate of the other.

“As it stands now, the Union has been relegated to the background among the list of formidable trade Unions in the country. No thanks to the man currently steering the wheels of ASUU” he said..

He explained that “In 1980-1981, it was this Union that successfully resisted the Shehu Shagari’s government attempt to usurp the privilege of the University Council and in 1986, the Supreme Court gave a judgement in her favour.

“This same ASUU helped the National Medical Association (NMA) and National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to fight and defeated the Buhari-Idiagbon’s government in 1985. The likes of Dr Festus Iyayi and Dr Agbonfoh B. who were detained in 1987 over the struggle before the first proscription of the Union in 1988 will be wondering how Professor Emmanuel Osodeke emerged as the current President of ASUU.

“In fact, Prof Attahiru Jega, Dr. Dimono and Dr Amade who were detained with their passports seized will not forgive those who brought someone like Prof Osodeke to have a reign as the President of the Union”.

He added that “When ASUU was proscribed the second time on 23rd August, 1992, the government had to de-proscribe the Union because of the kind of support she enjoyed from the public, Professional Organizations, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and other well meaning groups. The overwhelming supports arose from the fact that those who steered the wheel at the time were focused. They weren’t easily swayed by their personal cum political interest or selfish motivates”.

The NANS leader regretted that “today’s ASUU led by Prof Emmanuel Osodeke has derailed from the norms. Unlike what was obtainable before now, the Union is a pity of its old self.

“Not too long ago, ASUU embarked on an eight months long strike. During this period of industrial dispute, members of the Union wallowed in abject poverty and struggled to survive.

“The President of the Union appeared on a live television and referred to her members in some Universities who due to hardship and other prevailing circumstances, had to back out of the industrial dispute, as quacks! This happened to be the beginning of the end of their unity. Even when the journalists tried to remind him of the weight of his choice of words, he didn’t bulge.

“As if that was not enough, Osodeke was allegedly caught on air telling Nigerians which party not to vote for. An action that was inimical to the struggle.

“NANS posited that the “actions and inactions of Prof Osodeke made ASUU an object of hatred to many of her members. Instead of using diplomatic approach in her bid to attain its expected end, the Union’s leadership resulted to political vendetta and intimidation.

“ASUU started loosing the support it enjoyed from the public, as well as from institutions. The same ASUU that was able to fight the military government to standstill could not even convince the erstwhile Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige, why it’s members deserve better welfare than they receive.

“Despite all the eggheads in the Union, they could not present a better argument before the Industrial Court and the Appeal Court as to why members of the Union should be given a better life than they experience. The fact that ASUU as a Union has lost nearly all her case against government goes to show that all is not well with her Unity. No thanks to the division caused by the President of the Union. The supposed “quacks” did not only leave the Union, but went on to form a new Union.

“To the greatest of my chagrin, these supposed Union of quacks who were dragged to Court by ASUU over her registration by the government have also trounced the Prof Emmanuel Osodeke’s led team. This is not happening because ASUU has no case nor because the Union lacks people with intelligence that has wisdom but because the NEC of ASUU has derailed from the norms. They have spent time in chasing trivialities instead of using that same time to ponder over the pains and hardship of her embers vis-à-vis today’s economic realities.

“The members of NMA and NARD who once counted on ASUU in industrial disputes have been able to achieve a lot during the period that ASUU was forced back to work without pay. This goes to show that leadership and not just bad government is responsible for the failure witnessed by Unions.

He said ASUU is “more pained that ASUU has nearly lost it all. Students are now the victims of ASUU’s bad leadership. The long strike has significantly affected students. Many have had to spend longer years in the University. Students end up paying fees for more semesters resulting from the strike. The most painful part is that these lecturers who are unfortunately victims of their bad leadership now reap off students to make ends means. They collect different amount of money, depending on the school, for grades.

‘This is a serious war that one would think the Professor Emmanuel Osodeke’s led NEC would have paid attention to. But how can they pay attention to such when the headquarters of such corruption is at the citadel where the President of the Union himself lays hold.

“A recent report emanating from the Federal University of Agriculture Umudike was pitiably shameful to say the least. While the President of the Union was busy gallivanting and acting as a busybody in the affairs of other schools on issues that doesn’t concern them following the constitution that established the Union, lecturers from his school were allegedly not only collecting cash for grade, they were also into the sex for grade business and these are the friends of ASUU president.

“An act proudly carried out by the godforsaken men. The report from the media has it that the hunger that was self inflicted by the Union also had them now extort money from the students to check their results. With the final year students becoming the main victims. This is unheard of. Students not only pay in cash but also in kind just to check their results?

“This is the height of wickedness. The University where the President of ASUU teaches and get paid on monthly basis? Isn’t this a confirmation that the chicken has come home to roost? Who will bell the cat? Certainly not ASUU under the failed leadership of Professor Emmanuel Osodeke’s led NEC. The earlier the Union retraces it’s part, the better for her members. NANS will soon declare Professor Emmanuel Osodeke led ASUU a persona non grata if the happenings in his school continues unabated. We will meet and discuss how to make scapegoats of those criminals in white-collar pretending to be teachers whereas they lack all the qualities required thereof. ASUU under Osodeke is shadow of it’s original self. How can a man whose house is burning be chasing rats?”.

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