A professor of soil science at the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Emmanuel Osodeke has emerged as the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, during a three-day conference, held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State today Sunday.
Osodeke, until his appointment was the Vice president of ASUU.
He took over from Biodun Ogunyemi, a professor of education at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State whose tenure ended last week.
Other members of the union, who were elected alongside Mr Osodeke, include Chris Piwuna of the University of Jos as vice president; Olusiji Sowande of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, as treasurer while Ade Adejumo, a professor from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, was elected as financial secretary.
Also, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Austen Sado, was elected as investment secretary; Adamu Babayo from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, was elected the union’s internal auditor while Stella-Maris Oke from Cross Rivers State University of Science and Technology, was elected as the new welfare secretary.
Osodeke while reacting to his electoral victory in a telephone conversation with Vanguard said:
“We do things collectively in ASUU, so, it is not a one-man show, but Nigerians can be rest assured that we will not stop our agitation for a better funding of the sector and a better and more humane treatment of our members.
“The sector is in bad shape. It is not attracting foreign students and foreign lecturers like we used to have in those days. Now, Nigerians are sending their children to schools in Ghana and Republic of Benin. Why should that be?
“In the 1970s to the 1980s, we had a number of foreign students and lecturers on our campuses, but now the reverse is the case. If we really want to match up with other nations who are making progress, we must give priority attention to education. No nation can develop more than its level of education.
“The struggles are continuing and we are not going to relent until our expectations are met. It is all for the development and greatness of our dear country, “he said.
Osodeke took over from Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi who led ASUU during a period it engaged the government in a long battle for a better funding of the sector, welfare demands and the call for the abrogation of the contentious Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System, IPPIS.
ASUU went on strike for nine months last year over the demands. IPPIS particularly has been a major source of faceoff between the government and university workers because of its alleged inconsistency and inability to meet some specific needs of the university system.