The immediate past vice-president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, has emerged as the new president of the union.
Mr Osodeke, a professor of soil science at the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, was elected early Sunday morning during a three-day conference of the union which held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
He took over from Biodun Ogunyemi, a professor of education at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
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.
Mr Ogunyemi will continue to serve in the new executive committee as an ex-officio, apparently to guide the new leadership.
I’m back to the classroom – Ogunyemi
Meanwhile, Mr Osodeke’s predecessor, Mr Ogunyemi, described his two-term tenure of office as a period of service to the nation.
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Ogunyemi thanked the union and his colleagues for the support and encouragement.
He said whatever that was achieved during his tenure was a product of team work, and urged the successors to continue the tradition.
“Sure, I’m returning to the classroom to continue to do our own bit towards the development of this nation.”
Earlier on Friday, in his valedictory speech at the conference as reported by Punch Newspaper,Mr Ogunyemi highlighted some of the union’s activities including successes and challenges recorded within the last five years of his administration.
The tenure of office for elected ASUU leadership is a period of two years and Mr Ogunyemi spent two terms of four years. His tenure was, however, elongated by the dangerous Coronavirus pandemic which paradises activities for almost one year globally.
He said, “At a point of departure, we must place on record that COVID-19 did not spare our campuses. Many of our infected members had had to combat the COVID attack with resources from colleagues and other people of goodwill because their salaries and emoluments, as well as the union’s check-off deductions, were either withheld by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation over the rejection of the discredited Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
“Our other comrades suffered the same fate in the hands of overzealous State University Vice-Chancellors and Visitors. As a matter of fact, we lost at least 30 members.”
He, however, said the union, in the last three years, has enjoyed tremendous goodwill from quarters he said were too numerous to mention.
Mr Ogunyemi said: “Despite being a government official, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund has never denied his training in ASUU and the role played by the Union in midwifing the intervention agency.
“The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission is also another rare breed who projects his clear understanding of ASUU’s mission at every meeting with the government. May their race multiply!
“We equally appreciate the intervention efforts of the Hon. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu as well as his Labour and Employment counterpart, Sen (Dr) Chris Ngige when it mattered.
“We cannot thank them enough. Our profound appreciation equally goes to the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who has continued to play significant roles in getting our matters resolved in the last one year.
“The NLC President and Global President of the International Trade Union Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has stood by us all the way. His strategic intervention, on behalf of the Congress to which we are an affiliate, always made the difference. Comrade Global President, may your shadow never grow less.”