The Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) has called on Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State to intervene in the unpaid entitlements of staff of the polytechnic.
The union made its displeasure known through a statement signed by its chairman, Babatunde Osifalujo, and made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday.
The polytechnic has been enmeshed in financial imbalance since 2017, when the administration of the former governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun, intended to transform the institution into a university. The government planned to move the polytechnic to Ipokia local government of the state, while its assets and facilities are used to kickstart the proposed Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology in Abeokuta.
ASUP had opposed the move and, in protest, embarked on a strike by crippling all academic activities in the tertiary institution for months.
The wrangling brought uncertainty over the polytechnic community and the situation remained until the new government assumed office.
On his assumption of office, the present governor ordered that the status quo should remain, hence, the return of MAPOLY to its original site in Abeokuta.
In the statement, Mr Osifalujo accused the government of reneging on its agreement with ASUP in MAPOLY after the union “kept to its own side of the bargain.”
The lecturers listed, “the convocation of Governing Council; domestication of the New Polytechnic Act; appointment of substantive Rector for the institution; immediate payment of over three sessions honorarium and subsequent stoppage to the accumulation of Part-Time claims; delay in staff promotion and appointments”, as some of the reasons for their complaints which, they said, require the governor’s urgent attention.
ASUP further said, “the issue of new minimum wage yet to be implemented in the institution, resolution to matters on pensions, entitlement and plight of MAPOLY staff retirees and non-remittance of union outstanding cheque-off dues can no longer continue to wait.”
The union, while appreciating the governor’s swift responses towards earlier interventions in the institution, also felt betrayed by the government’s act of not heeding to their requests.
“While we thought of giving time out to His Excellency on those matters, two years and six months is more than enough for any government to have resolved such fundamental issues. We, therefore, urge the governor to attend to these issues without further delay.
“We, however, appeal to the government to reciprocate the good gesture of the union through intervention for the November and December salary of workers of the Polytechnic especially at this crucial season.”
In his reaction, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Yemi Ajibola, said the lecturers should be thankful. He said if not for the governor’s intervention, they would have been thrown into the labour market.
“On salaries, there is autonomy of the institution and that has not been taken away, we make our money and spent it ourselves, it is from the magnanimity of the government that it gave us N200 million last year December from which we paid about two months salary.
“The same ASUP then asked us to go and borrow money and we went to Unity Bank to borrow another N300 million in January and we have paid one tranche repayment and another one is due in February, what else do they want us to do?”
Speaking on the call for a substantive rector, Mr Ajibola said, “We do not have a council and it is not only MAPOLY that does not have, and the government knows what it is doing. When did they become the proprietor of the school?
“After the school was returned to status quo from the wahala created by the last administration, the school is yet to recover from the trouble. When you pull down a house for reconstruction or for any other purpose it is not easy to build it back! The rubbles of the troubles of 2017 is what we are still experiencing as at now.
“If not for the governor, the majority of them would have returned to the labour market, Yes! because when Amosun said he is turning this school to a university and taking the polytechnic to Ipokia, the condition given then was that they should all reapply and if you did not make it, you return to the labour market, this man came and returned things to status quo.”
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