…Challenges varsity mgt on financial autonomy
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Barely four months after setting up a panel of inquiry on recovery of Government assets, Gov. Alex Otti, has hinted that he would soon set up a visitation panel to look into the goings-on at the Abia State University, Uturu, ABSU.
Otti who hinted this when the Executive of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, ABSU chapter visited him, said the measure would help to enhance corporate governance.
This is even as he told universities to think of ways to generate funds to run effectively instead of depending on Government for funding all the time.
According him, universities, especially when they are not new, should be run independent of government subvention.
He said; “It is important that we put on our thinking cap and remove our begging cap because this whole idea of begging is the problem that we have in Nigeria.
“Even as a country, we keep begging, we keep borrowing and we need to think of being financially independent.
“Even from research alone, if there is anything happening in the University, we should be able to generate enough resources to do a few things.
“We need to begin to think of how to make our Universities financially independent. Let us re-channel our ABSU ASUU to begin to think of how they can contribute to making the University independent, and I will support you.
“We need to think in that direction because it is more sustainable.”
Otti, however, promised to meet with ABSU management to discuss how to deal with the various challenges of the university.
He promised to defray salary arrears owed them by past administrations, and to increase the subvention of the university.
Otti expressed surprise over “18 months salary differential” the union said its members in Abia were being owed, between 2009-2010, as well as 11 months salary arrears, owed the lecturers by the previous administration.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, Dr. Uduak, appreciated Governor Otti for the numerous developmental projects he had embarked upon in the state since he came to power.
She commended Governor Otti for the prompt release of their monthly subventions, a gesture she said, set the tone for an industrial harmony between the government and the union.
She, however, disclosed that members of ASUU ABSU were owed 11 months outstanding salaries from 2022 and requested an upward review of subvention to the University as well as renegotiation of their salaries.
Uduak said there was need for the government to set up a Visitation Panel to the school to checkmate some anomalies, revisit the deplorable Okigwe-Uturu road leading to the institution as well as address the 18 months differentials to their members.
The ASUU, ABSU Branch Chairperson, Dr. Chidi Mbah, in his remarks, noted that things were not going as they should in the university, and called on the Governor to personally visit the school to see things for himself.