National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, yesterday said his members were ready to protect incessant attacks on university autonomy by the federal government with the last drop of their blood.
In a press release made available to reporters in Ibadan entitled, “On President Buhari’s No IPPIS, No Salary”, Ogunyemi stated that the presidential directive was, “meant for civil servants and university lecturers are not civil servants.”
The ASUU boss disclosed that the union had an understanding with President Muhammadu Buhari on January 9, 2020 to develop University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) which would be sensitive to the operations of the university system, respect autonomy and accommodate peculiarities.
Ogunyemi, therefore, stated that the President could not have directed his comment to the union since he had agreed to the development of system sensitive software to management personnel and payroll.
Ogunyemi who noted that the union had spent millions of Naira to develop UTAS which has been presented to the Federal Ministry of Education while awaiting its presentation before the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
ASUU president said this was why the reported “No IPPIS, No Salary” could not be directed to lecturers since the issue had been settled with the President to develop university system sensitive.
He said the union would not fold her arms and allow the gains it made during several years of struggle slip through the antics of government agencies who wanted to subsume the university system under their control.
The ASUU leader maintained that, “The idea of seeking clearance from the Head of Service or the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is alien to university operations because it will halt its flexibility.
“Mr. President did not say the government would not pay ASUU members for not enrolling in IPPIS. The directive on IPPIS was meant for civil servants and university academics are not civil servants. We have an understanding with government to develop an alternative platform which would be sensitive to the operations of the university, accommodate the peculiarities of the university system and respect the autonomy of our universities as obtained globally.
“The idea of seeking clearance from the Head of Service or the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is alien to university operations because it will halt its flexibility.
“The University Miscellaneous (Provisions) (Amendment)Act (2003), which the government gazetted as University Autonomy Act (2007), has vested the powers of managing personnel and payroll system issues in the hands of each university’s governing council. ASUU has gone beyond the debate on this matter.
“IPPIS was designed by the World Bank for the civil service. We are aware of the antics of bureaucrats, especially in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, aimed at bringing universities under their control.
“ASUU will not fold its arms and watch the gains we made on the autonomy of Nigerian universities slip by. It took us several years of continuous struggle during the military to get here.
“So, let nobody hide under the name of President Muhammadu Buhari to attack the autonomy of public universities because Nigerian scholars are prepared to resist it to the last drop of their blood”, he said.