The Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has urged the Federal Government to liberalise university unions to secure cross fertilisation of ideas that could give rise to healthy competition.
Speaking on Friday in Abuja, the National Coordinator of CONUA, Dr Niyi Sunmonu said the liberalisation would stop the endless strike by university unions.
Nexus News recalls that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since February and efforts reconcile has proved abortive so far.
Speaking on the ongoing strike, Sunmonu said, “We need a paradigm shift from the old order in our universities. We underscored the fact that what we are asking for is liberalisation. And what that will bring on the table is that before you embark on any industrial action, cross fertilisation of ideas is needed.”
While commenting that over the years, ideas are usually stifled, he said, “what you see is the perspective of some people and the perspective of other people not actually reflective of what transpired at the end of the day.”
“So when we have liberalisation, what we will eventually have is healthy competition, the interest eventually resulting in the protection of the interest of other stakeholders would be protected,” he added.
According to Sunmonu, there was nothing wrong in having two to four unions as this was contained in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He added that CONUA was birthed by academics across universities in 2018, revealing that it applied for registration as a trade union at the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
According to him, on November 19, 2020, the minister held a public meeting with CONUA delegates where he gave the ministerial committee to conclude the review of registration.
“We are aware that the committee has since submitted its report. We have therefore been waiting to hear from the government on our registration,” he said.
He maintained that CONUA is not a frivolous union but a collection of visionary and courageous academics with tremendous potential to stem the tide of consistent deterioration in the image of university.
He speculated that any further delay in the registration of CONUA would amount to undermining fundamental human rights of the people.
On his part, the National Publicity Coordinator of CONUA, Dr Ernest Nwoke, said the major fuel to the endless strike was the monopoly given to academic union in universities.
According to Nwoke, the only solution to the strike was liberalising academic staff unions in universities so that lecturers would be free to belong to academic union of their choice.
“There is no ripe time than now for the liberalisation of academic union to put an end to the strike in our university system,” he said.