- A lecturer at the University of Lagos, Professor Joe Abugu has stated that Isa Pantami's rank was legitimately earned
- Abugu said ASUU's take on the integrity of the procedure has no basis in law, precedent, morality, and logic
- The professor of industrial and commercial law also mentioned some prominent Nigerians who have become professors while in government
Lagos - A professor of industrial and commercial law, Joe Abugu, has faulted the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over its position on the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami's professorship.
ASUU National Executive Committee (NEC) had announced its opposition to the conferment by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
Abugu, in a position paper titled 'University autonomy, meddlesomeness of ASUU and war against Prof Pantami,' warned the body against undue interference.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) recalled that FUTO advertised the vacant positions in credible national dailies.
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Abugu said there are no strict general rules guiding the procedure for a professorial designation as each institution of learning sets its own rules.
According to him, relevant laws guiding trade unions never mentioned ASUU as a decision-maker in professors' appointments.
“By Section 3 of the Federal Universities of Technology Act 1993, Universities have the power to inter alia institute professorships, readerships or associate professorships, lecturerships, and other posts, and make appointments thereto.
“By Section 6, the council shall be the governing body of the University and shall be charged with the general control and superintendence of the policy, finances, and property of the University.
“It is clear, therefore, that ASUU has no power to institute or confer professorship. It is noteworthy that the University council comprises two representatives of the congregation of teachers.
“Whilst the congregation is the body of academics in the University, it is not synonymous with ASUU. ASUU may have a voice in the conferment of professorships but not ASUU as a union.
“Can ASUU then have the power to declare a professorship conferred by an institution illegal? The answer may probably be found in the rule book or constitution of ASUU.
“As a registered trade union under the Trade Union Act, its rule book neither contains any clause conferring powers of certification of academic titles nor the power to declare one, illegal.”
Stating his stance on whether Pantami was qualified for the appointment while serving as minister, he called such argument "watery" and based on ignorance.
He mentioned Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, Ngozi Osarenren, Olakunle Abdul-Rasheed Lawal, Ige Bolodeoku, Musibau Babatunde as prominent citizens who became Professors while in government.
How ASUU rejected Pantami's elevation as a professor
Recall that the promotion of Pantami as a professor was rejected and described as illegal by ASUU.
The position of ASUU was made public in a press briefing on Monday by its president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke.
Osodeke argued that it was wrong for Pantami to be a minister and a lecturer in a university at the same time.
FUTO dismisses ASUU's stance, says promotion in order
Meanwhile, the management of FUTO has kicked against the position of ASUU on its decision to promote Pantami to the rank of a professor.
FUTO's argument was relayed to journalists by the vice-chancellor, Nnenna Oti who said the university is ready to face ASUU in court over Pantami's promotion.
Also, a management staff who spoke in confidence with newsmen on Monday noted that the union has no right or power to dictate to the school who to promote to the office or the criteria for the promotion.