- The Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) has kick-started a new era of academic unionism
- The emergence of CONUA has been predicted to be a major threat to the existence and relevance of ASUU
- Niyi Sunmonu, the national coordinator of CONUA stated that the union is on course to handle matter differently with more poise and civility
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There seems to be a turnaround and a new order in academic unionism following the lingering shutdown of Federal Universities and some State Universities nationwide.
A new union, the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) has emerged and it is said to be a breakaway faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The national coordinator of COUNUA, Niyi Sunmonu has come out publicly to reel out what the new union will do differently from its rival faction ASUU.
Could this be the hope and reform that university students and management have been yearning for over the years?
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Sunmonu while speaking on a live telecast on Arise TV's program ‘News Night’ on Tuesday, October 4, said there is a need to adopt a democratic order in resolving some of the lingering crises in universities.
He stated that the use of industrial action over the last decade has not faired well in resolving and making demands from the federal government.
“In that period of 40 years, we’ve had different kinds of governments, the military dictators, the democracy that we all enjoy; we’ve had one response and that response is put pen to paper on agreement and renege on the agreement later.
“We are of the opinion that these agreements, to us, are actually done under duress; where you have the situation in which the other party which is the government that you’re actually discussing with, comes to a meeting with a relaxed mind that once they have an agreement that is workable; when they put pen to paper to sign, they would honour that.”
"We must spend time to avoid casualties" - CONUA
Sunmonu stated that there is a need to resolve issues on the table rather than accumulate casualties that would put students and parents at the receiving end.
He said the union is on course to reach a resolution that will not seem to compel the other party to put pen to paper.
As reported by the Punch newspaper, the federal government, in its bid to reduce the influence of ASUU, accredited two new unions into the system.
They include CONUA and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics.
Meanwhile, the minister of labour and productivity, Chris Ngige, while reacting to the incorporation of the new union, says both unions will exist alongside ASUU.
This new development could prove pivotal in the next couple of weeks as there might be some rapid changes in the activities of academic unionism.
Many have predicted that there might be a switch or defection amongst lecturers across several institutions in Nigeria.
UNILAG to announce new vice chancellor
Meanwhile, the University of Lagos, Akoka is getting set to have a change in leadership in a matter of days to come.
Emerging reports reveal that seven persons are in pole position to take over the coveted position.
The outgoing vice-chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, will vacate the seat upon the expiration of his tenure on Friday, November 11.