The Governing Council of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti has announced an indefinite closure of the institution.
This was disclosed in a statement issued on Saturday by EKSU’s spokesperson, Bode Olofinmuagun, adding that the council banned the Academic and Non-Academic Staff Unions as well as Senior Staff Association and National Association of Academic Technologists in the university.
The action followed the recent protest by Unions in the University, who have been occupying the campus for days, disrupting all activities and insisting their unpaid salaries and other entitlements are met.
With the new order by the Governing Council, academic activities have been put on hold as students are expected to vacate the campus this weekend.
Specifically, the unions have been asking the state government to pay them three months’ salary arrears dated 2018, six years of earned allowances and unremitted cooperative deductions among other demands from the University Council and Management.
They also condemned the disengagement of some duly employed staff of the institution and failure to reabsorb some disengaged staff who took the institution to court and won, a development they claimed has reduced the workforce unjustifiably, adding to the burden of staff.
When contacted on phone by Channels Television, ASUU Chairman in EKSU, Kayode Arogundade, said the Governing Council has no right to proscribe the unions.
He declined further comment until Monday when the national body of the unions must have taken a position.
Reacting, the Special Adviser to Ekiti State Government on Tertiary Education, Sikiru Eniola, explained that the unions walked out of a meeting with the EKSU governing Council where the bones of contention were being discussed.
“Unfortunately they had a meeting yesterday where they were supposed to discuss the issues but the unions walked out on council and management. The state government will be awaiting reports from the council and other stakeholders and will step in to ensure the crisis is resolved as soon as possible,” Eniola said.
Lecturers and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities at the Ekiti State University have occupied the campus to press home their pending demands from the state government and the university management.
The protesters occupied the university on Monday causing a standstill of traffic and activities on campus for over two hours.
They were singing solidarity songs and vowed to increase the intensity of the protest day by day.
The unions are aggrieved that the state government has not met their demands for payment of three months’ salary arrears dated 2018, six years of earned academic allowances and unremitted cooperative deductions among other demands.
The Chairman Academic Staff Union of Universities, EKSU Chapter, Mr. Kayode Arogundade accused the state Governor of shunning several appeals from the Union and other intermediaries.
“As of today, Ekiti State Government is only subverting EKSU by 50% of its monthly wage bills, without paying any considerable attention to capital grants and infrastructural developments,” he said.
“This has led EKSU Administration to ingloriously indulge in financial infractions, such as Subversion of Tax Deductions to paying salaries; Diversion of Pension deductions to paying salaries and Fund diversion from s units of the University.
“This is just the beginning; we are going to do this until we occupy the government house. After all, we are asking for our rights. If we go on strike the children of ordinary Nigerians will be home, the VC and Chairman of Council will be at home spending our money, the governor will be at home spending our resources.
“Before we go on strike, we will make this state ungovernable for them, we’ll make this school ungovernable for them.”
The unions vowed to go beyond the usual strike action this time as they have threatened to make the university and state ungovernable until their requests are granted.
But the state government has blamed the situation on over-bloated recruitment done by the immediate past administration and the inability of EKSU to meet its own portion of subvention.
Special Adviser to Governor Kayode Fayemi on Tertiary Education, Sikiru Eniola pleaded with the protesters to embrace dialogue and also find alternative funding channels in the face of dwindling revenue.
From the dreadful study experience in Ekiti State to receiving the highest honour awarded to a graduating Ph.D. student at the Oklahoma State University, Babajide speaks on how he conquered the odds and rose to become an outstanding student with multiple awards.
Thirty-one-year-old Babajide Ojo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry at Ekiti State University (EKSU) but his pursuit for richer knowledge made him proceed to Oklahoma State University (OSU) in the United States of America.
Recounting his experience while in EKSU, Ojo said it was a fun and challenging experience especially as a science student who was continually loaded with theories but with minimal hands-on laboratory experience.
“I understand this was not entirely the fault of the staff as they could only use what was made available to them at the time due to inadequate funding.
“Nevertheless, the final year project and writing experience I had with my supervisor, Professor (Mrs.) F.L Oyetayo was very instrumental to my experience and decision to pursue a graduate degree in an area related to nutritional biochemistry,” Ojo said.
Other factors that made learning dreadful for him in Nigeria include the studying conditions marred by the epileptic power supply.
“Studying conditions were dreadful at the time, as we usually lacked electricity and had to study in the lecture theatres at night using candles. No one deserves to study under those conditions and I can only hope the situation has improved.”
The Quest To Improve Human Health
Ojo is passionate about understanding how certain foods and nutrients interact with the beneficial bacteria in human intestines, and the implications on the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes markers.
“All humans live with millions of bacteria in our intestines. These bacteria were recently shown to play an important role in the initiation or prevention of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes induced by obesity,” he said.
Since obesity is an epidemic in both developed and developing countries, his hope is that identifying nutrients that benefit the human intestinal bacteria will assist in the management of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
His dissertation also sought to understand how supplementing a western diet with whole foods may improve outcomes of diet-induced obesity and type 2 diabetes by modulating the intestinal bacteria and immune system.
Interestingly, the United States Department of Agriculture took an interest in his findings during the research and sponsored further studies that are currently ongoing in humans.
Studying in the US and Nigeria: A Student’s Comparison
Ojo may not be able to speak for all US or Nigerian students but he cherishes his academic experience in the United States.
In comparison with Nigeria, students in Ojo’s school in the US are given a voice at every-decision making process and even review their professors. This review determines the promotion or retention of the lecturer.
“Here in the US, students are given a genuine voice at every decision-making step, like identifying the direction of your research, the employment of new professors, and sometimes have a say in course design through regular class feedbacks
“You are allowed to review your class and professor at the end of the semester which counts towards promotion or retention of the professor. As such, everyone takes the job seriously and they realise that they are employed because of the students,” he boasted.
Looking back at his experience while in Nigeria, Ojo believes the academic template in Nigerian institutions is a sharp contrast with that of the United States.
“I feel like it’s the other way round in my personal and acquired experience in some Nigerian universities where some professors are not easily approachable and students feel helpless in cases of misconduct.
“There are also structures in place in US universities to improve the physical and mental health of students to better cope with academic stress.”
Education As A Service Industry
Ojo believes the Nigerian education sector can be improved if lecturers, professors, teachers and members of staff adopt, embrace and believe that education is a service industry.
His advice is that structures be put in place to ensure that lecturers and others realises that the sole purpose of their employment is all about providing quality service to the students who mostly foot their salaries.
“Education is a service industry and they are occupying those privileged positions mainly because of the availability of students to teach and not the other way round.
“This can be achieved, in part, by developing a system for anonymous course reviews after each semester and making sure the reviews matter in some way.”
He also believes that Nigeria needs to improve funding to universities especially for research and development, conferences, and periodic training of staff.
“For example, the budget for Oklahoma State University for fiscal year 2019 was $1.3 billion, while that of Nigeria as a whole was about $1.72 billion (N620.5 billion).
“However, we will only be kidding ourselves if we continually pump money into our universities and do nothing to get rid of loopholes that enhance systemic corruption with little consequences in our society.”
Life As A Black Student In Oklahoma
His experience in white-dominated Oklahoma can be described as smooth sail. He described residents of his host community as “the nicest people to be around both on and off-campus.
“I have a very much collegial relationship with my classmates and professors.
“Here, professors treat us as colleagues, with much dignity and respect. Their doors are always open for discussion and they will sometimes come over to your desk to discuss as well if they know you have developed expertise in an area.”
He explains that this was a huge culture change for him in comparison with his home country Nigeria.
“The way some of our professors in Nigeria relate with their students can sap all the confidence in your ability to relate with older professionals if you don’t experience life elsewhere.”
A Student With Many Laurels
Ojo is a student who has worked his way to the top. Upon arrival in the US, he had to improve his hands-on laboratory experience from EKSU standard to the standards in the US due to the huge differences.
Among tackling other challenges, his doggedness and diligence earned him the Honorary Marshal award which is the highest honour awarded to a student during the graduation season.
He explains how he got the highest honour.
“Each program in the university nominates one applicant for this award and the university selects only two candidates noted for their academic achievements, scholarly contributions, and service to the university and community.
“I was deeply honored with this award which meant that I got to lead my esteemed colleagues in the procession at graduation, have reserved seats for my proud family, recognized at the ceremony among other perks,” he explained.
Other awards Ojo received during his Ph.D. include the 2016 top five Minority Investigator award by the American Society of Nutrition, the 2017 most outstanding Ph.D. student award by the College of Human Sciences, and the 2018 excellence in mentoring undergraduates in research award also by the College of Human Sciences, in Oklahoma State University.
His Next Move
His next program centers around inflammatory bowel disease research with a team led by Michael Rosen at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Ohio.
In addition, he hopes to continually use his Bestman Academy platform to enlighten good students all over the world on how to take advantage of graduate degree opportunities that exist all over the United States.
In the wake of clashes between rival cult groups at the Ekiti State University (EKSU) in Ado Ekiti, Governor Ayodele Fayose says his administration is set to sponsor a bill to the Ekiti State House Of Assembly to punish convicted cultist with a death penalty.
The governor, speaking on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital said that anyone involved in the act of cultism should be ready to face the consequences which will be a death sentence.
“If you are involved in cultism, it is death, we will treat you like terrorists. Enough is enough. How can you kill somebody, you cut his hands and his head! If you are caught involved in cultism, we will give you death sentence.
“If you use your house to accommodate cult members, either as students or as a visitor, we will give you life imprisonment. If you rape women, it is life imprisonment. Enough is enough, I will not under my watch allow anybody to hold Ekiti state to ransom.”
Fayose also urged residents of the state to give government and police the relevant information to rid the state of cultism activities.
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has approved the immediate disbursement of N236, 860,000 as motor vehicle loan to 773 workers in the state’s public service.
The State Commissioner for Finance, Toyin Ojo, who made this known in Ado-Ekiti, said that the loan, which ranges from N80,000 to N1.5 million would be paid in full to the beneficiaries.
He said that the grade level of the 773 beneficiaries was taken into consideration in approving the loan for them.
The Finance Commissioner said applicants who could not meet up with the screening condition of 50% of their net pay, which was set by the state government would be considered as soon as the condition is met.
He advised civil servants who applied for the loan to check their names on the list which has already been pasted at the Accountant General’s office.
Mr Ojo emphasized the commitment of Governor Fayose’s administration to the welfare of workers in the state public service. He promised that another list of beneficiaries of the workers’ car loan would be released in due course.
Some students in Afe Babalola University who were confirmed not doing well academically by the school authority and not prepared to improve on their academic performance on Sunday night embarked on a violent protest for not allowing them into the examination hall.
Speaking with newsmen in the campus, the Chairman of the Planning and Implementation Committee of Afe Babalola University, Professor Isaac Orubuloye explained the reasons behind the protest.
“The regulation of the university is that if you don’t attend classes 90% of the period, you will not be allowed to write exams. If you don’t register for examination, you will not be allowed to write exams.
“We have decided this time around to implement these policies to the letter. So, all students that ran afoul of these two provisions were denied from entering the examination and I think that is one of the remote causes of what has happened.
“Quite a number of them couldn’t write exams and there is no way they could explain to their parents that they were in school and they did not write examination.”
He also condemned the violent turn of events. He said that the protest was out of line as property worth millions of naira have been destroyed by the protesters.
“They went beyond ordinary protest. When people started to loot in the shops, then that becomes a crime – a serious crime.
“They looted some shops, damaged some vehicles and those things have nothing to do with their protest,” he said.
He, however, assured all parents and stakeholders to be calm as the situation was under control and calm has since returned to the university.
Nineteen All Progressives Congress (APC) members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly have suspended factional Speaker, Dele Olugbemi and the six lawmakers loyal to him.
The lawmakers held a plenary sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
At the sitting presided over by the Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin, the APC lawmakers also nullified all legislative activities purportedly carried out by the PDP caucus.
These include the receipt and consideration of the 2015 appropriation bill.
They also resolved to relocate the sittings of the House to the campus of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), citing the taking over of the assembly complex by thugs and miscreants.
The lawmakers also voted in favour of the local government autonomy and constitutional amendment giving autonomy to the House of Assembly.
Although Governor Ayo Fayose appears to have emerged victorious in the election tribunal, his disagreement with lawmakers in his state has been regarded as one that needs to be resolved quickly to enable all parties involved concentrate on development.
The management of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) has agreed to re-open the school on conditions that parents pay student’s schools fees no later than two weeks after lectures have commenced, which parents of the undergraduates have agreed to.
The University Vice Chancellor, Oladipo Aina made this known at a stakeholder’s forum which was organised to find a solution to the crisis that led to the closure of the institution.
“Our stakeholders and parents must be ready to contribute their quota no matter how big to the growth and development of this University” he said.
Participants at the event agreed that students should not be allowed to write examinations if their tuition fees are unpaid.
The university has been locked owing to the school’s “No School Fees, No Lecture” policy which students reacted to by staging a violent protest.
The school’s management had adopted the new policy because students were owing the school up to N2 billion.