ASUU strike: Hope rises as lecturers reach agreement with FG

For the first time since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) began its indefinite strike on November 4, 2018, there came a gleam of hope on Monday when Labour minister, Chris Ngige, announced that the two parties (ASUU and Federal Government) reached reasonable agreements on the contentious issues in their last meeting.

Previous meetings held between them have deadlocked with the either sticking to its gun.

The union had directed its members in public universities across the country to embark on an indefinite strike to pressure the federal government to honour and implement agreements reached with it in 2009 during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

The agreements essentially border on proper funding of university education and autonomy for its governance.

Ngige told journalists after the meeting in Abuja that the majority of ASUU’s demands on the government, including the release of N15.4 billion for payment of salaries shortfall, have been met

“On the issue of salaries in tertiary institutions, especially in universities, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant- General provided evidence that as at December 31, 2018 the Federal Government had remitted N15.4 billon.

“Also on the issue of Earned Allowances in the universities system, they also showed us evidence that Mr. President has approved the N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012, audit verified earnings, in the university system.

“This money is being worked on, and will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.

“ASUU has fulfilled its own side of the bargain in terms of NUPECO, which is the Pension Fund Administration Company that ASUU has floated to take care of pension for people in the university system.

“The Pension regulator, the PENCOM, has asked certain positions to be fulfilled and they gave ASUU a temporary license, which has expired.

“ASUU has submitted all the documents and fulfilled all conditions needed to get their license,” he said.

According to Ngige, the government is also considering ingenious strategies to fund the university revitalization agreement entered into with ASUU in 2009. The exercise was designed to affect 220 universities across the country over a period of six years.

Meanwhile, the ASUU has called on the government to show mercy on students and take concrete steps to address the issues that led to its (ASUU’s) ongoing strike.

The call was contained in a statement issues by the University of Ibadan chapter’s ASUU chairman, Dr. Deji Omole, in Ibadan on Monday.

The ASUU boss was reacting to an earlier statement credited to Ngige in which he was appealing to the lecturers to consider the impact of their action on the students and go back to work.

Describing the minister’s statement as “a merciless utterance”, Omole said ASUU’s action was based on patriotism to the Nigerian nation and genuine love for its people.

“We are patriots otherwise we would not go on strike. We would have been looking and allow everything to be destroyed. But we cannot allow our future (children) to be taught in zoo-like conditions. This kind of education system cannot give us a leader who will be kind to others if we are not kind to them by giving them the best environment to learn from. Nigerians should join us to beg President Buhari to meet our demands on time rather using keep them talking approach”

Jim Yong Kim resigns as World Bank president

Jim Yong Kim

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has abruptly resigned from his post to join a private infrastructure investment firm, an unexpected departure that comes nearly three years before the end of his term.

Kim, who had served in the role since 2012, announced on Monday that he would leave his post well ahead of his term’s expiration at the end of 2021, reports CNN.

“It has been a great honour to serve as President of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime,” Kim wrote in a statement.

“The work of the World Bank Group is more important now than ever as the aspirations of the poor rise all over the world, and problems like climate change, pandemics, famine and refugees continue to grow in both their scale and complexity.”

A statement from the bank said the outgoing president would join a firm focusing on infrastructure investments in the developing world and return to the board of a health organisation he founded three decades ago.

Since its founding at the end of World War II, the World Bank has been led by Americans, all of whom were appointed by the US President. The US is the bank’s largest shareholder.

Former President Barack Obama broke tradition in 2012 by choosing Kim, who was serving as president of Dartmouth College at the time.

Past bank leaders had emerged from the financial world, but Kim — who was born in Seoul, South Korea, but raised in Iowa — is an anthropologist and physician by training.

The White House did not immediately comment on Monday whether President Donald Trump plans to name a new replacement or provide a list of potential candidates, CNN reported.

The Trump administration has enjoyed a close working relationship with Kim.

Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and senior White House adviser, developed a woman’s entrepreneurship initiative in partnership with the World Bank in 2017 with the goal of providing more than $1 billion in financing for small-business owners.

She took the idea in April 2017 to Kim, who agreed to fast track the initiative.

Donald Trump has previously praised Kim, calling him a “friend” and a “great guy”, and suggesting he himself might have selected him.

Source: Khaleej Times

Don condemns ‘abduction’ of God by religionists, scholars

By Jide Jegede

A religious peace and conflict studies expert, Kehinde Ayantola, has berated efforts by adherents across religious groups and scholars to appropriate God to themselves and their respective religious beliefs, describing the act as abduction of God.
Ayantola, a professor of religious ethics, sociology of religion and religious peace and conflict studies at the faculty of arts, University of Ibadan gave the expose in his inaugural lecture delivered at the premier university’s Trenchard Hall recently.
Entitled ‘Rescuing God from His abductors’, the lecture dwelled extensively on the means through which the ‘abductors’ struggle among themselves to claim exclusivity to the ownership of and access to God.
This, according to the scholar, has resulted in many factors that have consistently threatened peace and tranquility across human history and existence.
He identified religious functionaries and religious followers, western researchers, contemporary academics, religious fundamentalists and radicalists as the abductors of God, who only see their belief and knowledge of God as supreme and sacrosanct, while also dismissing others’ conviction about God as inferior or outright false.
“Taking God forcibly outside His space (world) and beyond His will which, manifests in why He created people male and female, black and white, short and long, placed them in different geographical locations and assigned them different responsibilities within the context of their different geographical enclaves,” he reasoned while highlighting what ‘abduction’ of God entails.
Ayantola also noted that the abductor take advantage of religious ignorance of their followers to perpetrate their acts.
“Religious ignorance in the context of our discussion refers to lack of knowledge or information about particular religious beliefs and practices.
“It could be lack of sufficient knowledge or information about the religion we practise by another person belonging to a religious faith different from ours,” he further noted.
The consequences, according to him, include social exclusion, commercialisation of religion, lust for materialism, spiritual pride, title consciousness, false teaching, exploitations, sexual immorality and ritual performance among other vices noticeable in religious circles.
He however offered some tips to effect the rescue of God from his ‘abductors’.
These, he explained, include accepting the equality of religions, understanding the cultural background of religions, identifying and accepting religious pluralism, promotion of objective religious education/studies, accepting the limitation of religious scriptures and traditions as well as monetisation of religion in public places.

TRCN hosts conference to address falling education standard in Africa


Heads of education regulatory agencies across Africa will converge on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, for a week-long 7th African Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) conference to brainstorm on the possible ways to improve quality of education, among other critical issues affecting the continent.

The Registrar of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Segun Ajiboye, who disclosed this while interacting with journalists in Ibadan on Monday, said the event will be hosted by the TRCN from May 14 to 19.
Entitled “Teaching and Learning in Africa in the Context of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) and Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-2025” the conference is aimed at charting a sustainable strategy for the delivery of quality education in order to meet Sustainable Development Goals.
Ajiboye explained that the conference will provide opportunities for exchange of best practices between the statutory regulators of the teaching profession in Africa and members of the global community particularly the academia, ICT experts, employers of teachers, teachers unions and international development partners.
He stated further that the Conference as well as the Roundtable talks scheduled to part of it will feature presentations on the implications of terrorism, refugees and internally displaced for education in Africa as well as the professionalization of teaching in Africa.
“The TRCN is happy to host the convergence of AFTRA, which is the Africa Regional Branch of International Forum of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (IFTRA). This years’ conference will further deliberate on issues of professionalism as well as the challenges facing the teaching profession in Africa.
“The conference will exhaustively deliberate on the working conditions as well living conditions of African teaching with a view to suggesting areas of improvement to Ministers of Education in Africa who will also be part of the conference and round-table,” he said.
The Registrar, who noted that attending to poor quality of education in Africa is a continental resolve, said Nigeria is also interested in ensuring that the current poor WAEC results and underachievement in schooling is reversed.
He also informed that the African Union is hosting a special session in the conference where all Ministers of Education in Africa will discuss the progress on teacher professionalism and the teaching profession in Africa.
The TRCN boss maintained that while the last edition of the conference was hosted by South Africa the choice of Nigeria for this global audience is not unconnected with the committed zeal of the country to professionalizing the teaching profession and ensure that teachers in Nigeria get the best in their chosen profession.

408 students withdrawn from UI

The management of the University of Ibadan has announced the withdrawal of a total of 408 students over poor academic performance.
The decision was ratified by the Senate of the university during a recent consideration and approval of results of graduating and non-graduating students.
Sources within the system hinted that about three-quarter of the affected students were those in 100 level who were admitted into the university without writing the Post-UTME screening examinations.
The University of Ibadan had admitted a total of 3,483 for the 2016/2017 session when there was opposition to the conduct of post-UTME screening.
While speaking with journalists on the development, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Adeyinka Aderinto, stated that the premier university will continue to uphold its standards in accordance with the global practices despite dwindling funding it is experiencing.
He admonished parents of returning students to monitor their wards and ensure that those asked to withdraw from the university do not lie and continue to extort money in the name of being students at the University.
Aderinto added that the conduct of UI Model of Post-UTME screening has helped to separate ‘men from boys’ and helped the institution in maintaining its historical standard as a global brand.
“The University is determined to uphold standards. We are saying that being admitted to the University of Ibadan is a rarely privilege that require students to be up and doing in their studies. There are minimum academic requirements a student must meet at the end of the session and those who fall short of that would have to leave the university. UI has been able to invent her own model of screening applicants and it has shown that those who we screened performed far better than those not subjected to our screening after taking JAMB.”

Family, relationship crises: Counsellors seek solution


By Jide Jegede
It was a moment of intense brainstorming for members of the Counseling Association of Nigeria (CASSON), Oyo State branch as they held their annual conference for 2018 in Ibadan recently.
The event which was witnessed by experts, scholars and researchers in the field of counselling was put together to proffer solutions to factors threatening relationships in dating, marriages and family in the modern day life.
Held at the Emmanuel Alayande Teachers’ House, Ibadan from Tuesday, 13th to Thursday 15th March, the programme provided a platform for members to exchange ideas on how to use their professional skills to help spouses in handling emerging social pressures threatening family and marital life.
While welcoming the participants, the Oyo State Chairman of COSSAN, Prof. Ayo Hammed, stressed the need for members to get familiar with peculiar issues affecting relationships in the recent times and be prepared to offer professional service to help victims overcome them.
Among the issues, he added, are money matters, taking partners feelings for granted, insensitivity to spouse’s psychological needs and end of romance period.
Others, he continued, include fights and conflicts, resentment, infidelity and cheating, poor communication, lack of sex and intimacy among others.
He said the theme-contemporary issues in couples, marriage and family counselling – was designed to take a cursory look at some of the challenges faced by individuals and families in the face of the telling impact the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and social media have on people’s economic and political lives.
“Are we prepared for the changes that will be coming our ways? How best are we prepared to respond to online dating; having children without father or mother? career and employment issues in marriage, domestic violence issues in marriage as more women are now involved in manslaughter and homicide issues than they were before now.
“Inter religious diversity issues in marriage, a situation where couple meet at a programme where there is equity and equality and no one was allowed to discriminate against one another on the basis of religion. Thus, personality are moulded to take a look at the best in an individual not on the basis of creed, sex, color or nationality,” Hammed noted.
He urged intending and existing couples, married individuals and families to be cautious in seeking solutions to challenging issues about their lives through unconventional means, insisting that only professional counsellors have the skill to proffer scientific and enduring solutions to such crises.
Speakers at the opening event took their turn to counsel women on the need to be submissive to their spouses to ensure peace and harmony in their homes.
The National President of CASSON, Prof. Elizabeth Egbochukwu, who opened up the debate, said many home had collapsed because some women were not ready to accept their husbands as the head in the home.
She noted that her career experience in family counselling has proven that if women respect their husbands and accept the role of supporters being placed on their shoulder by God, many of the family crises would not arise in the first place.
Among the Counselling experts that graced the opening ceremony were Prof. Ronke Omoteso, who was the lead speaker, Prof. Donald Odeleye of Lead City University, a lawmaker in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Joshua Oyebamiji, the Vice President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Ogbomosho, Dr. Ola Ayankeye, the Secretary General of CASSON, Dr. Adesoji Awoyemi and a former HOD, Guidance and Counseling, UI, Prof. J. Osiki
Also speaking, the Head, Guidance and Counselling Department, University of Ibadan, Dr. Chioma Azuzu, stressed that all women must recognize that the best of their result are achieved with the support of their husbands.
She counselled that young people need to be matured in every sense before venturing into marriage.
Apart from the lead paper presented by Prof. Omoteso, participants were also treated to insightful presentations to prepare them for the challenges ahead in their chosen profession.
The programme also featured award presentations to individuals who have benefitted the association and the world around them.

OAU dons appointed VCs


Two professors from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife, have been appointed as Vice Chancellors of two newly established Universities as approved by the Federal Government

A release by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, stated that while Professor Muheez Alani DUROSINMI, of the Department of Haematology and Immunology in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, was appointed as the pioneer Vice Chancellor of Eko University of Medicine and Health Sciences; Professor Sola EHINDERO, of the Department of Education, Faculty of Education was appointed as the pioneer Vice Chancellor of Atiba University, Oyo, Oyo State.

Describing the newly appointed Vice Chancellors as round pegs in round holes, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife, admonished them to use their wealth of experience as seasoned academics of international standing to make their respective University a citadel of intellectualism where students would be grounded in sound morals and academic excellence.

Attesting to their administrative and academic competence to run their Universities, Professor Ogunbodede said only academics of unquestionable credentials like Professors Ehindero and Durosinmi could be appointed as pioneers because their sound moral compass and native intelligence would be massively deployed  to vigorously navigate their Universities to an enviable harbour.

Professor Ogunbodede, then, pledged the readiness of his administration to assist them so that, as ambassadors of Great Ife, their pioneering efforts will record grandiloquent breakthrough.

He, then, prayed that God will grant them divine wisdom and knowledge in their new assignments and wished them a successful tenure.

Why Unilorin, UNN not included in EAA jumbo, by ASUU


The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared that the teaching staff of the University of Ilorin and University of Nigeria, Nsuka (UNN) will remain excluded from enjoining the Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) being paid to lecturers in the federal governments-owned tertiary institutions for their extra workload.

The chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Dr. Deji Omole, who disclosed this in Ibadan during an interaction with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, said the only condition to get them included was to go through the ASUU.

The federal government had recently released a sum of N23b as EAA balance payment for the year 2009 and 2010.

Though all federal universities workers benefited from the initial N30b released as part payment for the period during President Goodluck Jonathan regime, the duo of Unilorin and UNN were excluded when the balance was released.

Omole said this was so because the teaching staff in the two universities did not present their claims to the government when they were asked to do so.

The ASUU had suspended its UNN chapter over its refusal to join a national strike, while body has no executive in Unilorin for now.

These situations have denied the teaching staff of the two universities from presenting their claims as they have to be routed through the ASUU.

Besides, the jumbo pay has also caused disaffection between the ASUU and non-teaching staff of universities who are currently on a nationwide strike over allegation that they were being shortchanged in the naira rain.

But Omole said the non-teaching colleagues are only being economical with the truth, insisting that they were not factored into the sum.

“We only ceded the little percentage paid to some of them to ensure industrial harmony in the universities.

” They never submitted any claim for verification and so they were not to benefit from the money,” he said.

The ASUU leader, who also accused the successive governments in Nigeria of insincerity, said the lecturers have no reason to embark on incessant strikes if government honour agreements made with them.

According to him, many of the ills being noticed in the Nigerian system only show that the political class are not bothered about the welfare of the suffering masses.

He also called for sustained collaboration between the university teachers and journalists to ensure proper political consciousness among Nigerians through proper orientation that would empower the people to always put their leaders to task on issues that affect them and their well-being.

Don admonishes old students to make positive impact on alma mata

Alma mata

The head of Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Osun State University, Professor Bolaji Omitola, has charged members of old students associations to endeavor to make positive impact on their alma mata, arguing that no such gathering is worth the name without meaningful contributions.

Omitola, who was the guest lecturer at the annual general meeting and re-union of the Alumni of Urban Day Grammar School, Elekuro, Ibadan (1985 Set) on Saturday, posited that the essence of forming old students associations goes beyond holding meetings and merry making, but essentially for members to see to the development of the schools that produced them as well as help colleagues to be their best in life.

The event, held at Jogor Centre, Ring Road, Ibadan, was hosted by the former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Oyo State, Ojo Adebayo, who is also the incumbent chairman of the association.

Not minding the fact that the school had been converted to a Technical School, Adebayo said the association still influenced the government to procure some sets of computers for its use last year, adding that moves are on to make the government revert it to its original status.

While delivering his lecture, Omitola urged his old students colleagues to always commit themselves to assisting each other in their chosen trades to empower one another to effectively contribute to the development of the school and mankind.

“I am very delighted and happy to be here with you, and I also wish to use this medium to advise you my colleagues to use this our annual gathering to affect ourselves and our Alma Mata positively. This will go a long way to help our association, as well as members to be receiving a lot of blessings if we can donate any useful materials to our Alma Mata”.

“I want us all to let us have the orientation of affecting ourselves positively in mind, and we can do that by patronising each other’s business. This, I believe will go a long way in helping ourselves. We should nevertheless be grateful to God Almighty for keeping us this far, because many have died and we are still alive, it is by His grace and not by our might”, he said.

Adebayo had, in his remarks, praised God for sparing the lives of members and helped them tremendously in their careers since 32 years they had left the school.

He thanked members for their efforts in making the year’s event a huge success.

OAU declares end of year break


The management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife has announced an end of year break for students of the institution.

A release from the Pubic Relations Officer (PRO) of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the break was necessitated by the hardship imposed on the system by the ongoing strike of its non-academic staff.

It then gave the students till 4.00 pm of Wednesday, December 6 to vacate their halls of residence.

Below is the release:

“As a result of the unpalatable occurrences occasioned by the strike action of the Obafemi Awolowo University branch of the Non – Teaching Staff, which comprises  Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Senate of the University, at its emergency meeting held today, Tuesday, 5th December, 2017, has approved that the Students of the University should proceed on an “End of the Year” break with immediate effect.

“A release by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, stated that the Students have been asked to vacate their Halls of residence latest by 4:00pm on Wednesday, 6th December, 2017.

“Accordingly, the general public, particularly the Parents / Guardians of our students have been asked to note this latest development and ensure that their children and wards are prevailed upon to comply with this directive.

“Consequently, the students are expected to resume on Tuesday, 2nd January, while lectures commence on Wednesday, 3rd January, 2018. While we pray for journey mercies for our students to their respective destinations, we also wish them a Merry Christmas and Prosperous 2018″.