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Conversion Of OSCOED Ilesa To Full-fledged University:An Open Letter To Gov Gboyega Oyetola

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COLLEGES OF EDUCATION ACADEMIC STAFF UNION (COEASU)

OSUN STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, ILESA

Date: 15th Nov., 2022

His Excellency,
Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola,
The Executive Governor,
Bola Ige House,
Osogbo,
Osun State.

Your Excellency Sir,

RE: UNILESA IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE’S REPORT SUBMISSION AND PRESENTATION OF PRINCIPAL OFFICERS

We commend the government for the efforts on the establishment of the University of Ilesa. We wish to reiterate our support for the establishment as it is a long time desire of our Union, the immediate Ijesa community and the entire good people of the State. Our Union is therefore resolved to contributing our own quota towards making the University a pride among its peers.

However, we use this medium to opine that Your Excellency considers the recommendation of the Implementation Committee on the appointment of the Principal officers dispassionately, based on the following:

1. The conversion of the College to a University leans largely on the excellent academic performance
of the existing staff, it is however surprising and disheartening that the Implementation Committee chose to ignore the entire existing Principal Officers in its recommendations. This is in sharp contrast to the implementation of similar conversions in Lagos and Ekiti states where the existing College of Education Management members were enabled to act as Principal Officers of the emerging Universities with the view to ensuring seamless transitions. It is perhaps apparent that the Implementation Committee members came to vest their cronies on Unilesa. How would one explain that two of the Principal Officers are from the Public Health Department of the University of Ibadan? We wish to say in clear terms that appointing entirely new persons as Management members of a University being established from a College of Education would eventually become counterproductive for the smooth transition to the emerging University.

2. It is important to draw the attention of Your Excellency to the fact that the University of Ilesa Establishment law vests the power to appoint its Principal Officers in the hands of the Governing Council NOT the Implementation Committee.

3. Our Union, in its roles towards ensuring a hitch-free transmutation process, raised some serious and germane transitional issues before the Implementation Committee and called for negotiations but it was rebuffed on the guise that the committee only has an advisory role. Our Union therefore wonders how a Committee that cannot negotiate with us would now have the power to recommend Principal Officers for Unilesa to government, much against the provision of the law.

4. We find it intimidating that the Unilesa law prohibits Unionism. This is very worrisome because it is against provisions of the labour law, which allows association of employees. This is perhaps laying credence to the fear that the general public have expressed on the true and practical ownership of the University. A true public institution, we are convinced, would not contemplate prohibiting staff unionism for the first TEN YEARS of its existence, worse still, providing for a probable extension of the draconian period of prohibition. It is particularly a huge bother to us that the institution, Osun State College of Education, Ilesa being converted to a University, has enjoyed unionism for the forty-four years of its existence.

5. It is not sufficient to talk about the protection of career progression of Staff of the College merely in the report of the committee, it is important enough to capture it and state the modus operandi in the Unilesa law. For the avoidance of doubt, we do, therefore, humbly draw the attention of Your Excellency to some of the issues earlier raised before the Implementation Committee, as listed below:
i. Perpetual institutional responsibility of OSCOED, Ilesa.
ii. Outstanding financial and career obligations.
iii. Criteria for academic staff ranking
iv. Sustenance of salary Advantage
v. Voluntary migration to OSCOED, Ila – Orangun
vi. Pension administration issues

It is in view of the foregoing that we use the medium to request that Your Excellency, in further demonstration of your commitment to good governance and the need to ensure a smooth transition of the College to a University, set aside the Implementation Committee’s recommendation regarding the appointment of Principal Officers and allow due process to be followed while tapping from the huge benefit of considering the existing Management staff as Principal Officers of Unilesa in acting capacity.

We are obliged to draw the attention of government to the fact that the process of converting an existing College to a University is much different from the processes of establishing a University outright. In our situation, it is displeasing that the Unilesa Establishment law appears to presume that no staff exists in the College as there is no portion of the law that makes any reference to us, staff. In the law, the total consideration of any critical stakeholder in the College is in the mere mention that the NCE students will be allowed to complete their studies, how this will be done was not stated. Besides, no consideration was made of the fate of the students of the University of Ibadan Regular degree programme and the students of the Lagos State University sandwich programme.

Experiences have shown that when the process of converting a College to a University (as it is with the process being deployed with Unilesa) is treated as if it were for an outright establishment, perennial crises become inevitable. And this is what we are humbly warming against.

We thank Your Excellency for the anticipated favourable consideration of our submissions.

E- signed

Dr. Williams Alabi 
Chairman
   
Dr. Olusogo Odekunle 
Secretary

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