The Senior Staff Associaton of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has condemned the Ondo State government's plan to establish another university in the state, calling the move irresponsible.
The SSANU chapter at the Adekunle Ajasin university, Akungnba-Akoko (AAUA) pointed out that existing universities in the state are underfinanced with university workers owed over ten months' worth of salaries.
A statement by Comrade Tayo Ogungbeni, the Chairman, SSANU-AAUA issued on Thursday, noted that none of the tertiary institutions in the state has implemented the New National Minimum Wage in Nigeria even though it has been in place for four years.
Last week, the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration announced its intention to upgrade the state-owned Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO) to a university.
Following the set up of a seven-member committee to consider the necessary steps for the upgrade, the government maintained that the move was in line with the Federal Government's directive that all Polytechnics be converted to universities or be affiliated with existing ones.
Questioning the move, Ogungbeni asked: “Is our problem establishment of Universities or improving the funding of the existing ones? Our Governor should help the existing universities to compete favourably with other sisters’ universities worldwide.”
He added: “Underfunding is the hallmark of all the tertiary institutions in Ondo State comprising of three state-owned Universities and a Polytechnic, yet, the establishment of a fourth University is almost a done deal.
“At the Federal level, the government is doing everything humanly possible to ‘kill’ public universities because government officials can conveniently send their wards to private universities and even abroad!
"Why will a reasonable government that failed in its responsibilities punish the workers with no work, and no pay? It is unfortunate that university education is sitting on gunpowder.”