ASUU LAUTECH engulfed in crisis over ‘election fraud’
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso branch is currently enmeshed in crisis over the conduct of branch election to usher in a new executive committee.
The election has split the branch into two over the disqualification of 13 contestants out of the 15 that indicated interest in vying for elective positions.
This has generated a lot of hullabaloo within the noble union with many members now seething with rage and rearing to confront the “anomaly.”
The development has given rise to the formation of a group dubbed the “Concerned ASUU members, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso,” which has written a highly explosive petition to the national executive body of the association.
Various points were raised against the outgoing executive committee members led by Dr. Abiodun Olaniran, who has been in the saddle for the past six years.
Dr. Olaniran is alleged of highhandedness and of orchestrating what is termed the cabalistic running of the association.
Other allegations against him include refusal to allow auditing of the account of the union in the last six years contrary to rules, lack of transparency in the affairs of the union especially on finance matters, unholy fraternization with the university’s authorities to wangle favours for himself and his cronies to the detriment of the association and majority members.
The last straw of his “sins” that broke the camel’s back according to findings by ogbomosoinsightonline.com is the issue of the election which has been described as fraudulent.
Dr. Olaniran is alleged of handpicking the electoral committee members contrary to the constitution of the union, and that the electoral committee he chose, headed by Dr Taofeeq Olalekan Salawudeen, unscrupulously acted the script crafted by him (Dr Olaniran) for sinister purposes.
“How can 13 of 15 contestants be disqualified in one fell swoop few days to election on excuses that are frivolous?” an aggrieved member remarked.
Continuing, the aggrieved don said, “He is now trying to get those two sworn-in i.e. the vice chairman and welfare officer, he claimed were returned unopposed, despite our protest to the national body, which is yet to respond.
“This is a breach of integrity and calculated approach to perpetuate himself in office. The basis upon which they said the contestants were disqualified was not stated at the time people were obtaining forms, you now turned around to advertise some frolicsome rules.”
It was added that it is absurd to feel that only two officers will be running the affairs of the union, “it is just a childish ploy to still hold on to power through the backdoors. It is unthinkable to feel such contraption will sail in a society like ours, it is purely absurd.”
Asked what step they expected the national executive to take, it was submitted, “We want justice by first declaring the action of the electoral committee null and void because he was not qualified to be chairman of the electoral committee, according to the constitution.
“And now because the heat is on, Dr. Olaniran hurriedly prepared one account two days ago, for the first quarter of this year (2021). Something he didn’t do in the past years. This is unacceptable.”
But reacting, Dr. Olaniran dismissed the allegations telling ogbomosoinsightonline.com that the aggrieved were aware of the procedures in place to air grievances, advising them rather to adhere to the outlined procedures.
“There are grievances procedures of the union. If anyone is aggrieved such person should follow the procedure.”
Below is the full text of petition dispatched by the concerned members to the national president of ASUU, who just got inaugurated. Dated June 16, 2021, it is titled, “ASUU, LAUTECH: On the brink of collapse.”
“First, we congratulate you on your recent election as the new National President of our dear Union, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), we pray God gives you the wisdom and energy needed to have a successful tenure (Amen).
Also, we seize this opportunity to appreciate the National Executives of our union for the roles played while the protracted ownership tussle of our institution lasted.
“It is with a dismal sense of disappointment we write this piece to your office, Sir. We, at the LAUTECH Branch of ASUU have not been having it easy with our Branch Executives since they were sworn-in six years ago. We have never had the finances of the union audited, neither has there been openness with the way the branch’s funds are being spent. If asked on the floor of the congress or the Union’s social media platform (Telegram for example) they would just ignore us. Sir, this is contrary to Appendix 1, item 8 of the ASUU Constitution, 2018 as amended which states that financial records of the union must be presented quarterly and same be made available to congressmen. Sir, for over six years the account of our union have never been audited nor discussed at any of our branch congresses.
“Over the years, our branch executives have been fraternizing with the University Administration to secure positions for their loyalists in our union to the extent that the outgoing Chairman personally collected letters of appointments to various Directorship positions and distributed same among his cronies at the expense of the welfare of the generality of the congress men. Our executives are known for selective battles and they push for issues only when they have personal gains and vested interests.
“The impunity of our branch executives reached an edge recently when the branch was scheduled for her elections. Contrary to ASUU constitution, the outgoing Chairman handpicked the members of the Electoral committee. He came to the floor of congress with an already prepared list of the Electoral committee members and went as far as unilaterally selecting the Chairman for the committee (Another flagrant violation of Appendix II, item V of ASUU constitution, 2018 as amended).
“This we saw as awkward as we believe the congress, being the Principals of the executives should be the ones nominating on the congress floor (after all, it was a gathering of intellectuals and no one person could have been wiser than over one hundred people present on the floor that day).
“Of course, this led to the inability of the committee to conduct the election as scheduled. The handpicked committee was left to fend for itself and as a result came up with the disqualification of thirteen out of the fifteen aspirants contesting the elections. There were eleven conditions to be met in order to be voted for; (Article 14, 2b i-vii, 2018 ASUU Constitution as amended) seven are general while four are supplementary, peculiar to the branch. It amazed us that the committee, when asked for the reason almost all the contestants (86.6%) were disqualified, later confirmed that the sole reason was that the contestants did not meet the 60% attendance at the branch congresses. The contestants interacted with the Electoral committee and asked that a waiver should be sought from NEC since thirteen out of the fifteen contestants would be disqualified going by Appendix II (supplementary rules on branch elections), item VII (a), 2018 constitution as amended; this being the only condition out of the eleven to be met (even if a student scores ten out eleven, that won’t be a failure, it is in fact, an ‘A’). This is also against the backdrop of our University just coming out of myriads of crises hence, the unity of many unions, including ours is fragile owing to the aftermaths of the ownership tussle it just sailed through. Thus, a passionate appeal for a waiver was sent in writing to the national body.
“On Tuesday, the 8th of June, 2021 (the scheduled date for the election), a purported letter (Appendix 1) from the NEC responding to our local plea was received to the effect that the election must not hold as scheduled premised on the singular condition of 60% attendance shortcoming. Meaning that all thirteen contestants should be disqualified, while two weeks later, the two ‘qualified contestants’ should be inaugurated into their respective offices.
“Our electoral committee (unilaterally selected by the branch Chairperson) are bent on going ahead with the conduct of the election for only two contestants (Vice-Chairperson and Welfare Officer unopposed) after disqualifying other aspirants in the race in order to allow these two contestants to run the affairs of the union, pending the time they would perfect plans to install their stooges or worse still the incumbent. If this is allowed Article 23 a & b of ASUU constitution 2018 as amended would have been grossly violated as none of these Officers are signatories to the account of our union.
“Sir, we have it on good authority that certain delegation from the national ASUU have been arranged to be on our campus next week Wednesday June, 23rd, 2021 to install these two contestants as Executives who are neither signatories to the account of our union nor enjoy the support of the generality of congress men. It is pertinent to state emphatically that the national ASUU must not allow itself to be rubbished by unscrupulous elements who may be heading for a crisis that is long overdue and whose end no one can predict.
“Sir, it is also expedient to note that when the outgoing executives came on board in June 2018, the amended constitution which became effective on May 6th, 2018 was already in place and operational. However, attendance record was never a condition for the election that ushered them in. It will therefore be unfair to use attendance record to disqualify almost 90% of the aspirants now, more so none of the members of the five (5) man electoral committee was able to satisfy the same condition.
“All the Aspirants satisfied all the stated conditions but for the 60% attendance record with which almost 90% of the Aspirants were disqualified. It may interest you to know that even both the Secretary and his assistant who take minutes at every congress and who are also in the race for the election also failed to meet the 60% attendance condition.
“Alas! This is worse than autocratic! That ASUU National is refusing to give a waiver is beyond our comprehension. We can categorically say that it was just a mere oversight that the disqualified contestants did not register their attendance at some of our congresses. More so, the Electoral committee attested to the fact that these people were regular attendees at congresses.
“The good thing is that the situation has successfully awoken us from our slumber here at LAUTECH Branch. We know it is one of two things; either the ASUU LAUTECH Branch executives intentionally did not explain the issues at stake to the NEC properly because of their vested interest or they are actually intentionally using this singular unpopular condition as a whip to disqualify some contestants they know may expose their many atrocities once elected.
We should let you know that since a while now, the supposed handlers of ASUU in LAUTECH have constituted themselves into a cabal. They want control by all means and will do anything to remain in power including constituting what they call ‘Expanded Excos’ a concept alien to ASUU constitution. We know everything boils down to trying to cover up their gross misconducts with the Union’s funds; this is why they want to perpetuate themselves in power, hence, as one executive body leaves, they try to install their stooges in the next so, that they can still have access to our commonwealth, albeit, rotating within their circle perpetually.
“Some officers have been in office for over ten years and they are still in the race, for example, the two ‘qualified’ contestants who are to be imposed are in this category and this is why the cabal go about forcing prospective contestants to step down from the contest, threatening them with promotion so that their so called ‘ASUU anointed’ can be unilaterally imposed. This is why they will not let the opportunity of disqualification slip- by when they found that weapon to wield.
“Sir, it may be necessary to also call the attention of the NEC to the flagrant violation of Article 6 item vi of ASUU 2018 constitution as amended in the election of the current National Financial secretary and Zonal Co-ordinator of Ibadan zone of our great union. Never was there a congress of our branch for the purpose of nominating any member as delegates to the National Delegates Conference and there was never a time that the nomination of these two members to serve as Delegates at national level received any endorsement of the congress men in our branch. Peradventure there are any document(s) purportedly emanating from our branch in support of their nominations for national positions, such correspondence(s) should be thoroughly investigated.
“Sir, the impunity of our branch executives has gotten to a crescendo and congress men are ready to stop at nothing to put an end to these atrocities. Members have over the years raised agitations during congresses, via our WhatsApp and Telegram platforms, to check the atrocities been perpetrated in our branch but our executives never deemed it fit to utter a word in response to the agitations of members and they have repeatedly called the bluff of the congress. (Violation of Appendix 1, item 7 iv (d) of the ASUU Constitution 2018 as amended).
“The impunity with which ASUU LAUTECH operates is alien to the tenets of ASUU and if the National body does not do anything any time soon, those who can no longer take these injustices may reconsider their membership. We put it on record that some people who have been members of ASUU Executives here in LAUTECH have used their portfolios to curry favours from the past University administration (Violation of appendix 1, item 7 iv (i and j) of the ASUU Constitution 2018 as amended) and will still do if not stopped in their tracks. For instance, it is on record that the outgoing Chairperson used our esteemed union to negotiate appointments for his cronies with the immediate past Vice-Chancellor Prof. Suleiman Gbadegesin and he breached all university protocols to personally collect the letters of appointment from the Vice-Chancellor and personally distributed same among his cronies. The image of our union has been soiled before the university administration and other sister unions on campus such that our members are mere laughing stocks courtesy the unscrupulous elements who consistently make it look like they own ASUU LAUTECH. This is why they are desperate that this election must go their way.
“Sir, the media both conventional and social are already in the know of the troubles brewing in our branch and if not properly managed, this could boomerang.
“Sir, congress men have been pushed to the wall and they are vehement about their decision to tame the unpleasant trends. To this end, an unprecedented number of Congress men have appended their signature (appendices II – V) in support of this petition, some even signed that deduction of their money to ASUU LAUTECH be stopped henceforth and are only waiting to see how the NEC responds before the next line of action is decided.
Sir, arising from the above, preponderance of the congress men from our branch presents the following prayers to the National Executives of our union for swift consideration in order to save our branch from impending disintegration.
“1) The National Executive Council should with immediate effect set up a visitation panel to LAUTECH ASUU with the mission to carry out a forensic audit of the financial records of our branch from the last ten years.
“2) The imposition of just two Executives (Vice-Chairperson and Welfare Officer) slated for Wednesday 23rd June, 2021 should with immediate effect be put on hold and NEC should disband the electoral committee that was unilaterally imposed by our branch Chairman. In the interim, the NEC should set up modalities to conduct a free, fair and credible election that will be generally acceptable by the LAUTECH ASUU congressmen. (The NEC should invoke the concluding part of Appendix II, item 4 of ASUU Constitution 2018 as amended).
“3) The NEC should as a matter of duty and with utmost urgency send down a powerful delegation (The National President and his team preferably) to address a congress of our branch so as to avail him first-hand information about the level of decadence in our branch.
“4) The procedures for the elections of members from our branch into the national and zonal offices should be thoroughly scrutinized vis-a-vis the acceptability of the officers who purportedly represent the interest of our congress since none of them was ever nominated from our branch.
“5) The NEC should mandate the distribution of the amended constitution of our union among members across board so as for them to be kept abreast of the rules and regulations our union from time to time.
“6) Finally Sir, to avert further disintegration of our branch and bring back to the fold those that have over the years dissociated themselves from the activities of ASUU in our branch, the national ASUU should constitute a truth and reconciliation committee to address the numerous grievances such members hold.
“Attached herewith are our signatures in support of this document.
“We thank you, Sir in anticipation of your prompt response.”