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By Desmond Ejibas
The Congress of University Academics (CONUA), a faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says it has opened its branch at the University of Port Harcourt.

The groups South-South National Deputy Coordinator 1, Dr Iyawe Hanson, announced this to newsmen at a briefing in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

According to Hanson, the CONUA decided to open its branch in UNIPORT due to lack of principles of justice, fairness, probity and equity in its former body.

“Also, the loss of accountability, transparency, non adherence to constitutional provisions and erasure of the right of members to freely express their views led to the formation of CONUA.

“Academic unionism in the country has failed to evolve and provide the necessary academic leadership and rational thoughts needed to adapt in the 21st century advances in global tertiary education.’’

Hanson noted that dictatorial leadership in academic unionism had breed discontentment among members leading to calls for a veritable alternative.

He said CONUA had become the needed veritable alternative for all progressive minds in academic in the country.

“Consequently we are discarding militancy by embracing democratic tenets of approaching contending issues.

“We know that nothing has bedeviled the fortunes of the Nigerian students like the incessant truncations of academic calendar. A stable academic calendar is very important.

“To this end, the academic staff union of UNIPORT has decided to take the bull by the horn, by joining CONUA. Their decision is laudable and historic,” he said.

Hanson called on tertiary institution in the country to emulate UNIPORT and join the union to restore and develop the nation’s educational system.

Dr Ovunda Ihunwo, the branch Chairman of CONUA in UNIPORT, said that academic staff in the university decided to join CONUA due to alleged lack of due process in the UNIPORT branch of ASUU.

He listed some of the reasons to include illegal suspension of Prof. Anthonia Okerengwo; illegal termination of appointment of Prof. Frank Ugiomoh and the promotion of ethnic and regional disunity in the union, among others.
“So, we have resolved, that henceforth we are not going to allow few selfish individuals to further cause crises by truncating stability and current smooth running in UNIPORT.

“We shall cooperate with UNIPORT management and the university community on matters that are in the interest of students, staff members and enlightened public to stabilise the academic calendar.

“We declare that from today, we no longer belong to ASUU. So, we call on the Vice-Chancellor to ensure the immediate stoppage of all check-offs from our members’ salaries to ASUU,” he demanded.

Ihunwo further called on the university management to conduct a forensic audit into the disbursement of the last two tranches of the Earned Academic Allowances paid to workers. (NAN)

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