The Congress of University Academics, CONUA, has faulted the Federal Government on its planned inclusion of universities in the implementation of its Integrated Payroll Payment Information System, IPPIS, saying it will erode the little autonomy the universities enjoy now.
This formed part of the resolutions passed at the Congress of CONUA in Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile Ife, Osun State.
OAU is one of the five universities that formed CONUA after breaking away from the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and it is where the National Coordinator of CONUA, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, teaches.
According to a copy of the resolutions which our correspondents got, CONUA would want the FG to consider the peculiarities of the university system and engage in extensive dialogue with the various stakeholders including CONUA.
On university autonomy, CONUA members resolved, “Congress observed that IPPIS will further centralize many things, hence, it resolved to support the little and imperfect but hard-earned University autonomy rather than for it to be curtailed; and strive to accomplish more in line with what obtains globally.
“Congress enjoins all concerned in the IPPIS controversy to address the issue with caution. It also encourages dialogue and negotiations rather than confrontation in the process of resolving the problem, in the overall interest of the students, the educational sector and the nation.”
Fight against corruption
Congress said it was in support of fighting corruption, but warned against creating one problem while trying to solve another.
“Congress of University Academics (CONUA) OAU Branch supports the government’s efforts at waging war against corruption.
However, the peculiarities of the university system should have been carefully considered and thoroughly addressed in the IPPIS by the government before foisting it on the universities.
“Since neither strike nor stoppage of salary can resolve the impasse generated by IPPIS and since Government has promised to address the peculiarities of Academia in IPPIS, Government should continue to engage in extensive dialogue and negotiations with stakeholders in the University system (including CONUA) until an agreeable solution is reached and signed.
“CONUA will always support anti-corruption efforts but will at the same time ensure that its members’ legitimate interests and welfare are not adversely affected by any measure that government may want to introduce in its attempt to get rid of the cankerworm,” it noted.
Same page with ASUU
The resolutions by CONUA are in tandem with those of ASUU which has consistently faulted FG’s attempt to co-opt universities into the implementation of the IPPIS.
Among the grouse of ASUU are that IPPIS would erode university autonomy, affect payment of Earned Allowances, make it difficult for lecturers on sabbatical to get paid among others.
Formation of CONUA
CONUA broke away from ASUU some weeks ago, citing some irreconcilable differences.
Apart from OAU, other universities that have joined it are Federal University of Oye Ekiti, Federal University, Lokoja, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and Kwara State University, Malete.