As the tenure of Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the 12th vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, ended yesterday, non-academic staff unions under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) bid him a symbolic farewell protest of “sweeping his feet out of office”.
Carrying brooms and singing solidarity and farewell songs, to indicate their ‘cleansing’ of the university after Olayinka’s exit, members of the unions, who converged on the NISER Garden venue of the farewell rally at 9am, marched on the office of the vice chancellor around 12:30 pm, singing to register their rejection of the reign of the outgoing VC, whose five-year tenure ended yesterday.
The workers swept the floor from the VC’s office to the main gate of the university to press home their points.
Speaking before the symbolic action, SSANU Chairman Mr. Wale Akinremi said the unions embarked on the exercise to thank God for seeing them through the tenure of Prof. Olayinka “under whom the workers suffered untold hardship.”
He said: “Why we are here today is not to dissipate energy or make noise, but to appreciate Almighty God for seeing us through the tenure of Prof. Olayinka. We suffered untold hardship under the watch of Prof. Olayinka as the VC. We pray that never again will any vice chancellor put the workers and students through such a tortuous journey.
“At the time Prof. Olayinka came in 2015, the Federal Government did not owe us promotion arrears in 2014, how come that it was in 2015 that he came in that they owed us promotion arrears? The fact is that his tenure was a failure. For five years, both academic and non-academic members of staff could not get promotion arrears. We must have lost about two and a half years of academic calendar to the wasteful regime of Prof. Olayinka.
“Olayinka tormented teachers of staff school for about five years. Teachers of staff school were collecting pension deductions from the Federal Government and they were signing monthly return forms under Prof. Olayinka. To date, he has not paid them.
“In other universities, teachers were promoted, but he did not do that. What manner of training did you benefit under Prof. Olayinka? What was the level of morale of workers or are you talking about security? Are you going to talk about work and maintenance or research grants? To date, the cleaners are complaining. At some point, we had to contribute money to give a sort of succour to the cleaners.
The Chairman of SSANU, UI chapter, Malachy Etim, also lamented the experience under the former VC.
He said: “We are here by God’s grace to celebrate the exit of Prof. Olayinka. It is a shameful thing for a VC to leave office without having a successor to hand over to. At the last moment of his tenure, he rushed to inaugurate an uncompleted building project and one wonders why.”