Lecturers of the Gombe State University (GSU) are said to be leaving the institution in search of greener pastures following alleged poor working conditions.
The thirteen year old University, currently undergoing accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), reports have it, is facing a dearth of academic staff following what some of the lecturers describe as poor academic staff development as well as working condition.
When contacted over the matter, the GSU chapter Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Lawal Oladimeji said he is not in a position to confirm the exodus of academic staff from the institution, stressing that such inquiry should be directed at the University’s Registrar.
He said, “The reason for the delay in salaries, we do not know, but it is certainly something we do not welcome and we do not like it, and so if you are disenchanted with the condition under which you are working, I think you are also at liberty to look elsewhere, if you believe you can find a better option. And so I cannot deny that people are leaving the university, but at the same time I cannot confirm that there is mass exodus, because I’ve not conducted a statistics of how many people have left the university of late and what was their reason for leaving”.
He explained further that, “This problem has been there for quite a while. We are trying to be matured about it, to be engaging about it, that is why we are trying not to make so much noise”.
He said, “In the last one year, it has worsened. These days we don’t get salaries until sometimes, eleventh, twelfth in fact of late we have had to stay up to sixteenth of the next month. It’s a major problem, a situation where a staff’s existence is virtually tied to the salaries, which in the first instance, even if it was paid at the right time, the inflation we have in the economy has virtually taken the money away”.
“The issues in the university are not just about payment of salaries, they are much more than that, there are issues of other entitlements that are due to staff that have not been paid, there are issues of infrastructural inadequacy”.
“We have the issue of staff development which is an acute one, it’s very serious, you may also have heard about staff going on training, not being funded, being stranded abroad especially overseas, the challenge is also there and its one of the issues we presented at those various levels”.
He explained that in an effort to solve the problems, they have engaged the Management of the University, the Council of the University, the Chancellor of the University who is also the Emir of Gombe and the Commissioner for Higher Education at different levels all to no avail. He added that their final stop is the Visitor to the University and Governor of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, where two attempts at seeing him this year have failed.
Dr. Oladimeji stated that, “what we know for certain is that as human beings, there is limit to our patience, if my members tell me, see, we are tired of this delay, let us go otherwise, we’ll go. The important thing is that the notice of engagements are there, we have notified the appropriate authorities, our wish is that they find solutions to it as soon as possible, but if they don’t, by the time the patience of our members too are exhausted, then they will see us from the other side”.
However, efforts to see the Registrar of the University Abdullahi Mohammed Yuguda as well as the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Musa Umar over the matter, all met a brick wall. But the Gombe State Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr. Mohammed Isah Wade whose Ministry over sees the University said it was not true that there is mass exit from the Gombe State University.
According to him, “The issue of exit in every system is part of the process of management and labour turn-over but when you say mass exit, people are just over exaggerating issues. I want to say that the issue of mass exit from Gombe State University is false, a rumour and mere propaganda that has no bases”.
He said, if that is true, “In the last six months or one year, how many people have actually left? It is a mere superfluous statement. It is when you have such number at a given time that you will see that the exit is of serious concern. In every organization, people come in and go out, it is normal.”
Rather, Dr. Wade stated, “we have many people who want to come for sabbatical in the University. Government has been doing its own best to pay salaries. I can confidently tell you that it is only the May salary that has not been paid and this issue of late payment is not peculiar to Gombe State University alone, some organizations pay half while some owe several months salaries”.
On the issue of staff development, especially training of lecturers abroad, Dr. Wade said, “the issue of lecturers being stranded abroad is not an issue of Gombe State University, it’s not an issue of Gombe State Government, but a nationwide issue from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) whose policy change has affected many Nigerian lecturers abroad. It’s a counterpart funding and Gombe State Government is not refusing to pay for any lecturer’s education abroad, but TETFUND”.
He said, TETFUND has ranked many universities across the globe, those who are having problems are those who TETFUND has not approved of their Universities.