The newly formed parallel union of lecturers at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Congress of University Academics, CONUA, inaugurated a nine-man executive committee on Tuesday.
The inauguration ceremony, following an election held in the previous week, was well attended by lecturers of the institution, delegates from University of Ilorin and Kwara State University.
In his acceptance speech, the inaugural chairman of the union, Niyi Sunmonu, thanked his colleagues for finding the executives worthy of the historic mandate given to them.
He said, “CONUA was created at the congress of 12th February 2018, at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in consonance with the fundamental principles of intellectualism. The core values of these principles include the unwavering commitment to problem-solving, critical enquiry, circumspection, courage, integrity, humility and respect for self and others.
“The single-minded subscription to these values makes it disconcerting for us to hear the series of unedifying comments on the state of Nigerian university education. Since we fervently believed that critical times call for critical steps, and cognisant of the absence of an alternative platform to the unmitigatingly repressive and suffocating university academic unionism in the country, we took the historic, well-meaning decision of charting a new course by establishing the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), to offer the university system the enhanced benefits of competition and choice.
“The Motto of CONUA is ‘Knowledge, Integrity and Freedom’. Our Vision is ‘To be a distinguished union of academics dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge for the advancement of humanity’. And our Mission is ‘To search for, disseminate and impart knowledge on a pedestal of integrity for all-round development'”.
Mr Sunmonu further said effort towards the fulfilment of CONUA would be based on four major planks.
He said: “Efforts towards the fulfillment of the purpose of CONUA would be based on four major planks. These include the promotion and protection of the welfare of members, the advancement of intellectual growth, the provision and propagation of pragmatic intellectual perspectives on social issues and the enhancement of the public respectability of the academic.
“We shall promote and protect the welfare of members of CONUA through a series of proactive measures consistent with intellectual sophistication, including the constructive engagement of the relevant stakeholders and the seeking of appropriate guidance and the facilitation of the mentorship conducive to the blossoming of the intellect in a sound body. We shall pursue the advancement of intellectual growth through the institution of scholarly engagements in the form of periodic roundtables, distinguished guest lecture series, seminars, workshops and enlightenment campaigns, to re-establish the Nigerian university environment as a true marketplace of ideas.
“We shall, consequent upon the foregoing commitments, provide and propagate pragmatic perspectives on social issues, through robust town and gown engagements. We shall, through the dedicated pursuit of the above-mentioned goals, strive to enhance the perception of the relevance and public respectablility of the Nigerian academic. The details of these broad outlines would be spelt out in the coming days, after due consultation with critical stakeholders.
“In recognition of the significance of partnership for the realisation of the objectives of raising the quality and value of university education in Nigeria, we are inviting academics in other universities, the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, the relevant government agencies, sister unions, parents, students, the general public and the media to join us in this visionary enterprise.
“We are sincerely grateful to all who have contributed in various ways to making CONUA a reality. We especially appreciate this distinguished audience for making this inauguration a huge success through your invaluable presence and a shared vision. Above all, we thank Almighty God for showing us the path to freedom. God bless you all”, he said.
We reported last week that some lecturers of Obafemi Awolowo University had formed a new union called Congress of University Academics (CONUA), and elected officers to run the body following a disagreement with the national leadership of the umbrella body for university teachers in Nigeria.
The new executives are Mr Sunmonu, who is the Chairman; Fayomi Awodele, Vice-Chairperson; Henry Oripeloye, Secretary; and H. A. Adefeso, Assistant Secretary.
Others are M. O. Awoyemi (Treasurer), O. Arawomo (Financial Secretary), A. A. Shobola (Welfare Officer), B. O. Odu (Internal Auditor) and O. F. Adebowale (Investment Officer).
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