The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union(COEASU), on Monday commended the president, Bola Tinubu, for listening to the “voice of reasoning” by suspending the deduction of 40 per cent from the internally generated revenues of Federal Government-owned tertiary institutions in the country.
In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, the union described the policy as a “backward” policy that will be resisted anytime the government “attempts” to reintroduce it.
Tinubu, via the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, at the University of Ibadan, last Friday announced the suspension of the policy, which received widespread criticism from academic unions such as COEAU, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, among others.
Speaking in the statement, COEASU said, “The leadership of our great union receives with immense satisfaction the decision of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to suspend the backward policy directing tertiary institutions, including colleges of education, to start remitting 40 per cent of a non-existent IGR to the federal treasury.
“While we knew absolutely that the policy would not stand as we were poised to resist it with all legitimate powers we possess as a trade union in the sector, we must acknowledge the sense of good reason, listening disposition, democratic ethos, and responsible leadership shown by Mr President in suspending the policy without allowing the situation to degenerate into an unnecessary faceoff between labour and government. We therefore commend Mr President for his sensitivity and amiability on the matter.
“With this gesture of Mr President, it seems to us that our union has eventually found a government that is compatible in disposition with our union towards an alternative dispute resolution approach through constructive engagement, social dialogue, and proactive bargaining characterized by mutual respect and pliability to superior logic.
“Nonetheless, we urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to go a step further by deploying this promising disposition to urgently address funding challenges in the College of Education system and other tiers of the tertiary education sector altogether.
“We call on Mr President to always ensure that issues raised by labour are proactively dealt with through social dialogue and collective bargaining. By so doing, we can together ensure industrial tranquilly and an uninterrupted academic calendar in our institutions.
“We anticipate that Mr President will apply these laudable virtues towards addressing other festering issues plaguing the College of Education system and prone to industrial crises.
“For example, the centralization of payroll administration through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System undermines the statutory functions of the governing councils and breaches the establishment integrity of the tertiary education sector in general and the College of Education system in particular.
“It opens the payroll up to unilateral manipulations and all manners of fraud beyond the control of the management of our institutions.
“It has eroded the power and authority of provosts and governing councils to employ, as the office of the Head of Service determines who and when to employ. IPPIS contravenes global best practices in the management of tertiary institutions and disrespects the peculiarities of the COE system.”