The University of Uyo chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has rewarded 15 indigent students of the university who excelled in their academic pursuits with N1.7 million.
Past leaders of the union were also conferred heroes’ awards for leading it through turbulent periods in the history of the chapter.
The awardees were honoured during the Heroes’ Day Celebration held at the university on Monday.
ASUU’s national president, Prof Emmanuel Osadeke, praised the awardees for their steadfastness and selfless service to the union despite the difficulties they faced and charged them to remain committed to the course.
He urged past and present leaders of the union to rise against the alleged injustice by vice-chancellors who have turned staff employment into their ‘constituency projects’ by employing all manners of people without due process.
Osadeke noted that no university in the country has advertised for vacancies in the past six to 10 years but that staff strength has tripled in such universities, adding that those appointed have nothing to do in the academic world.
“I must heartily congratulate all the heroes honoured today for the sacrifices they made to the point of termination of appointments, seizure of salaries, demotion among other travails for speaking truth to powers for the benefit of others.
“Before now, university employment was done through advertisement followed by rigorous interviews but now how do people get here? It is through temporary appointments. That’s the problem that we have today. I do not know of any university for the past six to 10 years that has advertised, but the staff strength has tripled.
“Vice-Chancellors just sat down somewhere and packed people from traditional rulers, governors, and all other politicians into the Nigerian universities as lecturers and most of them are now scavengers in the system, going after money and all manners of things.
“Unfortunately, university employment has turned into a constituency project and we have to struggle to reverse this misnomer and bring sanity to the system,” he said.
Desmond Wilson, a professor of ethnomusicology, in a keynote, lamented that the struggles of the union have been made difficult by fifth columnists and other agents employed by the government to confuse.
While stressing that heroism was not a blank cheque to misbehaviour, the professor urged all members of the union to remain selfless and committed in the fight for the betterment of all and the redemption of Nigerian Universities from its quagmires.
The vice chancellor of the University, Prof Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, who was represented by Prof Ben Etuk, commended ASUU for its selfless service to humanity.
He noted that the role played by the union has contributed immensely to the better welfare of the University staff.
Responding, one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship award, Ekpo Friday, from the faculty of education thanked ASUU for bringing succour to the indigent students of the institution.
He added that the gesture was a morale booster for them to concentrate on their studies to finish their university education with good grades.
The acting chairperson, Prof Opeyemi Olajide, noted that the gesture was to help push the students who were also noted to be brilliant in their respective faculties to finish their course of study
Those honoured for their selfless service include Dr Etop Ndiyo; Prof Desmond Wilson; Prof Edet Akpan and Prof Joseph Ushie.
Others include Prof Aniesua Essiet and Prof Ashong Ashong.