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THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has begun the process of its restoration in the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State but the controversies and old wounds that bogged it down are yet to be healed.
The meeting, which held at the university’s multi-purpose hall on Wednesday at the behest of the national secretariat of the union, was presided over by the zonal coordinator, Dr. Moses Chendo, the first in the university since 2003.
Participants at the meeting revealed that the union ran into troubled waters at UNIZIK when two sharply divided camps emerged in 2003 and their inability to reconcile their differences saw to the demise of the union. But Chendo assured the academics that once a new executive was elected at the local chapter and it brings the issue of the 2003 outstanding emoluments to the headquarters, it would be favourably considered.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Boniface Egboka, said the restoration of the union would ensure a smoother relationship between the academic staff and the university management. He described himself as a key lover and beneficiary of the positive side of the union.
The crisis was compounded when the university authority refused to pay the members their salaries and entitlements over the period of a national strike by ASUU. All attempts by the national body of the union to impress on the UNIZIK authorities to yield ground failed.
Chendo, who described the meeting as a huge success going by the large turnout of professors and senior lecturers, pointed out that his team came to restore the union to its enviable position.
He said: “We are here to bring our colleagues in UNIZIK back into the ASUU. And what happened here today (Wednesday) was a huge success and heartwarming, especially the unprecedented turnout of professors. Such has never been experienced elsewhere before and it shows how interested the staff here wants to get back into the ASUU fold.”
The don said the programme to elect the local chapter executives would soon be released by the headquarters and its circular would be sent to all member campuses, adding that all the outstanding issues would be tabled before the national executive.
The former Vice Chancellor of the Anambra State University (ANSU), Prof. Iheanacho Orajiaka, said at the meeting that no university could function properly without the understanding of its academic staff in one umbrella.