The Lingering LASU Crisis | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Lingering LASU Crisis

Posted: Aug 5, 2015 at 3:09 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The lingering crisis in the Lagos State University (LASU), which has culminated in the closure of the institution for over a period of four months, is indeed unfortunate, and underscores the need for the warring parties to sheath their swords in the interest of the students.

The institution has remained shut since March 16, when members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) chapters of the institution reportedly chased the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oladapo Obafunwa and other principal officers out of the University campus, as convocation ceremonies got underway.

According to available reports, the unions had been at loggerheads with Prof. Obafunwa over a wide range of issues including an alleged victimization of its members, withdrawal of certificates of some lecturers and abuse of due process by the University’s management.

Meanwhile, it is regrettable that LASU is increasingly becoming a crises-laden institution. Recall that LASU had, during the Babatunde Fashola’s administration been shut down over students’ protest on the hike of school fees by the Lagos State government. Just last year, the institution went through yet another closure after students  went on rampage, destroying properties in the process, over the Vice Chancellor’s alleged refusal to open the registration portal for over 2, 000 students who were yet to register their second semester courses. And now, working unions of the institution are back to the trenches. Every now and then, the media has been awash with stories of mayhem associated with LASU. Of course the effect robs off on the students and the reputation of the University.  Moreover, there are students who have spent an upward of eight years for a four- year course without graduating. It is vital to emphasize in line with a popular dictum that ‘when two elephants fight, the grass usually suffers.’ As the Unions in LASU are at daggers-drawn with the Management, the students are bearing the brunt.

Besides, the lingering crisis and the closure of the institution seem to be affecting a lot of things. Only recently, accreditation process of about 15 courses in the university by the National University Commission (NUC) reportedly met with hitches as the visiting team could not have access to some vital documents due to the administrative lockdown occasioned by the crisis. More so, the crisis seems to dampen the hope of the supposed new entrants into the institution. This is unacceptable and calls for an urgent and swift intervention of the Lagos State government.

Interestingly, in a bid to finding a lasting solution to the lingering LASU crisis, the governor of Lagos state, Akinwumi Ambode, had recently met with the University authorities and the unions. However, it appears that the aggrieved unions are adamant as academic activities are yet to resume in the institution.

This newspaper believes that this is not good for the Institution. Much as the grievances of the unions are probably tenable, they should not be allowed to ground academic and administrative activities in the university. There are certainly legal ways of registering such grievances. When the demand for one’s rights and privileges becomes selfish, it tends to impair the need of others.  This is why the state governor must wade into the matter in the interest of the students and the future of the institution before the situation gets messier.