By Ngozi Nwankwo
Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, has expressed satisfaction over the decision of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend the backward policy directing tertiary institutions including Colleges of Education to start remitting 40% of a non-existent IGR to the federal treasury.
The union acknowledged 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 unnecessary faceoff between labour and Government.
Commending Mr. President for his sensitivity and amiability on the matter, lecturers expressed hope that the present administration would be compatible in disposition to the Union towards alternative dispute resolution approach through constructive engagement, social dialogue and proactive bargaining characterized by mutual respect and pliability to superior logic.
While speaking through the union’ s President,Dr. Smart Olugbeko, COEASU
urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to go a step further by deploying this promising disposition to urgently address the challenges of funding 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 tranquillity and uninterrupted academic calendar in our institutions.
“We anticipate that Mr. President would apply these laudable virtues towards addressing other festering issues plaguing the College of Education system and prone to industrial crisis. For example, the centralization of payroll administration through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) undermines the statutory functions of the Governing Councils, 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 Managements 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.
“IPPIS has continued to defraud us as we have thousands of cases of short-payment, outright non-payment, unlawful delay and/or withholding of third party deductions, just to mention but few. We urge President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to revisit the issue of IPPIS in the interest justice and industrial harmony,” he stated.
The union also said other issues Mr. President needs to address include the unlawful sack of Governing Councils in violation of their statutory tenure of three years and contravention of the FCE Establishment Act.
“Of equal concern to our Union is the need to conclude the long overdue renegotiation of COEASU-FG 2010 agreement; upward review of the monthly running grant being given to the Managements of Colleges of Education and timely release of the fund; resolution of the issue of outsourced services particularly security and cleaning; and the implementation, without further delay, of the special bursary and grant to education students in Universities and Colleges of Education,” he disclosed.