The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied what it described as the purported endorsement of the presidential candidate of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in the forthcoming general elections.
A statement issued by ASUU branches across the Ogun State-based universities including the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, and the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, described the report as a figment of the imagination of the reporter, and an attempt by the PDP to drag the union into partisan politics.
The statement, which was signed by the chairmen of the branches including Joel Okewale, Olatunji Ettu and Adebayo Oni for OOU, TASUED, and FUNAAB respectively, noted that ASUU members are free to associate with whichever political party they may decide to choose, but should not do so in the name of the union.
According to ASUU, a report by Tribune newspaper had announced the endorsement of Atiku by the union leadership in Ogun State after a purported meeting with former governor, Gbenga Daniel, in his house.
The union’s statement reads in part; “Our attention has been drawn to a news item in the Tribune Online of Wednesday, February 6, 2019, titled; “#NigeriaDecides: Ogun ASUU, Academics Pledge Support For Atiku.”
“The said article claimed that members of ASUU along with other stakeholders in the educational sector resolved to work, canvass and mobilise in support of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar to ensure his election in the forthcoming presidential election in February.
“In refuting the involvement of ASUU in the said resolution, we wish to state the following that: ASUU does not operate along the state divide. Therefore, there is no Ogun ASUU, just as there is no ASUU for other states. Our union has a national charter with branches in universities.
The union described the purported ‘Ogun ASUU’ as a “fabrication, completely nonexistent and a figment of (the) imagination of the newspaper reporter.”
“Whilst respecting the interest of individual academics and their political leanings, our union wishes to state categorically that ASUU has no part in the said meeting where the resolution was made and also disclaims the involvement of ASUU in the said resolution.
“ASUU views the use of its name in the newspaper item as a deliberate mischief by the newspaper correspondent who is aware that ASUU has branch executives in each of the public university in Ogun State, and should have verified the news item before publishing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, ASUU states unequivocally that at no time were any of its representatives involved in any political gathering where support was declared for any political party or candidate.
“We, therefore, dissociate ourselves from this extant Tribune Online news and any such mischievous news item. We call on the public to be wary of such news with the intrinsic frivolity and cheap attempt to ride on our Union’s integrity.”
The chairman of the Lagos Zone of ASUU, Olusiji Sowande, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, also condemned the action of the newspaper, describing the report as “unfounded and untrue.”