‘ We’ll take RUGIPO to a world class’
By Banji Alabi
It was President John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States of America , in his inaugural address, inspired children and adults to see the importance of civic action and public service. His historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” challenged every American to contribute in some way to the public good. In this lesson, students learn about a theme in President Kennedy’s inaugural address, civic action, and consider how it applies to their own lives.
In the words of President Kennedy, I challenge all members of the Polytechnic community to think of what you will do for RUGIPO
I appeal for “peace and calm” on our campus: I know emotions are raw right now in our Polytechnic community and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened during the last few days,” . “But let’s remember that we’re all part of one RUGIPO family, we are united in common values and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests.” There was no excuse for blockage of the road and preventing students from writing their examination and preventing other lecturers from exercising their freedom of association as entrenched in our laws .
The management of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, by circulars dated January 30th , 2019 emphasized this as much in the following words – section 12 (4) Trade Union Act 2005 (as amended) States Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Act, membership of a trade union by employees shall be voluntary and no employee shall be forced to join any trade union or be victimised for refusing to join or remain a member.
(ii)Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides amongst other things that: Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.
(iii)From the foregoing, we take the view that the right to peaceful assembly and association are voluntary. Undoubtedly, the constitution preserves the prerogative of every individual to exercise free will to join or not join an association. This voluntariness or exercise of freewill either way underlies the spirit of Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution. For this reason, the concept of “mandatory” membership of association is illegal, it is an unconstitutional interference with the freedom of association recognised under the constitution and it is void to the extent of its violation of the Constitution. The notion of “mandatory” membership of associations cannot be reconciled with the “freedom” of association under Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and international law.
(iv)Accordingly, any law purported to be operated by any trade union at RUGIPO relating to mandatory membership is void. As an institution, we will continue to create an environment for freedom of expression and association within constitutional limits. We will also strongly disallow any measure or action that interferes with the enjoyment of rights vested by the Constitution. Accordingly, we declare that:
(a)Membership of ANY trade union shall be voluntary at RUGIPO.
(b)Participation and attendance of the meeting and activities of union activities shall be voluntary.
(c)It shall be a flagrant violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and a conduct punishable with summary dismissal for any employee of RUGIPO to compel another to participate in the union activities and meetings.
(d) It shall be a violent violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and a violation of laws for anyone to restrict the freedom of movement of anyone, within the RUGIPO by blocking access to roads or classrooms, in furtherance of union activities.
Distinguished colleagues, It was therefore, with profound shock and sadness that I learnt of the incident of Tuesday June 18th where our former ASUP union leaders resorted to illegality and orchestrated the break down of laws and orders in furtherance of union activities
I will humbly appeal to all members of the Polythenic community to focus on the objectives for which the school was established: And to desist from any act that is not consistent with our aims & objectives
Rufus Giwa Polytechnic was establish in 1979 with the aims and objectives : namely: training and developing techniques in Applied Science, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Accounting, Commerce and Home Economics.
To stimulate spirit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and creative activities among staff and students.
To encourage academic freedom,creative and innovate thoughts, ethical standards, integrity, accountability and social justice.
To be a leading Technological Institution recognized globally for its quality, relevance and impact in the area of training and research for developing people and making a difference locally and globally.
Our Core Values Include:-
Spirit of excellence in teaching, research,scholarship and creative activities.
Promotion of hard work, team spirit,originality, self reliance,Integrity and ethical values
We must recognize that at the heart of the problems confronting RUGIPO, at the heart of ninety percent of our issues – is that there are few people or “ warlords” who profit from the poverty, the total collapse of the image and the infrastructure of RUGIPO, these people will do everything possible to frustrate the repositioning of the school, and deny the school the opportunity to fulfill the purpose for which it was established:
We are beginning to feel the impact of their negative intervention, with the poor enrollment for this academic year at RUGIPO : the school is crumbling, Friends & investors are running away to other places : They wrote to Teetfund and NBTE to blacklist RUGIPO
These people are not concerned with scientific discoveries, academic excellence or creation of Value or IGR that will move the school forward.
Employees in academic environment elsewhere are disrupting the status quo, publishing scientific discoveries that address issues confronting humanity, pushing for innovation, changing the narrative and pushing for new frontiers: Making huge money from IGR intervention
At RUGIPO The major pe-occupation of these few people , is on how to disrupt the academic calendar and enhance their bragging rights and war lordship—- this is not sustainable.
As long as these few people remain entrenched, and so long as we do not encourage them to change their ways and provide them with incentives to contribute to the growth of RUGIPO, we are not going to find a solution and we are not going to reach our true potentials.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.- this morning I extend my hands of fellowship to all members of the Polytechnic community , I call on all members of the Polytechnic, Owo community and our union leaders to come to our own “Mesopotamia “ and help – We are open to advice, criticism and suggestion on how to raise sufficient IGR & move the school forward ;
We are working hard to ensue the payment of the four months outstanding salaries and resolve the issues of the outstanding promotions:
Promotion is based on
Promotion is not based on length of service nor numbers of years spent on a particular grade- it is based on the above listed criteria .
The Council, Management and our union leaders have the same goal of enhancing the working conditions of all our employees and make RUGIPO the best place to work in Nigeria— therefore we must work together as a team : We must not do anything to disrupt the academic calendar of the school, doing so will further worsen our students enrollment, consequently our IGR and the ability to pay salaries and wages as at when due ;
Our salaries burden each month is about N280M while the government subversion is about N200M . Each month we source for N80M to be able to meet up with the salary burden from school fees payment :
We are open to suggestions on how to move the school forward and that was why we established the IGR committee and made our union leaders as members, so that we all work together, to raise sufficient IGR and be able to meet our needs but unfortunately, our former ASUP leaders opted for blackmail and playing to the gallery, which will further worsen our situation and make our abilities to pay salaries and carry out promotion excercise more difficult, if not impossible ,as our investors are turning back from investing in our school.
Distinguished colleagues- We are not there yet, we supposed to be but we are not where we used to be . The last PDP administration, despite better funding owed us nine months salaries but Aketi came and resumed payments of monthly salaries as at when due and also liquidated five months out of the nine months outstanding salaries owed to workers : Between June 2018 and June 2019 , we have paid 17 months salaries as follows:
1 Jan-18, 2 Feb-18, 3 Mar-18, 4 Apr-18 INTERVENTION
- May-18 INTERVENTION, 6 Jun-18, 7 Jul-18 , 8 Aug-18
9 Oct-16 2016 SUBVENTION ,10 Nov-16 2016 SUBVENTION , 11 Sep-18, 12 Oct-18, 13 Nov-18, 14 Dec-18
15 Jan-19 , 16 Feb-19, 17. Mar-19
In my opinion, these payments represents excellent developments.
I appeal to all members of the Polytechnic community and our union leaders to be law abiding and to ensure non-disruption of the academic calendar: it is better to jaw jaw than to war war: The only certainty in war is human suffering, uncertain costs, unintended consequences. and loss of jobs- Nothing will be gained from it
It is a fundamental principle of law : Namely : Nemo dat quod non habet’ which means, ‘you cannot give what you do not have’.
The only way to guarantee regular payment of salaries and promotions is to insist on
(1) non disruption of academic calendars
(2) Wearing our innovation caps to raise sufficient IGR for our operations- other schools are doing well and raising 100s of millions Naira every year as IGR – We must do the same .
(3) All of us must assume the role of marketing managers to launder the image of our school and attract more enrollments.
The representative of the Governing council will be meeting with all members of the Board of Studies , Head of departments and critical stakeholders to ensure that we re-open our school as soon as possible , so that our students can write their exams in earnest and for us to engage in aggressive marketing to enhance enrollment of fresh students,
Our new school fees regime as advised by our union leaders and others of the IGR committee are very competitive and attractive .
On our part as members of Management and the Governing council, we are prepared, ready and determined to take and lift our RUGIPO to a world class institution
Our quest is worthy and our goal is noble. We are confident we will succeed, and our beloved RUGIPO will thrive and prosper!
This is our goal and it is non -negotiable! We are confident of the righteousness of our Cause. We are confident we will get to the pinnacle of success by God’s grace.
NEVER AGAIN- will we allow few individuals to hold us to ransom. NEVER AGAIN
Aluta Continua : Victoria Ascerta.
Alabi, the chairman of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State, delivered this speech to staff members on 25th June, 2019, at the Adekunle Ajasin Auditorium of the institution.