The Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Prof Sola Adeyeye, on Monday said that most of the requests of the members of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities as contained in the controversial 2009 agreement with the Federal Government were unrealistic.
He said the requests, if granted, could hamper the development of university education in the country.
Adeyeye, who was a lecturer for about four decades before he joined politics, said most of the university lecturers were apparently not aware of what operated in the western world.
Adeyeye, a professor of Molecular Biology, told journalists in Abuja that in the United States of America for instance, most of the institutions were flexible in terms of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.
He spoke while reacting to a statement credited to the chairman of the University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, Dr. Segun Ajiboye, who condemned Adeyeye’s contribution on the floor of the senate on the issue.
Ajiboye had said, “Having enjoyed good salary and benefits as a lecturer abroad, the senator was indifferent to the rot in the Nigerian universities.”
But Adeyeye, said, “I was bemused by the reference by ASUU spokesman, Dr. Ajiboye, to my enjoyment of Duquesne University’s reputed Flex Benefits for its members of academic and non-academic staff while denying similar benefits to ASUU members.
“First, in most instances, as its very name suggests, the Flex Benefits Programme at Duquesne was flexible. It was also contributory. The university simply matched up to a predetermined ratio, whatever amount had been contributed by the staff.
According to him, there are five universities within a four-mile radius of Duquesne University and each of the institutions has salary, wages and benefits structure that are unique to its own institution.
This, he said, was quite different from the Nigerian situation where he noted that” ASUU wanted a retention of the rigid system whereby a Professor of Engineering at the University of Lagos enjoyed similar salary structure as a Professor of Religious Study at Ibadan and a Professor of History at Ile-Ife.”
Adeyeye also faulted Ajiboye’s assertion that he had his own (Adeyeye’s)children educated in the USA, while not caring for the children of ordinary Nigerians who were being made to bear the grunts of the rots in the nation’s tertiary education sector.
“Dr. Ajiboye erroneously, and perhaps deliberately and mischievously, sneered that as a senator, I sent my own children to be educated in the USA. All my children had either graduated or had been admitted into a university between September, 1980, when I left Nigeria and 2002, when I finally returned to the country.”