By Martin Nwoko
The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) branch on Wednesday celebrated in a grand style, its retired colleagues and staff who have contributed immensely towards the growth of the Union and the University.
In his opening remark, the outgoing Chairperson of ASUU – FUTO, Dr. Christopher Echereobia, disclosed that the event is a threefold occasion, namely; Valedictory session for the outgoing Executive of the union, a send forth party for the retired generals who retired between 2012 to 2021 and also award of scholarships to some indigent students from the university.
He stated that one student will get a scholarship of 100,000 from ASUU national while eight other students from different faculties in the Federal University of Technology Owerri will get 50,000 each to support their studies.
According to Dr. Echereobia, “many students think that ASUU is all about strike but we want to let them know that we have the interest of our students at heart. These people are intelligent but indigent, though the amount is small but it will go a long way in paying their sundry fees in school”
The ASUU FUTO Chairperson reiterated that the Academic Staff Union of Universities in FUTO is like a family and that they do not have gold or silver to give to the retirees that served the Union and the University diligently by not betraying their struggles but chose to celebrate them for their contributions by giving them awards of honour to appreciate their efforts while in service.
He therefore advised the next executive that will be coming after him to brace up to the challenges ahead stressing that educational system in Nigeria is on a life support machine and if ASUU is removed it will collapse completely.
In his words “people are still attending public schools in Nigeria because of ASUU struggle, I have never seen a selfless union like ASUU, if our struggle is only for our welfare, we may not go on strike in Nigeria”
Contributing at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri, Prof. Mrs Nnanna Oti, charged ASUU members in the University to take their academic work and research serious to help improve the falling educational standard in Nigeria.
She assured them of her support to ensure the effective and efficient discharge of their duties in the University.
Delivering his lecture at the occasion, Prof. A. B. I. Udedibie, former DVC (Academic), FUTO, commended the outgoing ASUU Executive in FUTO for coming up with the idea of celebrating its members who have retired from active service.
According to him “this is the first time ASUU – FUTO in 41 years of FUTO’s existence is organizing a Sendforth for its retired members. But as the saying goes, better late than never”
In his lecture titled, “Random Thoughts of A Retired FUTO Professor” Prof. Udedibie reminded ASUU members that University is never recognized anywhere in the world as a place for making money, stressing that it is a revered place for knowledge generation and dissemination.
Prof. Udedibie noted that those who indulge in all kinds of vices in the University such as sorting, extortion, sale of hand-outs etc to make money not belong to the university system.