The Academic Staff Union of Universities has begun reconciliatory talks with a breakaway group known as the Congress of University Academics with the aim of bringing them back into the fold.
ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, confirmed the development, saying “senior comrades are intervening in the matter and there are people talking to both sides”.
Ogunyemi, who did not disclose the names of the officials involved, said the universities still had the majority of their lecturers in ASUU.
Our correspondent learnt that top ASUU leaders at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, and Ambrose Ali University, Edo State, had been discussing with the breakaway CONUA members to find a middle ground.
It was reported on Monday that the 41-year-old ASUU split with the emergence of CONUA, having lecturers drawn from five universities, after the formation of the new union was announced in Ile-Ife on Saturday.
The lecturers, who unveiled the new union, were from the Federal University, Lokoja, Kwara State University, Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti and OAU.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the Federal Government had received and was looking at the application submitted by CONUA.
Ogunyemi told our correspondent that ASUU was intact and still controlled the majority of lecturers at OAU and other four universities.
He said, “We have been on this for some time. There are people that are still talking to both sides. I don’t see anything that is abnormal about reconciliation. This is not the first time that some individuals, who are aggrieved either because they were sanctioned or they were sponsored, would decide to create confusion in the fold.
“But with time, we have always come to appreciate each other better. I can give you the example of the University of Ilorin. For how many years, did we have issues with the university? But after 19 years, today we are together.
“It is usually like that. Some may not call it reconciliation but the process of discussion has been on before now. We have those who are mediating. If you go to OAU, the majority of lecturers are in ASUU, even in Ekpoma. There are senior comrades who are wading into the matter.”