Don tasks tertiary institution administrators on conflict prevention

Heads of tertiary institutions in Nigeria have been advised to place greater emphasis on conflict prevention in their institutions, in order to enable them achieve the set objectives for which they were established.

This advice was given on Thursday January 26th, 2017 by a University don, Prof. Tijani Abdulwahab, in a lecture delivered at a one-day seminar organized in Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) Ondo by the institution’s chapter of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated institutions (NASU).

While noting that there is no social system that is completely free from conflict, the Lecturer from the Department of General Studies, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, speaking on a topic entitled: ‘’ Conflict Resolution: Ensuring A Peaceful Co-Existence in Tertiary Institutions’’, however, stated that administrators of tertiary institutions could address conflicts and prevent it from degenerating into serious crisis, by taking proactive steps.

He listed them to include provision of adequate funding, facilities and equipment needed for effective and proper functioning of their institutions, giving attention to the  welfare and needs of both staff and students, provision of effective communication between students, staff and Management and the involvement of major stakeholders in decision making.

He also harped on the need for transparency in the running of affairs of institutions by their administrators stating that the move would prevent rumour mongering and foster peace, unity and harmony and enhance academic excellence.

Lamenting what he observed as increasing cases of conflicts in the Nigeria educational system in recent years, which could be noticed in the closure of universities and some other tertiary institutions  for several months, the University lecturer attributed the development to actions which include strikes embarked upon  by labour unions, students’ unrest and protests.

On causes of conflicts in Nigeria tertiary institutions, the LAUTECH lecturer listed them to include competition for scarce resources, status and positions, challenge to autonomy and academic freedom; communication gap between the students and institution’s authority; existence of diverse value and belief system as well as external factors, Administrative and Management style of the institution.

As panacea to achieving stable academic calendar, peace and harmony in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, Prof. Abdulwahab urged heads of institutions to embrace good leadership styles by promoting financial transparency, development of physical infrastructure and template that would help in boosting staff and students’ welfare as well introduction of unbiased reward system.

In addition, the LAUTECH lecturer also advised institution’s administrators to make effective use of negotiation; mediation, arbitration, recognition and power sharing in conflict resolution saying the step would bring peace and harmony to their institutions.

Also speaking on the same topic, a lecturer from Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo state, Dr. Olayinka Aliu stressed the need for workers unions to act within the ambit of the law while engaging institution’s management for demands of their members.

Aliu who was represented by Mr. Seni Pinheiro also stressed the need for institution’s Management to apply  the principle of justice, equity and fairplay not onlyin the allocation of resources in their institutions but also in matters pertaining to staff welfare, promotion and appointments stating that the move would enhance peace and unity.

Earlier in his address, the Provost of the College, Prof. Olukoya Ogen represented by his deputy, Dr. Samuel Akintunde, commended NASU ACE chapter for organizing the event.

He stressed the importance of peace and appealed to the union not to relent in its effort at promoting it in the institution.

The Provost also lauded NASU for the choice of the theme of the seminar which he described as timely stating that the support provided by the College Management to the association was in demonstration of its commitment to peace and harmony in the College.

Also in his address of welcome, the Chairman NASU ACE chapter, Comrade Akingbola Olusola Henry said the body decided to organize the lecture in order to foster harmony, unity and peaceful co-existence among stakeholders in the institution.

He expressed appreciation to the College Management for supporting the Union financially in its effort at organizing the seminar and pledged continued support and cooperation to the leadership of the College.

The event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium was attended by eminent personalities from within and outside the College. They include the College Deputy Provost, Dr. Samuel Akintunde; Representative of the Registrar, Mr. Felix Eniola Aderinboye, Mrs. O.O Fakorede; Bursar, Mr. Ganiyu Abdul; Acting Librarian, Mr. Akinade Awoyemi.

Others include Ondo State Secretary, NASU, Comrade Sanusi Adewale; Organizing Secretary, Ogunsakin Tope; Comrade Liasu Jimoh, Chairman Senior Staff Union Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN) ACE chapter; representative of COEASU, members of NASU ACE Chapter to mention but few.