Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale has commended the leadership of the University of Port Harcourt Branch of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) for its mature approach in handling matters concerning the welfare of its members.
Professor Lale made the commendation when he received the new Branch Executive Committee in his Office last Monday, praising NAAT for being the least worrisome union in the system.
The Vice-Chancellor described the role of Technologists as very critical in the running of laboratories and other administrative processes, especially in science-based disciplines. He assured them that Management believed that every union was important to the development of the University. The Vice-Chancellor added that it would be in the interest of all stakeholders to have vibrant unions in the University to articulate the interest of their members and make meaningful contributions to the institutional growth.
Reacting to some requests tabled before him by the Union, the Vice-Chancellor frowned at a situation where Technologists were left out in the procurement of laboratory equipment and other consumables, directing that a meeting of Deans and Heads of Department of Science-related courses be convened with Management to address the weighty issues raised by the NAAT Executive. “We all have our job schedules and nobody should be allowed to take over the defined role of other professionals in the system,” Professor Lale told the Executive.
He also assured them of the commitment of Management to give staff their legitimate entitlements when they were made available. “I can assure you that if the Federal Government allocates any fund to pay to our staff, we will not hesitate to do so. I will not keep anybody’s entitlement for whatsoever reason. I do not have anything to gain by so doing,” he stated, adding that “all I want the unions to know is that once the Federal Government does not back any policy with cash, there is nothing we can do.”
Reacting to NAAT’s request for the employment of more laboratory staff, the Vice-Chancellor told the Union that it was difficult to engage new staff at the moment, because of the tortuous processes put in place by government. He promised to table the matter before the appropriate authorities in Abuja.
Earlier in her address, Chairperson of the Branch, Mrs. Patricia Ijente, praised the Vice-Chancellor for his giant developmental strides, especially the recent massive renovation of hostels and classrooms. She appealed to the authorities to extend the initiative to the laboratories.
“We also wish to appeal for inclusion in the TETFund/Capacity Building programme, allocation of land for NAAT Secretariat, implementation of FG/NAAT Agreement, as well as provision of Personal Protective Appliances and payment of peculiar allowance to our members to motivate them to greater productivity,” she requested.
In a related development, the Vice-Chancellor has challenged members of the local Branch of the University Secretariat Staff Association to take their personal development seriously in order to place themselves on a competitive pedestal with their counterparts elsewhere.
Professor Lale gave the charge when the Executive members of the UniPort Branch of the Association paid him a visit in his office last Monday. He stated that “the greatest training you can get is that which you give to yourself. I encourage you to ensure that you undergo regular personal training programmes to update yourselves on current trends in your career line and also complement that with self-development. We will continue to do our best to train staff within the limits of available resources.”
Earlier in her address, Chairman of the UniPort Branch of the Association, Mr. Sunday Aweka, expressed gratitude to Management for intervening to end the logjam created by the refusal of the Donald Ileberi-led Executive to hand over to his Executive as directed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Anthony Ibe during the Branch Congress. Mr. Aweka appealed for the training and retraining of his members, payment of responsibility/hazard/secretarial allowances, amongst others issues he tabled before the Vice-Chancellor at the courtesy call.