Employment: Asaba Communities Protest Against Dennis Osadebay University
By Ajuwa Victor
Youths of Asaba, Delta State capital, on Wednesday, May 24, protested over alleged exclusion in the employment process at the Dennis Osadebay University.
Situated in the Anwai area of Asaba, the university was established by the state government in 2021.
In a peaceful demonstration, the youths accused the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ben Oghojafor, of playing ethnic card by allegedly favouring his Urhobo kinsmen in the employment process.
The placard-bearing protesters alleged that the principle of local content has been disregarded by the management of the institution, threatening to shut down the university if the situation was not addressed.
Speaking during the protest, president of Asaba Youths, Obodo Okediachi, said as the host community, Asaba sons and daughters were being denied their privileges.
“The university is in our home and anything that is in your home, you are supposed to benefit from it. We, the Asaba community, are not benefitting from Osadebay University.
“There is no local content in the employment procedure, people that are living around here should be engaged, our younger ones not are not employed,” he said.
Also, chairman of Asaba Community Employment Committee, Ndubuisi Biose, said the action of the university management was unacceptable.
“Initially, they told us that they would co-opt members of staff from the civil service but we came to find out that he has been employing fresh academic and non-academic staff into the university.
“In all fairness, one or two of our people are here but there is what we call local content, we are the host community, this is Asaba in Oshimili land.
“It might interest you to know that there are six faculties here plus the Dean of Students Affairs making it seven. No dean is of Oshimili extraction, not even one. No Oshimili person is heading any department.
“It may also interest you to know that Oshimili as a whole has no single professor in this school. Our sons and daughters who are professors submitted their CVs, and you told them keep in view yet you are busy bringing in your own people, playing the ethnic card,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, the VC has dismissed the allegations, saying employment in the university was based on merit and area of need.
“This is a university, and you look for the best grade to operate. Two, the figures of people employed will bear testimony to that fact. We employed people across Nigeria not only the people of the state because we are looking for the best to come.
“I had gone to the Asagba of Asaba to get me people of Asaba extraction that can be employed in the university in relevant areas.
“How do you have people who just read one thing or the other and are not prepared for post university employment? We take people as we have the need for them.
“If I am looking for accountants, I have to headhunt for accountants to come into the bursary and audit. The fact would speak for itself,” he said.
Oghojafor described as fallacy claims by the protesters that professors of Asaba extraction were not employed, challenging them to bring forward those who applied and were denied employment.