IPPIS and ASUU’s hidden agenda
By Rabiu Musa
The recent decision of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to disagree with the Federal Government over inclusion of its members into Integrated Personal Payment Information System (IPPIS), has generated a lot of controversy among Nigerians, as to whether the union has something to hide.
According to the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmad Idris, IPPIS is a new technological system and a unit managed by his office.
Thus, IPPIS policy is binding on all staff of the Federal Government’s payroll and is aimed at integrating its establishments; hence, ASUU alone has no reason whatsoever to resist it, even when all other federal civil servants have agreed to comply.
The AGF therefore accused the union of trying to denigrate the system, which according to him has enjoyed a wide public acceptance as a way of saving leakages to the country.
Fighting against a holistic policy that enables the Federal Government to save the sum of over N230 billion in two years is an endorsement of corruption.
The action of the union defies public interest hence, risks losing credibility and public sympathy it enjoyed over the years.
The reason for the integration, according to Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmad, is to monitor finance and ensure transparency and accountability particularly in detecting ghost workers.
For this reason, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the 2020 budget presentation at National Assembly, directed all federal ministries, departments and agencies to enroll into the system.
He ordered salary payment stoppage of any agency that fails to comply with the directive by the end of October. This directive seemingly does not augur well with the ASUU.
The union kicked against it, arguing that it is an attempt to violate the universities’ autonomy as enshrined in the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act 2003 for them to be free to deliver their mandates.
It is actually surprising that this is coming from the academics. I am sure the system will undoubtedly curtail corruption, encourage transparency and accountability.
But the union is trying by hook or crook to discredit and resist it.
This actually puts suspicion on public believe that the union is simply at war with anti-corruption crusade.
It is clear that if the union is subsumed into the system, it will detect many visiting lecturers to various universities and institutions.
This is because, lecturers are allowed to attend only one university or institution of their choice and are entitled to 50 per cent of their salary as recommended by Nigerian University Commission (NUC).
The fear that the integration into IPPIS may expose violators of this provision as the reason for the resistance is obvious.
IPPIS and ASUU’s hidden agenda
If the integration into the system is not targeted at reducing their salary, then why is the rift? This tells us that the union may have a hidden agenda beyond the so called universities’ autonomy.
ASUU should reconsider its stand on this issue and comply with the FG’s directive for a better Nigeria.
Musa is a student of the Department of Information and Media Studies, Bayero University, Kano and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org..