Professor Biodun Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has absolved itself from any electoral irregularities associated with academics involved in elections in Nigeria.

President of the body, Prof Abiodun Ogunyemi, stated this at the weekend in Awka, Anambra State, during the valedictory lecture and book presentation by the former Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Prof Ikenna Onyido.

He argued that the union was not engaged in the screening processes and therefore should not be held responsible for those found culpable of any electoral offences.

Some Rights groups have faulted the use of academics in conducting Nigerian elections, asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop engaging them in future polls.

They argued that their compromise to financial inducement posed serious danger to the advancement of nation’s electoral process.

But the ASUU boss said it has no right to stop any of its members from participating in any election in the country.

He insisted that lecturers as Nigerians had the legitimate right to be involved in any sector of the country, including the electoral processes.

He said, “Academics are Nigerians. The last elections, we made it clear that we’re not involved in screening those that will go.

“Because we are not involved, we could not vouche for those that went. They went to exercise their rights as free citizens and there’s no way ASUU can say academics should not participate.

“But if we take upon ourselves to screen those to go, it’s a different ball game. They have gone as individuals who have the legitimate rights as Nigerians to work for Nigeria.

“If any of them is found culpable, ASUU is not involved and should be absolved from any blame. That’s our stand.”

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