Confusion in Ondo Universities as govt issues contradictory letters on retirement age
Members of staff of the Ondo State Government-owned tertiary institutions, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, AAUA, and the Ondo State University of Science and Technology, OSUSTECH, Okitipupa are currently in limbo as regards two different letters emanating from the state government on the issue of retirement age.
It was gathered that the situation was as a result of the directive from the office of the Secretary to the State Government for the management of the universities to disregard the letter earlier addressed to the affected institutions on the approval of new retirement age for staffers.
In separate letters addressed to all heads of the institutions, the Attorney General, Kola Olawoye, SAN, had disclosed that the government had approved a new retirement age for its institutions.
The letter stated that the new retirement age was approved by the State Executive Council in their meeting held on Monday 6th May, 2019.
According to him, a new retirement age for a Professor was pegged at 70 years from 65 years, while other academic staff will now retire at the age of 65 years.
Olawoye also noted that the new retirement age for non-academic staff in all the institutions has also been fixed for 65years from the previous 60 years old.
The Attorney General in the letter emphasized that the new retirement age takes immediate effect.
However, in another separate letter, dated May 23, 2019 which was also addressed to heads of the institutions, the SSG, Ifedayo Abegunde advised management of the institutions to disregard the Attorney General’s position on the new retirement age.
Abegunde, in his letter, while confirming the newly approved retirement age, advised the institutions’ management to stick with the ages contained in their laws.
The letter read, “The attention of the Ondo State Government has been drawn to a letter addressed to the Vice-chancellors, Adekunle Ajasin University,Akungba Akoko(AAUA) and the Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) Okitipupa respectively on the above subject matter.
“The state government wishes to state that although the new retirement age for academic and non-academic staff in tertiary institutions in the state has been approved by State Executive Council, however, the law establishing the institutions have to be amended before the new retirement age can take effect.
“The managements of tertiary institutions in the state are therefore advised to disregard the letter on the new retirement ages and adhere to retirement ages contained in the respective edit establishing the institutions,” the SSG wrote.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information, Yemi Olowolabi, confirmed that the new retirement age was approved by the state executive council.
Olowolabi agreed with the SSG that the retirement age could not take effect until the laws establishing the institutions are amended.
“I think both the Attorney General and the SSG are basically saying the same thing but the new retirement age can’t take effect until the laws of the institutions are amended.
“The Attorney General communicated our decision to the institutions for the management to begin the process of amending the laws through the state House of Assembly.
“Until the laws are amended, any actions taken will be illegal.”
Speaking on the development, the Chairman of AAUA chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr Sola Fayose stated that, “Unfortunately, the same exco meeting produces two different letters. That shows that the system is not running well.
“The most appropriate thing we are clamouring for is that, what is obtainable in other universities should be obtainable in AAUA. The institution should not be treated in isolation to what happens in other universities around.
“Even, the letter has an error, because the issue is not about Professors alone but all those on professorial cadre.
That is Associate Professors and Professors. The one the government wrote was Professors, which is wrong.”