CRIN CRISIS: Workers Hold a Public Symposium to Deepen the Struggle
CRIN CRISIS: Workers Hold a Public Symposium to Deepen the Struggle
By Temitope Fagunwa
Workers of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan and members of the Idi-Ayunre community, the community where the institute is situated, held a public symposium on the Thursday, 19th of November, 2015 to deepen the ongoing struggle and agitation of workers of the institute.
Since November 2, all activities in the institute have been shut down by the action of the workers including daily picketing and protest. The workers who have enjoyed massive support from the host communities are demanding the unconditional reinstatement of 91 workers unjustly sacked in 2013, lifting of ban on union activities (three staff unions proscribed in 2013), an end to administrative tyranny, respect of democratic rights and dignity of labour and removal of Akoroda as the Executive Director.
This symposium which has as its theme, “CRIN crisis: bad leadership and its effect on research and development” was massively attended by hundreds of CRIN workers and members of the host community and also enjoyed a mass coverage of both the electronic and print media in the state. Among the Speakers at the symposium are: Dr Demola Aremu, the national treasurer for Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Mr. Adedeji, a representative of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State Chapter; Dr Ibiremo, a CRIN staffer; Mr Segun Ilori, representative of Idi-Ayunre community, `Laoye Sanda, a prominent socialist activist and associate of late Ola Oni.
Declaring this symposium open was Comrade Abbey Trotsky, the Secretary of the Oyo State Chapter of DSM, who also acts as the moderator of the entire programme. Abbey Trotsky in his opening remark was able to stress that the ongoing CRIN crisis must not be blamed on protesting workers instead on the bad leadership styles of Prof Akoroda-led administration of the institute.
More details of these bad leadership styles of Prof. Malacky Akoroda and how it had impacted negatively on the growth and development of CRIN were highlighted by Dr Ibiremo, who gave a general overview of the ongoing CRIN crisis right from the inception of Prof. Akoroda-led administration in the institute. Dr Ibiremo in his presentation revealed that CRIN has completely deviated from its original mandate which is center on five crops: Cocoa, Kola, Cashew, Coconut and Tea and today concentrate on planting of potato, cassava and production of “pure water” among other things.
Dr Ibiremo also gave a long list of results of bad leadership styles of Prof Akoroda-led administration on both workers and members of the host community. Notably among these were diversion of research funds to the personal account; sack of the 91 workers and proscription of the 3 staff unions in the institute
In his own presentation, Dr. Demola Aremu, revealed that Prof. Akoroda who is his colleague in the University of Ibadan, UI, where they both lecture before his appointment as ED in CRIN has always been known for a despotic and undemocratic kind of leadership style right from the time he was a Head of Department in the University. Dr Aremu also aligned himself with the demand of protesting workers for an end to the regime of tyranny of prof. Akoroda in the institute.
Following this was the presentation from the NLC representative who in his own commended the steadfastness of CRIN workers and members of the host community and also acknowledged that the ongoing CRIN struggle has indeed become an enviable model for workers struggle not only in Oyo State but across the country at large. Therefore, he urged the leadership of the struggle and the entire protesting workers to remain resolute as he promised that the state leadership of NLC will discuss and agree on a possible programme to lend more practical support to the ongoing struggle as soon as they return from Abuja.
Sanda Laoye in his own presentation outlines about 10 different qualities of good leaders none of which was acknowledged by the entire workers to be passed by Prof. Malacky Akoroda. The undemocratic process through which the heads of institutes are appointed was also described as the root cause of their undemocratic tendencies. Therefore, urged the protesting workers not to limit the ongoing struggle to a mere removal of Prof. Akoroda but must be linked with the agitation for democratic running of the institute by the elected representative of the workers and members of the community.
Under this kind of democratic system of running a research institute, Sanda, affirms that heads of institution will have no choice than to be deriving his/her authority from the collective decision of the elected representatives of the workers. This is against the present situation whereby they rule the entire institute based on the self-serving agenda of politicians and their representative of their bureaucratic structure in ministries and agencies.
Sanda however noted that on lasting basis a democratic running of research institute cannot be guaranteed under the current prevailing capitalist system of economy in the country. He therefore urged the workers to join the struggle for a socialist transformation of the Nigeria state and its economy. This public call was made while he raised a copy of Socialist Democracy (SD), paper of DSM, which he encouraged every worker to buy for a better understanding of various limitations of a capitalist socialist and socialist alternative.
Segun Ilori, the current youth leader of the Idi-Ayunre community, was not also left out in the discussion. On his own he appealed for more consistency and more solidarity actions between workers and members of the community towards a successful end of the ongoing struggle in the institute.
Following these stimulating presentations were several comments and contribution from the audience. Notably among these was that from Tessy Otunoye, the Chairperson of the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) branch of the institute. Tessy in her contribution appreciated all the guest speakers and members of Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights CDWR (a campaign platform of DSM), who have been playing a leading role in coordinating the CRIN workers since 2013 when the struggle first broke out. In her submission she affirmed that no amount of intimidation and persecution will deter the CRIN workers from fighting on until the victory is finally attained.
Five members of DSM participated in the programme. 80 copies of the SD were sold and about 10,00 copies of the CDWR leaflet on the struggle were distributed.
For more details of the CRIN workers’ struggle read Workers Shut down CRIN Ibadan in Protest against Anti-Worker Management http://www.socialistnigeria.org/?p=2941
You can support the struggle of the workers by sending protest letter or text messages to the following: