The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, announced yesterday that it may embark on an indefinite strike. This statement was made yesterday after a closed door meeting with the representatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Although Professor Ogunyemi refrained from giving details of the meeting. Our source said that negotiations hit a dead end as the Federal Government refused to meet the demands of ASUU.
This is not the first time ASUU would be embarking on a strike action. This would be the third time in two years, and on each occasion, the strike lasted more than six months. It is obvious that previous interactions between ASUU and the Federal Government on the long standing problem. Only succeeded in proffering temporary solutions.
This is a very unfortunate precedent as it puts Nigeria. In very bad light, and make a joke of our education. Our education is indeed in shambles, and more worrisome is the fact that students become tools for political thuggery. Especially as the elections are fast approaching. They are forced to stay in school longer than necessary. Thereby delaying their positive contributions to society. With little or no importance placed on education in Nigeria. It is no wonder that graduates from Nigerian universities are termed unemployable.
According to Professor Ogunyemi, the Federal Government will meet again with ASUU on Friday, at the negotiation table, which meeting will hopefully yield good fruit. He has strongly advised all her members to comply with her directives, even as she has threatened to sanction non compliant members.
“Education is the most important, but one of the most neglected sectors in our country. Over the years, our government have shown reluctance to improve this sector, and have consistently failed to honestly look into the demands of ASUU. We have to insist on what is right, because the future will hold us accountable. Victory for ASUU is victory for education in Nigeria“, he said.
In an interview with Professor Adamu, the vice chancellor of the University of illorin, he opined that ASUU is not asking for too much. According to him, the union is only asking for improved funding of the universities. He insisted that the government has to get it right this time in order to ensure quality education.
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Adamu urged the union to devise better means of sanctioning non compliant members for better result, as many universities are fond of boycotting strike actions and paying penalties. He maintained that an injury to one is an injury to all, and that ASUU’s demands will never be met if there is a divided house.
“ASUU is not a political group. We do not yield to political pressure, and we are not advocating for our personal interests. Our interest is for the common man. The common man is me and you, It is our children who are direct recipients of this decay in our educational system. When we protest, they won’t understand, because the Nigerian system is not their reality. It is a clear case of a man who leaves his house burning, because he enjoys shelter at his neighbors.“.
Meanwhile, the honorable minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, enjoined lecturers to prioritize service to their students, and the nation. In his statement issued yesterday, he maintained that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to ensure that everything is stabilized. He further stated that the last thing the country need right now, is the instability that strike actions bring.
While he did not say anything about the Federal Government meeting the demands of ASUU, he enjoined everyone to stay positive and hopeful that subsequent meetings with ASUU will end well, and chart the course for a new beginning.
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