The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said it has reached a negotiation on the lingering nationwide strike and was waiting for the Nigerian government on what it has to offer.
The strike enters its 180th today, Friday
The union also react to recent comments by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who said it was unreasonable for the Federal Government to borrow over N1 trillion to meet ASUU’s demands.
ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke said the federal government has not at any time indicated that it does not have money to fund the union’s demands and university education.
Osodeke said, “Do you believe the FG has no money? Is Umahi the FG? Has the Minister of Education said so? Has the Minister of Finance said so? If the person directed to resolve a matter has not said so when interlopers are saying things, who will you believe?
“When did Umahi become the spokesperson for the FG? They can borrow money for Trader Moni, they can borrow money to feed schoolchildren in schools, they can borrow to buy vehicles for Niger Republic, but they cannot borrow to fund education. We are tired too. If they want to close down all the universities formally, they should.”
When asked if ASUU would bend its demands so that the students could return to school, Osodeke insisted that the issue had to do with the government’s coming to the renegotiation table with ASUU.
“It is not about ASUU bending its demands; our demands are with the government. They should come to us with what they want. We don’t have to beg them. We agreed on something and let them send it to us. We have reached a negotiation. Let them come and tell us what they can do,” he said.
Addressing journalists at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, shortly after the institution’s ASUU congress on Thursday, which was also attended by lecturers from some other neighbouring universities, Osodeke urged parents and students to vote out leaders that have made universities remain closed nationwide.
Osodeke, who declared that ASUU would not relent in its bid to ensure better funding for universities, decried the Federal Government’s nonchalant attitude towards issues that concern education in the country.
“We also appeal to Nigerians. This matter concerns their lives. In the next five to six months, there will be an election. They should hold their PVCs, and all those who have subjected them to this, they should vote them out.
“It is their right. They should vote them out because children of the masses can’t be at home while children of those leaders will be enjoying education outside the country. That is their right and they should use their PVCs,” Sodeke stated.
He disclosed that many lecturers in Nigerian Universities have left the country to pursue their careers abroad as the Federal Government fails to resolve the lingering crisis in the education sector.
Osodeke said: “We don’t have a certain statistic but a large number of our members have moved out of the country not because they hate this country but because of the way they are being treated. There’s no country in the world where their academics will go on strike and you think the best weapon is to seize their salary.
“When we were on the strike, lecturers in the United Kingdom went on strike, it didn’t take two days for them to resolve it, the Ghanaians went on strike and they resolved it. But here, they felt nonchalant and you know why? Because they do not commit, their children are not here, they are not Nigerians, their children are abroad, and their families are abroad.
“We see the children of President, children of Senators, children of Governors having their convocation and you see other Governors coming to rejoice with them, so you have leaders who do not have any feelings for the children of the poor.