BY STEPHEN GBADAMOSI, IBADAN
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Tuesday, said it wrote the House of Representatives and the Nigerian Senate in September and October 2021, but got no fruitful intervention before proceeding on strike.
Chairman of the University of Ibadan Chapter of the union, Professor Ayoola Akinwole, stated this on Tuesday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, adding that the National Assembly also reneged on its promiseto the union before it suspended a strike in 2020.
According to him, part of what the National Assembly promised was to ensure that the 2021 Budget accommodated the demands of ASUU, but the legislators failed to do this.
According to Professor Akinwole, being invited by the Speaker of the House of Representatives was not new, stating that even the Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, did not fulfill his promise to add the demands of the union to the 2021 Budget.
The ASUU boss stated that the people speaking for government were only feeding Nigerians with lies, adding that the union was in court, owing to the case the Federal Government instituted against it.
Akinwole, who stated that Nigerians should make government responsible, said that those in government were not monsters who could not be challenged.
Against the statement that 2009 agreements had been renegotiated with previous administration, as claimed by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, Professor Akinwole stated that it was total falsehood, adding that the union was on the verge of concluding the renegotiation before government jettisoned collective bargaining, a development that forced the union to proceed on indefinite strike.
The union leader disclosed that but for ASUU struggles, the leadership of Nigeria would have had easy ride of taking education out of the reach of children of the common man, “in order for them to become slaves to the children of ruling class.”
While calling on Nigerians to reject the plan of making children of the poor to serve the children of the rich, Akinwole said Nigerians should stand up and make government fund public universities, stop proliferation of universities without funding existing ones, release white paper of visitation panel and pay lecturers wages commensurate with Africa’s top rated universities and release revitalisation funds to universities.
The ASUU chairman lamented that the Federal Government and some of its ministers were not dealing with the union with open minds, but deceit, adding that the union could not be taken for a ride again.
He said government should fund universities to stop capital flight, and sign new agreements that could retain the best brains in Nigeria.
“We wrote the Speaker House of Representatives in September 2021 who is now inviting ASUU to meeting again as if he lived up to the promise he made to us while pleading with us to suspend strike in 2020.
“We also wrote the Senate through the Senate President in October of2021. Nothing happened. They all abandoned us. We gave religious bodies opportunity. It yielded nothing. Most of government people are feeding Nigerians with lies.
“I have two of my children at home with me. ASUU president does not have children studying abroad. It’s all lies and a strategy to paint him in bad light.
“We were supposed to be reviewing our salaries every three years, according to the 2009 agreements, but here we are in 2022 still fight to earn something reasonable. When it comes to the masses they will say no money but they increase their own allowances and heaven did not fall.
“ASUU does not want Nigeria to be irrelevant in the area of education.
Education is global and that is why we have to give our children global standard education and funding has a major role to play and we need to attract international scholars if we have competitive conditions of service. No one will come to Nigeria and teach with poverty wage and bad working conditions,” he said.