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Politics of Sunday, 14 August 2022

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

ASUU faces criticism over call against APC govt

President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke

Some Nigerians on social media at the weekend condemned the call by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, that the leaders who have allowed the union’s strike to linger should be voted out of power during the 2023 general elections.

Mr Osodeke said the union was mobilising Nigerians, enlightening them on why and how they should use their voters’ cards.

Mr Osodeke, who spoke in a recent media interaction which was aired by the Africa Independent Television (AIT) lamented the poor response of the Nigerian government to his union’s agitation.

He accused the government of insensitivity towards the plight of Nigerian students, parents and the university system, saying it allowed the ivory towers to be shut down in February.

He said Nigerians should vote out all those who have watched the ASUU strike linger for almost six months.

He said; “We also appeal to Nigerians, this is their life. And the beauty is that, in the next five to six months, there is an election, they should hold their PVC. For all those who have subjected them to this, they should vote them out. It’s their right. They should use the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).

“We are mobilising Nigerian people. We are educating Nigerian people to know that the present set of leaders have no feelings for Nigerian students, and have no feelings for Nigeria as a country. And that is why they are looking down on the education system, allowing the universities to be shut down for almost six months without response.”

Backlash

While the ASUU president did not mention any leader or political party, many Nigerians who assumed his comment was directed at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), accused the union of being political with its current industrial action.

A twitter user @StFreakingKezy tweeted: “ASUU is just the education wing of PDP”.

Another user @GbengaGOLD said: “ASUU has shown their hand and I hope FG will simply take them to the Industrial Court and get a judgement that forces them back to work. Clearly partisan at this point.”

“The ASUU President confirmed the strike was about next year’s election. Well, most sensible Nigerians knew that a long time ago hence the deliberate stalling and refusal to bend. It’s unfortunate they’re making many suffer including their members,” @dryaks tweeted.

Another tweet by @ahafizmarusa reads: “The negotiation is likely not happening soon. ASUU has taken a political stance maybe to blackmail FG into submission but it might backfire and at the end we the students will continue to suffer their failure to reconcile this issue.”

StrikeASUU embarked on strike in February to demand better funding for the university system and better remuneration for its members.

The union also wants the government to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for its members.

ASUU said IPPIS is marred with irregularities and does not recognise the peculiarities of universities.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on 19 July ordered the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to take over negotiations with the striking lecturers from his counterpart at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, as the strike lingers.

Mr Adamu reportedly told the President that he could address the issues “within two to three weeks” if allowed to do so.

However, almost two weeks after his pledge, ASUU renewed its strike by another four weeks on 1 August.

Meanwhile, PREMIUM TIMES reported that the minister will brief Nigerians on the state of negotiations with the workers union next Thursday.

Again, Buhari appeals to striking workersMeanwhile, President Buhari, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, a professor, has again appealed to ASUU to reconsider its stance on the ongoing strike.

The President, who spoke on Friday at a special convocation ceremony organised to confer honorary doctorate degree on a business mogul, Muhammadu Indimi, by the University of Maiduguri on Friday, said; “The nation cannot afford long interruption of higher education of the youths and wouldn’t undermine the development of the nation’s human capital in a strictly competitive world”.

ASUU is not the only university-based union on strike.

The Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and other Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) are also on strike over similar demands.

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.

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