Hope for the quick resolution of the lingering dispute between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) deemed on Thursday.
This is coming on the heels of ASUU’s rejection of the government’s call for the re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement it reached with the union.
The Chairman, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, chapter of ASUU, Dr Ifeanyi Abada, said this while briefing journalists after the union’s congress, which was attended by some national and zonal officers.
He said UNN ASUU and other chapters of ASUU nationwide were determined to withhold their services until the Federal Government implemented the 2009 agreement it signed with ASUU.
He said: “ASUU cannot be cajoled by any unbridled campaign or blackmail as currently being paddled by some federal government officials.
“The union is worried by the insincerity of government and condemns this perfidy in its entirety”.
ASUU further demanded the removal of Prof Julius Okogie, NUC Executive Secretary, who it said had instead of mediating between the union and the government, morphed into another political valve through which universities were further demeaned and derailed.
“Okogie should be invited by government to account for over N100 billion universities stabilization fund. He has demonstrated that he has outlived his usefulness and bereft of innovative ideas and aptitude to turn universities around”, he said.
He called on education stakeholders, the clergy and traditional rulers to prevail on government to respect the 2009 agreement it entered with ASUU.
According to him, “We are not asking for government to fill our pockets with money but that universities should be well funded.It is unfortunate that students in some universities take lectures in open places and in stadium.
“We are tired of producing half-baked graduates because of ill-equipped libraries, laboratories, lack of classrooms while somepoliticians squander money meant to develop the country”.
Also speaking, Dr Chide Osuagwu, zonal coordinator, ASUU Nsukka Zone which include; UNN, UNIZIK, ESUT, Anambra StateUniversity and Ebony State University, said ASUU had exercised enough patience since 2009 the agreement was signed.
He insisted that government should implement the agreement if it wanted lectures to go back to class.
“ASUU will not attend any re-negotiating meting called by government. If government had known it cannot implement the agreement, why did it sign it?
“What government is doing is teaching Nigerians to always be insincere as well as renege in agreements, which is a very bad example”, he said.
In a remark, the past UNN-ASUU chairman, Prof Aloysius Okolie said government’s inability to allocate UNESCO twenty six percent minimum requirement annual budget to education was an indication that government does not care about quality of education in the country
“Government should consider future of Nigerian students and fulfill its own part ofagreement it reached with ASUU.
“It is shameful that war-torn country like Somalia as well as other smaller countries of the world who value education allocate above twenty six percent to education in their countries”, he observed.
About 200 lecturers across the country attended the congress, which lasted for several hours.