ASUU Strike: Governors Intervene
The Progressive Governors Forum has offered to take over negotiations aimed at resolving the current strike, and the Academic Staff Union of Universities has stated that the union is open to the offer provided it is legitimate.
The union’s National Vice-President, Dr Christopher Piwuna, disclosed this in an interview with yesterday.
The PGF Chairman, Abubakar Bagudu, who also serves as the governor of Kebbi State, reportedly stated that the forum would like to take control of the negotiations on Tuesday while leading his colleagues on a visit to the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (ret. ), at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The union announced a total, indefinite strike on Monday in response to the FG’s reluctance to accede to ASUU’s requests and the standoff that resulted from the previous negotiation meeting on August 16, 2022.
Piwuna said, “They (the governors) have not informed us, they have not reached out to us to tell us this but the issue of education concerns every Nigerian, so there is nothing wrong for them to show interest so that this matter is settled in the best interest of the country and in our best interest and everyone interested in education. They should be concerned as Nigerians because they have been elected to office to solve problems.
“We hope the intervention will be genuine and based on respect for collective bargaining. We don’t want to be roped in to any discussion that will appear as if we are going to jettison our collective bargaining.”
Dr. Dele Ashiru, the chairman of the University of Lagos ASUU, agreed with Piwuna. He said, “It is a welcome development if they have the mandate of the FG to negotiate on its behalf. The challenge we have is the government’s insincerity. It set up the Babalakin Committee, Jubril team and Nimi-Briggs now, yet all the reports were kicked out. If they will negotiate and eventually sign whatever is renegotiated, our union is open to interventions from all well-meaning Nigerians, including the governors.”
Piwuna and Ashiru insisted that the Senate, not a Vice-Chancellor or Visitor, has the authority to open and close universities when questioned about a viral report that the University of Benin would withdraw and resume on September 4, 2022, as well as some state universities who ya were ordered to resume by their Visitors.
Piwuna clarified by saying, “Every university has the right to announce resumption but it is left for us to decide if we want to work or not. For now, we are on strike.
“UNIBEN is one of our strongest branches. It will be a waste of time for the VC to think she can cajole our members to return back to work without this matter being resolved nationally.”
Ashiru added, “The UNILAG that I represent was also rumoured to have pulled out. These are mere speculations from desperate agents of government who are all bent on causing disunity and discord among our members. I can authoritatively tell you because I am in touch with the UNIBEN ASUU Chairman, and that what you read online about those universities are mere fabrications by desperate agents of the government.”
Osun varsity’s transfer
In an interview with The PUNCH, Ademola Adesoji, the Osun State University’s public relations officer, stated that the institution has launched a site for students eager to transfer from their schools to the university.
It is reported that the university has defied the ASUU strike, making it one of the few public universities to do so.
Adesoji said, “Yes, it is true. The new directive is for the general public and not only for students who are affected by the ongoing ASUU strike.
“Students who want to transfer must meet certain requirements, one of such is the transcript and I am not sure if non academic staff members can process that now and it also depends on the university.”
Bayelsa Government Appeals
In a statement released on Wednesday by his chief press secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, Bayelsa State Governor Mr. Douye Diri urged professors at the publicly funded Niger Delta University to end their seven-month-old solidarity strike with the national organization of ASUU.
Alabrah claimed that the governor made the decision at a banquet held in Yenagoa on Tuesday in honor of the champion Bayelsa United Football Club.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on lecturers at the Niger Delta University to call off their strike. I have already given directives to the governing council, which represents the government in the management of that university,” he said.