I Strike: ASUU zonal leaders meet to talk about FG’s offer today


The Academic Staff Union of
Universities will meet on Monday
(today ) to deliberate on the offers
made by the Federal Government last
Thursday in Abuja.
It was gathered on Sunday that the
union would meet at zonal levels
nationwide , where the members would
determine whether to accept the offers
made to them or not .
It was learnt the union would take a
position on the ongoing strike which
had paralysed academic activities in
state and federal universities.
The Chairman , UNIAbuja chapter of
ASUU, Dr . Ben Ugheoke , confirmed
that the union would hold a crucial
meeting on the labour action .
He explained that after the zonal
meetings , the decisions would then be
communicated to the national
executive council of the union which
would take a final position on the
issues.
READ ALSO: BREAKING: ASUU making unrealistic
demands - Ezekwesili

“ After the zonal meetings on Monday,
the outcomes of the meetings would go
through another process before a final
decision is taken , it is a tortuous
process, ” Ugheoke explained .
The Federal Government had during
the meeting with the ASUU leadership
in Abuja offered to pay N 23 bn and a
monthly payment of N 1 . 5 bn pending
the outcome of the forensic audit
being carried out by the Ministry of
Finance .
The government had also yielded to
other demands by the ASUU leadership
led by its President, Prof . Biodun
Ogunyemi, Vice - President, Emmanuel
Osodeke, a former union president, Dr.
Dipo Fashina , and another member.
The government team led by the
Minister of Labour and Employment ,
Dr. Chris Ngige , was said to have
rejected the union ’s demand for
exemption of universities from the
Treasury Single Account.
Meanwhile, ASUU has dismissed a
statement credited to a former
Minister of Education , Oby Ezekwesili,
in which she said the union ’s demands
were unrealistic .
The UNIAbuja ASUU Chairman said
she should propose realistic
alternatives rather than condemn the
union’ s demands which he said were
meant to reform university education
in the country .
Ugheoke explained that the N1 .3 tn
university revitalisation fund would
not go to ASUU, noting that the union
had proposed to the government how
the money should be utilised to ensure
it did not end in private pockets .
The university teacher said when
Ezekwesili was trying to get the
government to privatise the unity
schools as the education minister ; she
hinged her argument on the poor state
of the schools.
He wondered why she was
condemning ASUU’ s demands which
he described as “ agitations for the
poor.”
He said , “ What is unrealistic about
ASUU’ s demands ? It means she was
engaged in cheap deceit of the highest
order , she is unrealistic .
“ Let her state those demands she feels
are unrealistic and then propose
alternatives and you would see that
she would propose no alternatives
other than raising of school fees. That
is what she is going to come up with .”
The News Agency of Nigeria had
earlier reported Ezekwesili on Sunday
of saying that ASUU demands were
unrealistic in the light of the current
economic situation in Nigeria .
The former minster said the lasting
solution to the crisis bedevilling the
education sector could only be found
from strong analysis of the issues
raised by ASUU and evidenced - based
policies.
“ Money is not limitless and yet
everyone must acknowledge that
investment in education is crucial and
it is key.
“ There are , however, some
fundamental reforms that the sector
needs in order to ensure that it is not
about the size of the funding but about
the productivity of the funding .
“ You cannot simply express a desire, it
must be founded on reality and that
means you must know what can be
achieved within a given period, ” she
said .
According to her , a structural and
policy change which allows public and
private investments should be
integrated into the university system .
“ If you remember , the ASUU
negotiation started in 2007 when I was
the Minister of Education and we
constituted a government negotiation
team, led by the late Gamaliel
Onosode.
“ Even though that period was short,
one of the major issues for me was for
us to make sure that we were being
evidenced - based in the way we were
solving the problem .
“ We considered issues like the existing
model in countries similar to us in
emerging economies, ’’ she said .
The former minister said the team also
considered what could be done by the
public and private sectors about
university funding among others .
“ Those are the kinds of evidences that
we had and on the basis of which we
hinged our negotiation at that time ,
“ It was a very short period and then
we had to leave and the next
government that took over had to
continue.
“ I do not know the basis of the final
agreement they reached with ASUU ,
but if it was not anchored on
analytical evidence, I am not surprised
that there has been inability to
implement it. ”
Ezekwesili urged both the Federal
Government and ASUU to return to the
negotiating table and work on the
basis of analysis and evidence to find
a lasting solution to the dispute.

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