Written by on September 6, 2022

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has met with Pro-chancellors and Vice-chancellors of Federal universities over the lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU).

Speaking shortly before the meeting went into a closed-door session,  the Minister tabled the position of the government in the impasse to the group for deliberations.

Adamu said while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, it is pertinent for the government not to repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign agreements it will be unable to implement.

He said Government should not in the guise of resolving current challenges sow seeds for future disruptions.

Adamu stated that in the foregoing circumstances and after Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies and interactions with the Unions, the FG has shown great commitment to resolving the current challenges; meeting with the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, with figures, and with absolute sincerity.

He said he directly met with ASUU leadership in his house, in his office, and at the ASUU Secretariat on several different occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on and to be frank with all the Unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay”.

He said in the spirit of sincerity, Government made it clear that it would not break the law.

Adamu said the past two weeks have been a very dark period of personal anguish and internal turmoil, as he used to deceive himself that in a climate of frankness, and with mutual goodwill, it will fall to his lot to bring an end to the incessant strikes in the education sector, but this has not proved possible – or, at least, not as easy, quick and straightforward, as he used to imagine.

The Minister asked the Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors not to share with them his anguish, but to share with them the details of what he has done and what remains to be done.

He said for different reasons the current positions of Government and ASUU on the future of negotiations seem to have coincided.

For me, this is a position I would have wanted us to reach after an amicable resolution of all the issues contained in the 2009 Agreements.

It appears that we are running ahead of the negotiations but not for the right reasons.

The President of ASUU has been reported to have said the union would no longer negotiate with the current Federal Government. This position must be resisted.

Government and ASUU have no option but to continue talking, until our Universities have reopened their doors to students who, clearly, are the principal victims of the seemingly unending strikes. In the circumstances, therefore, all Councils and Senates of our Universities are enjoined to rise up to their responsibilities.

We must, together, continue to work to restore our public universities to where they were in the 60s and 70s. As the most important officers in our university system, Pro Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors, must demonstrate more commitment to ending the ongoing strike. As Chairmen of Councils and Senates – the highest policy and academic bodies in the system – you must consider it your paramount duty to promote policies and actions that will discourage industrial disputes on our campuses.

The government will continue to support the physical and academic development of its universities. Government will continue to reasonably enhance the working conditions of all university staff, academic and non-teaching. The main challenge, as you are fully aware, is dwindling resources available to address all the concerns of the citizenry. We thank you for your support, understanding, and sacrifices.

By Abulu Osemuaghu

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