by Segun Odeleye
Following reports in a national daily that the Niger State governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu had described the federal government team of negotiators in talks with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as “incompetent”, the governor released a statement distancing himself from the said quote.
ASUU has been on strike for two months now over contentious issues in an agreement which it signed with the federal government since 2009 which the government has failed to implement.
The report on Wednesday had said that Governor Aliyu doubted “the abilities of the negotiators on the side of the federal government to achieve any breakthrough in the ongoing dialogue with the lecturers.”
Aliyu, through his chief press secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, however described the story as untrue. He urged the public to disregard the report as it was misleading and did not reflect the governor’s comments at the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja where he addressed a continental workshop on the 3rd Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE).
“What Governor Aliyu said is that federal government can afford to offer free basic and senior secondary education while heavily subsidising tertiary education if government officials cut down on spending public funds unnecessarily,” Ndayebo said.
However, as is usual with most political talk, Gov. Aliyu did not mention in the statement what particular government spending projects needed to be cut.
“Governor Aliyu then encouraged constant dialogue between labour unions and government, stressing that strikes were unheard of in other West African countries because there was constant dialogue between the unions and government” the statement said.