by Dare Lawal
During Wednesday’s sitting of the senate, the senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba and 106 others proposed a motion entitled “Appeal to Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off their strike action and return to work.”
Making his own contribution to the debate, the senate president David Mark labelled those who negotiated with ASUU on behalf of the federal government in 2009 as ignorant.
Mark said that when he saw the signed agreement, he wondered if it was an agreement or a proposal. According to him, the ASUU team took advantage of the ignorance of the FG negotiators.
Those who negotiated on behalf of the government were Deacon Gamaliel O. Onosode, late Prof. Musa Abdullahi, Prof. Greg Iwu, Rev. Father T. E. Uwaifo, Barrister Emeka Nwankpa, Amb. Muh. Adamu Jumba, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and Senator Abdalla Wali.
Senator Mark also pointed out that statements credited to minister of state for education Wike that the strike would be resolved in a few months was insensitive, adding that the problems should have been tackled yesterday and people should desist from making inflammatory statement. Mark also called on the FG to avoid reneging on agreements.
He said, “My appeal on behalf of the Senate is that both ASUU and the federal government should be ready to shift ground and not just stand on their current positions over the matter which would not do anybody any good and even any one of them any good.
“I want to beg ASUU in particular, on behalf of the Senate, to, in line with our resolution here today, suspend its four-month-old strike in the interest of the students and in fact our dear country whose education sector is at the verge of collapse as a result of this strike and other associated problems.
“For those who negotiated on behalf of the federal government with ASUU in October 2009, the facts made available to us today by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Uche Chukwumeje, showed that they are people who do not know their right from their left and, in the process, put the federal government into the problem it is facing today, because when the agreements were read out I thought they were mere proposals, only for Chukwumerije to confirm that they signed the largely un-implementable agreements characterized by payment of all manner of allowances.”
The senate also adopted a resolution calling on the university lecturers who have been on strike for the past four months to suspend the strike and return to work to prevent further devaluation of the country’s educational fortunes.
Senators mandated senate president David Mark to engage the president and the leadership of ASUU to bring the strike to an end
The Senate authorised the Senate Committee on Education to continue to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission, the ASUU and all other relevant stakeholders to proffer lasting solutions to stem further strikes in the country.