by Dare Lawal
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities have not been talking much to the press since their last 13-hour meeting with the president.
However behind the scenes, the union members are deliberating and seem to be favourably disposed to the new offer by President Jonathan which would see the FG release N1.1 trillion for the universities over the next five years at the rate of N220 billion annually.
Across the nine ASUU zones, the striking lecturers met and considered the president’s proposal on Thursday. The meetings were presided over by the zonal coordinators who briefed the branch chairmen about the FG’s offer.
The Ibadan zone of ASUU held its meeting at the Federal University Abeokuta on Thursday while that of the North Central Zone took place at the Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State.
According to The Punch:
Sources at both meetings said that though the union officials were not happy that the N400bn per year they asked for was not granted, they were however happy at the sincerity of purpose displayed by President Jonathan.
Though they expressed varied opinion about the offer, they were unanimous in commending Jonathan for being the first Nigerian leader to meet with the union.
When contacted, the Coordinator of the North Central Zone, Dr. Suleiman Mohammad declined comments on the meeting.
Mohammed, who said he was attending to some pressing issues, said only the ASUU President could speak on the issue.
But feelers across the zones, however, suggested that the lecturers might have accepted the offer of the government.
Although branch chairmen still have to call congresses, it was gathered that the union may have made up its mind to call off the strike after meeting with the Federal Government again next week.
A top official of the union said “We are happy with the humility shown by Jonathan to personally meet with us. This is the first time a sitting President will meet with the union to thrash out issues. Members were impressed with him and the strong commitment that he displayed. But some expressed fear that the new deal could go the way of past agreements that were not honoured.