Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have expressed readiness to wade into the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, made the disclosure when he led his colleagues on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
He assured that governors were ready to accept any negotiations with the striking lecturers that would lead to resolution of the contentious issues.
“We note the pronouncement of ASUU. We recall the appeal of the President to ASUU while we were visiting Daura that they should consider the future of students.
“We will not dwell on that now. We are ready to accept any negotiations for resolution,’’ Bagudu said.
Lecturers in public varsities have been on strike for over six months with no prospects of it ending soon as the leadership of the union has extended the industrial action indefinitely.
The lecturers have repeatedly complained of poor infrastructure in the universities and seeking an increase in their salaries and allowances. On Monday, February 29, ASUU directed its members to embark on total, comprehensive and indefinite strike. For more than six months, the lecturers have turned their back on the classrooms over inability of the Federal Government to implement an agreement reached in 2009. On Monday, the lecturers union declared an indefinite strike.
However, barely 24 hours after, the Federal Government has summoned Pro-chancellor, Chairmen of Governing Council and vice chancellors for a meeting.
The invitation circular cited by Leakblast.com, said the meeting is with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who is not in the country as at the time ASUU declared the indefinite strike.
The circular addressed to federal university council chairmen and vice chancellors was dated August 26 and signed by Deputy Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Chris Maiyaki.
The circular titled: “Industrial action by university-based unions: Invitation to a special interactive meeting with the minister of education” was also copied Minister of State for Education, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and the Executive Secretary of NUC.
The circular stated that the special meeting will hold on Tuesday, September 6, at NUC Auditorium.
The invitation letter read: “As the Pro-chancellors and chairmen of councils and vice chancellors are quite aware, the industrial action by university-based unions has led to the closure of the institutions since February 2022.
“You are also aware that the non-teaching unions have suspended their industrial actions with effect from 24th August 2022, while a final decision is being awaited from ASUU.”
The circular said it became necessary for the council and management of universities to be briefed on the decision and actions taken by the Federal Government so far to allow for a coordinated review of the situation, including building consensus succeeding actions.
“Consequently, I am to invite the pro-chancellors and chairmen of councils as well as vice chancellors of federal universities to a special interactive meeting with the education minister,’’ the letter stated.
The circular urged VCs to bring the notice to the attention of their respective pro-chancellors and facilitate their attendance.
Meanwhile, there are insinuations that Federal Government may use the special meeting to direct vice chancellors to reopen the universities as well as open attendance register for academic staff while the governing council chairmen may be directed to handle some of ASUU’s demands at each individual university level as employers of the lecturers.
•Osinbajo tasks APC govs to act fast on ASUU strike, economy
This came as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said there should be more efforts by the authorities at all levels to act on problems plaguing the country.
Osinbajo spoke when governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) paid him a visit over his recent surgery.
The vice-president went under the knife for knee surgery in July.
According to a statement by his media aide, issues bordering on the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the economy were discussed during the meeting.
The vice president and the governors were said to have agreed to work together to find solutions to the problems.
“We all need to work together on these critical issues. We need to think through things, and we need to do it fast,” Osinbajo said.
•Okowa urges FG to adopt Delta strategy to end strike
To end the lingering strike, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, yesterday, advised the Federal Government to send delegation to the state to under study its tertiary education system.
The four state-owned universities in Delta are not on strike.
Addressing newsmen in Asaba, the governor said there was need for federal authorities to apply the Delta State government model in addressing the teething issues within the nation’s tertiary education sub-sector.
Okowa, who sympathised with students of federal universities for the prolonged strike, said academic sessions were not disrupted in the state universities on account of industrial action, insisting that students in the state institutions graduate as at when due.
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