…as Alumni Nat’ leader backs NANS’ threat to shut down private varsities
From Kehinde Adewole
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the Union’s lack of trust in the Federal Government has been responsible for their continued strike action to press home their demands for a better University system in Nigeria.
This was just as the threat to shut down all private varsities issued by the new President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Sunday Asefon, has received backing from the National President, Alumni Association of his Alma Mater, Ekiti State University (EKSU), Dr. Dotun Adetunberu.
It will be recalled that ASUU embarked on strike action in March to ask for revitalization fund, Earned Academic Allowances and other demands government had agreed to make available several years ago.
After series of meetings by ASUU and FG’s team led by Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister a few days ago decried that ASUU reneged on its promise to end the strike, claiming that government has fulfilled the Union’s demands. But ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi has denied reaching agreement with FG to end strike action.
Local branch chairman of ASUU in EKSU, Dr. Kayode Arogundade told newsmen during a meeting of the institution’s Alumni association held at Dave hotel in Ado-Ekiti, at the weekend, that government has, over the time, given ASUU concrete reasons not to be trusted, having reneged on several promises made to the Union.
His words: “For so many years ASUU has been so considerate with government by signing many MoUs, meaning Memorandum of Understanding, and we resume after signing such MoUs only for government to renege on its promises. The last one we signed was MoA, meaning Memoradum of Action and it was endorsed by Ngige himself last year, but it has not seen the light of the day till date. That is why the Union, in its own wisdom, cannot trust government again. So Government should fullfill their promises first before we resume.
We are being careful. We don’t want to be seen as unreasonable by going on strikes every year. We are not happy that our students are not in school but government must make good their promises before we resume.
If government is promising to do something by December 9 and 11 this year and today is December 13 but government still haven’t done anything. It means if we had resumed, the government wouldn’t have done anything as usual. On lPPIS enrollment,
Ngige should live by example, he should first go and register on IPPIS and allow the government to pay his December salary through that platform, then all ASUU members will follow suit.”
Also, speaking on ASUU strike, Dr. Adetunberu who lamented that the Nigerian government has failed in giving education the priority it deserves gave his backing to the threat by NANS to shut down all private varsities in the country, saying the Union must have their own reasons for wanting to take such action. He said: “I first wish to congratulatie Asefon and Ekiti for having such a dynamic young man as the NANS Probably. It has added value to this state Asefon has an Executive Council who take decisions, I believe in their best jugdement whatever action they take, they must have reasons for it. Whatever action we take may not be liked by the people but we must take a decision to address issues.
” If you look at the statistics, you will not see the children of any poor man in private varsities in this country. Those who can talk to Government to listen and fulfil demands of ASUU have their children in private varsities. Those ones would not like NANS’ threat because it is hitting them. Asefon must have considered these issues. I think his message is that those big people should rise up for the sake of poor Nigerian children in public varsities too. He means well and he will perform.”
Speaking further, Adetunberu who had graced the second annual meeting of the EKSU Alumni association, Ekiti chapter, described the state chairman, Dr. Adedeji Osho as a great achiever. He said: “Osho has added value to the Ekiti State chapter of our association. He has revived the chapter in the state. You can see that three past national presidents of the association have attended this meeting. We now have a very dynamic chapter in the star and I congratulate him.”
Reeling out the achievements of the state chapter since he assumed office last year December, Osho said: “We set the ball rolling by integrating influential members and setting up seven committees which included the Constitutional drafting committee, academic workshop and Book of reading committee, we set up this to reinforce our legacy of being a academics as Ekiti Indigenes.
It is headed by Dr. Bunmi, based in South Africa. The First Retreat committee, the retreat shall be on public lecture; Parliative and Social Committee, Tunji Aribasoye, head of the committee has been performing greatly well. There are also Committees on Essential service meant for membership drive across the local government areas, Committee for generating data bank for the chapter and the Committee for mobility, providing vehicle for the chapter.Committee on Essential services. We are ready to defend these committees.
There is so much we can gain when we are united. But because of politics we have not been united. We shouldn’t hate ourselves because major beneficiaries of politics are themselves friends at their higher level.
In this chapter, everyone is equal and are United irrespective of individual political affiliation. We have an intention of building a Secretariat for the chapter. A member has promised us a land.
We must eradicate poverty through unity, trust among ourselves. We are planning to build a Secretariat worth 8million.
The ocassion was graced with attendance by other distinguished members such as former local and national leader,zone Profttew Adedeji Ayeni, Dr. Babatola Jadesola, Registrar, Bayeksa polythethnic, and a member of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeniyi Aribasoye among others.