The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that they wrote to the House of Representatives and the Senate in September and October 2021 but got no fruitful intervention before proceeding on its ongoing strike.
Ayoola Akinwole, chairman of the University of Ibadan chapter of the union, stated this on Tuesday in Ibadan, noting that the National Assembly also reneged on its promise to ASUU before the union suspended its strike in 2020.
“In September 2021, we wrote to the speaker of the House of Representatives who is now inviting ASUU to again to a meeting. If he lived up to the promise he made to us while pleading with us to suspend our strike in 2020, we wouldn’t have to travel this path again.
We also wrote to the Senate through the Senate President in October of 2021. Nothing happened. They all abandoned us. We gave religious bodies an opportunity. It yielded nothing. Most of these people in government are feeding Nigerians with lies. I have two of my children at home with me. The ASUU president does not have children studying abroad. It’s all lies and a strategy to paint him in a bad light. We were supposed to be reviewing our salaries every three years according to the 2009 agreements but here we are in 2022 still fighting to earn something reasonable.
“Part of what the National Assembly promised was to ensure that the 2021 budget accommodates the demands of ASUU but they failed to do this,” the union leader said.
According to Akinwole, a professor being invited by the speaker of the House of Representatives is not new, stating that even the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila did not fulfil his promise to add the demands of the union to the 2021 budget.
Akinwole, who stated that Nigerians should make the government to be responsible, stated that those in government were not monsters that cannot be challenged.
He described as false the claim by the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, that the 2009 agreements had been renegotiated with the previous administration. Akinwole alleged that ASUU was on the verge of concluding the renegotiation before the government jettisoned collective bargaining which forced the union to proceed on an indefinite strike
The union leader said but for ASUU’s struggles, the leadership of Nigeria would have had easy ride of taking education out of the reach of children of the common man in order for them to become slaves to the ruling class
While calling on Nigerians to reject the plan of making children of the poor to serve the children of the rich, Akinwole said Nigerians should stand up and make the government fund public universities, stop proliferation of universities without funding existing ones, release white paper of visitation panel and pay lecturers wages commensurate with Africa’s top rated universities and release revitalisation funds to universities.
When it comes to the masses they will say no money but they increase their own allowances and heaven did not fall. ASUU does not want Nigeria to be irrelevant in the area of education. Education is global and that is why we have to give our children global standard education and funding has a major role to play and we need to attract international scholars if we have competitive conditions of service. No one will come to Nigeria and teach with poverty wages and bad working conditions,” Akinwole said.