The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on its members to remain resilient and steadfast in their struggle to achieve better condition for university education and enhanced welfare for members.
The appeal is contained in a statement issued by Dr Ogugua Egwu, chairman of ASUU, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AEFUNAI) chapter and made available to the newsmen on Monday in Abakaliki.
Egwu in a message of admonition to the striking university lecturers urged them to remain firm, focused and resolute in the ongoing struggle saying that the ‘oppressors’ would soon exhaust their lies.The unionist said that ASUU and its leadership had come under fire since the strike began in February 14 with several lies and half-truths peddled by four ministers of the government against the body and its leadership.
He said: “Over the past three months, the Nigerian news space has been inundated with tantrums, lies or half-truths mischievously peddled by four ministers or their agents in government against ASUU.”ASUU rolled over its strike yet again, over government’s insensitivity and inability to honour its agreement with the union.
“The key components of the lecturers demands are: Improved conditions of service, deployment of University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for university workers and revitalisation. “Almost all the time spent (or wasted) so far on this current strike has been dissipated on testing and counter-testing the homegrown UTAS developed free of charge by ASUU, and presented to the government as a preferred means of paying university workers.
“This is against the foreign, profusely error-prone Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) which is roundly guilty of amputating the salaries of university workers.”As at the last count, the aggregate performance integrity test result of UTAS stood at 99.3 per cent whereas government has failed to subject IPPIS to even half of the integrity tests it insisted that UTAS must pass.
“ASUU challenges the government to conduct a public integrity test for IPPIS the same way UTAS has gone through if it is sincere in its anti-corruption mantra.”As is common with this government and its agents, when available facts or records are against them, they simply resort to shifting the goal post in order to find excuses and escape routes.
“It’s against this that we urge you to be firm for your oppressors will soon exhaust their lies.”Egwu alleged that the Federal Government was applying ‘Fabian tactics’ in addressing the renegotiation of the university teachers condition of service which the union said was long overdue since 2012.The union accused Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment and Prof. Emeka Nwajiuba, former minister of State for Education of insensitive for having abandoned their ministries to seek election for the office of President despite the ASUU/FG face-off.
ASUU noted that the alleged ‘lies’ of the FG and their privies against the union would surely exhaust or wane substantially by end of May . “So, be firm and patient ASUU members. It seems very likely that the current occupants of Aso Rock Villa never believed that eight years will ever end; and that’s how illusionary power could be – poignant, transient and ephemeral,” the statement added.
The union also accused FG of failure to fulfill its campaign promises to revamp and revitalise the ailing education sector after more than seven years in power.”In 2015 to be precise, our current political leaders made promises during campaign speeches on how they’ll turn the land into an Eldorado of sorts, including the ravaged education sector.
“Unfortunately, seven years on, those melodious speeches and lyrics have become outright antithesis to Chris Ngige’s labour ministry, the education ministry and, indeed, the entire Nigerian government. “The statistics are there for doubting Thomases to see vis-a-vis the official prices of fuel, diesel, kerosene, exchange rates of the dollar to the Naira between 2015 and now. “Gulfs of differences abound everywhere, and are truly symbolic of the change that was promised Nigerians.
“The role of the National Assembly leadership is unequivocally complicit in exacerbating and escalating the ongoing ASUU – FG imbroglio. “It is a shame of humungous proportions that the Speaker of the House Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, will be acting rather unconcerned.
“He has forgotten the promise he made Nigerians just about two years ago when the conflagration of #ENDSARS protests was raging across Nigeria. “Could it be that he was under duress too when he vowed that his National Assembly will not sign off a budget that does not sufficiently care about ASUU demands?”Egwu further frowned at s statement credited to Mr Ahmed Lawan, President of the Senate alleging that the 2009 ASUU and FG agreement was unimplementable.”This is rather a very unfortunate vituperation coming from someone of Lawan’s ilk, who ordinarily, should be sympathetic to ASUU causes, having been once in the trenches with them.
“ASUU should keep their eyes on the ball and remain focused as a union fighting almost with bare hands against a heavily armed force already deploying hunger as an (il)legitimate weapon of war. “The hunger itself shall soon wane as it did in the last strike action in 2020; in no distant time, confusion will certainly set in amongst them,” the statement added.