Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the Federal Government and those they called “undertakers of privatization” of plotting to take over public universities from the reach of the children of the masses.
The ASUU, Ibadan zonal coordinator, Prof. Oyebamiji Oyegoke, who stated yesterday pointed out that unless Nigerians join ASUU’s struggle and deliver public funded universities to the children of the masses, agents of privatisation of public universities have concluded plans to deny them access to qualitative education and make them serve their children in foreign universities.
“What is unveiling before us is deceit, and readiness to bring University education to its knees after which the undertakers of privatisation will take over; no wonder, the increasing number of private universities and polytechnic against the depreciating and fastly decaying number of same in public institutions.”
According ASUU, the demands of the union are not self-serving but altruistic saying “As a body of intellectuals, our Union demands for: repositioning our universities for greater efficiency in national development and technological advancement; massive and sustained funding for our universities; a reversal of apparent decay in the university system and enhanced and competitive remuneration for overworked academic staff in Nigerian Universities. Nigerians should join ASUU to ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to tow the path of honour by respecting the agreement it freely entered with our union.”
The ASUU boss maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari was leaving a legacy of a tragic epigram on the nation’s education sector.
“It is a sad commentary that a government which was brought into power by a popular mandate of the teaming Nigerian masses has turned full cycle against a key agent of development like the education sector.
“We are pained as a union to observe this government, which is on its way out, keeps a date with history as it struggles to scribble a tragic epigram on our education sector. What a legacy to leave.”
While saying the Ibadan zone joined the leadership of the union to reject what it called disrespectful and demeaning award of money and jettisoning collective bargaining in arriving at what the Federal Government presented to the union saying the union of intellectuals will not be caged.
“The main issue, involved in the current ASUU travails is about living up to responsibility or the abdication of it. If government is not a continuum, ASUU as a body of intellectuals would not have been insisting on re-negotiating and implementing an agreement reached and signed with it since 2009 by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“An agreement reached with FGN whose re-negotiation ought to have commenced in 2012, did not take off until 2017 under Mr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) who was challenged majorly by ASUU for recommending that students in Nigerian Universities should pay up to a million Naira per session as tuition fee.
“The recommendations of Munzali Jibril Committee of 2020 were equally rejected by FGN. This Committee was replaced by Nimi Briggs’s Committee in March, 2022. For crying out loud, FGN has its mind made up ab initio.
“All ASUU’s patriotic yearnings to reposition public universities, whether Federal or States, to serve as agents of developmental transformation do not cut any ice with FGN,” he said.