National president of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, made the call on Wednesday in an interview on AIT Focus Nigeria programme
As the crisis rocking Nigerian University system is far from being resolved as the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to take direct charge in the efforts to resolve the ongoing industrial action by the union.
The Union also urged Buhari to constitute a fresh team of “honest people” for negotiation of outstanding issues on demand.
The National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU will be meeting on Sunday to take decision on whether to suspend the strike action or not. But feelers from some of the state branches of ASUU have indicated that the strike will continue because of failure of the goverment to arrive at concrete agreement with the union.
The comments by ASUU president on Wednesday also showed clearly that the lecturers would be in for an extended strike action because of what he described as insincerity of the government officials
He alleged that President Buhari has been misinformed by people in the villa, just to create misunderstanding between him and the committee and ASUU on the other hand. Osodeke insisted that if Nigeria could afford to pay N4 trillion a year to subsidise fuel, which could be produced in the country without adding one kobo and afford N200 billion to feed children in secondary and primary schools, government should not complain that there is no money to fix the university education.
Osodeke noted that what ASUU is asking for is not up to N200 billion for revitalisation “and you can spend N200 billion to feed children in school and I don’t know anybody who is being fed”.
“Go to Ghana, Ghana does not give less than 16 percent of their budget to education, here we give 5.3 per cent. That is our crisis and my prayer is that the next set of people who will come and rule this country after 2023 are people who would believe that education is the key to resolving our problems,” he said.
On when the strike will end, Osodeke said: “Government for once should go the way of President Goodluck Jonathan and in one night; during Goodluck Jonathan, we had that meeting for 14 hours, both sides open, no clash and nobody exuding power, and but looked at all the issues and resolved them within 14 hours.
“If the president can put together a strong team of people who are honest and not part of those telling lies presently, people who love this country, they do not have to come from government and we meet to look at how we can resolve this national problem, we will resolve it within two days