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Why We Can’t Call Off Strike Now –ASUU

It is still uncertain whether the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will end soon as the president of the union, Professor ‘Biodun Ogunyemi has said there are certain steps to be taken to reach a final conclusion on the issue.

Professor Ogunyemi told NewsArena in an exclusive interview on Saturday that even though government had agreed to drop the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in paying the lecturers’ outstanding salaries and continue with the test on their alternative University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), ASUU leadership would still need to table the offer before the congress for review and then take a position if satisfactory or not. He said it was the congress and not the leadership that makes decision on behalf of the union, especially as regards the nature of the issue in focus. Asked how soon that would be, he said: “We are meeting government again next Friday, which means we must have met internally on our own and then present our position on the offers to government before we can then take final decision as regards our ongoing strike.”

He said he would not want to pre-empt the congress’s decision on the matter. But the ASUU chairman in charge of University of Lagos (UNILAG) branch, Akoka, Dr Dele Ashiru, said in an exclusive interview that the branch is yet to be contacted officially by the leadership of the union. He, however, noted that ASUU does not rely on media reports from the government’s side but from the leadership of the union.

“And I believe in the coming days, we shall consider the outcome of last meeting of our union with the government to know what next,” Ashiru said. Meanwhile, most of the state chapters of ASUU in the 45 federal universities have said they are yet to be officially notified of the details of the resolution reached by their national leadership and the Federal Government.

The union chapters in Niger, Jigawa, Ogun, Benue, Ondo, Delta and other states, told Sunday Tribune that they would summon a congress of the union to discuss whatever is communicated to them by the national leadership. Chairman of ASUU in Federal University of Petroleum (FUPRE), Effurun, Delta State, Dr Ezekiel Agbalagba, said the branch would not be carried away by media publications of the resolutions.

Dr Agbalagba, who is a lecturer at the Department of Physics of the university, said in line with ASUU’s modus operandi, congress would have the final ratification of the resolutions that would stand as the authentic decision of ASUU on the protracted industrial action. His counterpart at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Dr Ndanitsa Mohammed Attahiru, however, said the branch has been communicated through the zonal coordinator of Abuja zone of the union. He said the issue of calling off the ongoing strike may take some time, despite the truce reached, saying “the agreed conditions will be evaluated by the congresses of the various branches of the public universities across the country.” In its own reaction, Federal University, Dutse branch of ASUU in Jigawa State, said it has was yet to receive official communication with regards to the agreement reached on Friday. Branch chairman of the union, Dr Salim Lawal Abubakar, while speaking to NewsArena in Dutse said “probably the executive will meet at the national level this evening [Saturday] after that meeting, the national headquarters will convey the information to us.” Chairman of local ASUU), in Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, Dr Ameh Ejembi, said “I don’t have a position to give you on any of the issues until the congress meets and decides on what is sent to us from national.”

Chairman of ASUU, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Comrade Adeola Oyebisi Egbedokun, said the decision on whether its members are favourably disposed to the proposal would be determined by the congress after being briefed. Bauchi zonal coordinator of ASUU, Professor Lawan Abubakar, urged the Federal Government to be explicit

in the details of the N65 billion promised.
He said the government, rather than bridge the gap, is widening it, expressing doubt over the sincerity of government for a truce. ASUU branch chairman at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Dr Adebayo Oni, said “once the resolutions are communicated to the appropriate quarters, a congress would be called and a declaration would be made.”