The Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) is set to review its ongoing Two weeks strike action after a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
POLITICS NIGERIA gathered that the national leadership of the group met with the speaker at a meeting on Thursday organized by the national assembly. Representatives of the ministries of labour, productivity and education, among other stakeholders were also present at the meeting aimed at finding a solution to the problem.
Gbajabiamila appealed to the Union to put an end to the strike in the interest of Nigerian Students adding that the government was well aware of its opposition to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS).
He pleaded that the union should cooperate with the government’s efforts to eliminate corruption through the initiative.
He assured members of the union that the house will appropriate funds to satisfy their financial needs.
“Like I’ve always said, education is a fundamental human right and not a privilege. If we look at it that way, it will change the way we see things.
“We’ve tried severally to see that the country avert strikes in this country, and we’ve achieved that with medical doctors and electricity workers.”
“It doesn’t speak well of the country when it becomes perennial that we talk of strikes. We should try and rise above everything and put the lives of our children first.
‘”Education is at the front burner of our agenda, and we’ll do everything to achieve that.”
“On the 2009 agreement, there has to be something called the sanctity of agreement. There are situations where agreements become impossible to implement not for a fault of the government.
“If you have an agreement and there’s dwindling revenue, how does the government respect that? But I’ll blame that on the part of the government, and we’re a part of the government, even though we didn’t sign an agreement with ASUU.
“On the issue of IPPIS, I’ve heard and read your position. Your union is even divided on this. Much as you argue that you can’t be part of IPPIS, we live in a country governed by laws. We may not like a law or policy, but as part of the government, we should respect that.
“If the government comes up with a policy for good, we should support that and be part of it. Honestly, much as you may have a point, I think the optics may not be for you.”If the National Assembly is to be captured under IPPIS, and we as members of the National Assembly say no, what will the public, including ASUU, say? If ASUU can come up with excuses, others too may do that.
Gbajabiamila told the ASUU leadership that “If you were insufficient contact with the National Assembly, which has powers of the purse, maybe the issue would have been resolved by now.
“I want to appeal to you. We successfully dealt with the issue of medical doctors and electricity workers; we must deal with this. I know government is ready and willing to listen to you, I think you should also listen to government.”
Responding to the speaker’s comments, ASUU President, Prof Ogunyemi, said;
“With our knowledge, we can give them an alternative that could cost them nothing against what they’re spending now. We challenge them to tell us anywhere in the world where IPPIS is implemented in the universities. IPPIS will shut the door against foreign scholars, researchers and the rest.
“They said by attacking IPPIS, we’re covering corruption. We can’t do that, and we won’t do that. We’re saying that there are other ways of tackling corruption rather than IPPIS. They want to localise our universities, but that shouldn’t be. We have come up with a universities accountability system, and let’s join hands to implement it.”
On the Speaker’s request for the strike to be put on hold, Ogunyemi said: “That’s why ASUU is always reluctant to go on strike. The structures we’re talking about are not in Abuja. People will have to come from different parts of the country. The best we can promise here is that you give us to early next week to consult and we’ll get back to you.”