By Gabriel Dike
The National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has postponed the much awaited decision on the impending nationwide strike by members in public universities.
Rather at an emergency NEC meeting held on Saturday, December 18, 2021, ASUU reviewed the level of government’s implementation of the FG/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 2020 and other related demands and resolved that decision on next line of action will be taken at another NEC meeting.
In statement titled: “Enough of the Blackmail”, signed by the National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of the union’s numerous consultative meetings, communications with relevant agents at both the executive and legislative arms of government since the suspension of the last strike in 2020.
Against the expectations of the declaration of a nationwide strike by ASUU NEC, rather the union shifted the decision of the impending industrial action but still left the door opened for such action.
Prof. Osodeke said the meeting expressed worried by efforts of government agents to reduce the demands of ASUU to a regime of intermittent payment of water-down revitalization fund and release of distorted and devalued Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).
His words: “NEC condemns in strong terms, the surreptitious move to pooh-pooh our demands on the review of the NUC’s Act to curb the proliferation of universities by state governments who are not funding the existing ones.
“Adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solutions (UTAS) with the concurrent discontinue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and distortion in salary payment, release of accumulated promotion arrears and the review and signing of the draft document on the Renegotiation of 2009 ASUU/FG agreement.”
Osodeke warned that ASUU will resist attempt by Government to blackmail the union to derail its struggle for a productive university system by official propaganda founded on tookenism and crumb-sharing.
According to him, the Federal Government has turned its back on plan to set up an inter-ministerial committee to review the draft renegotiation 2009 FG/ASUU agreement to enable the parties conclude the negotiation process which started in March 2017.
He said the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba had assured ASUU leadership during a meeting with the Speaker, House of Representatives on November 19, that the process of reviewing the document would be set in motion within one week.
Prof. Osodeke said NEC wondered why it took more than one year to get feedback on the UTAS from government agent. He hoped the National Universities Commission and other agencies would respond to issues that concern them in the report raised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to pave way for the migration to UTAS.
“NEC concluded that government has failed to address the issues raised in the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement and subsequent MoUs and MoAs. However, considering the ongoing intervention and consultation efforts, NEC resolved to review the situation at a later date with a view to deciding on the next line of action,” Osodeke stated.