From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday in Abuja inaugurated a 16-member renegotiation team to interface with university-based labour unions Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) as regards the content of the 2009 agreement it reached with the unions.
The team is chaired by Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), whom the government adjudged competent to lead its renegotiation team, having done similar job in 2009 when the negotiations begun.
Other members of the team are Prof. M.M. Jibril, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lafia; Prof. Nimi Briggs, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja; Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Otuoke and Lawrence Ngbale, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi.
Others are Prince Alex Mbata, Pro-Chancellor, Imo State University, Owerri; Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, Pro-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun; representatives, ministries of Education; Labour and Employment; Finance; Justice; Budget and National Planning; National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) and Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
ASUU president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, is leading the team of the unions.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, reminded the team members of the enormous task ahead, expressing confidence and strong conviction on their capacity to deliver.
He said “today’s exercise kick-starts the renegotiation process across the three segments of the tertiary education sub-sector. Though, we are commencing with the university base labour unions but in no distant time, the renegotiation team for polytechnics and colleges of education would be constituted.
“This renegotiation is a pointer that government was committed to keeping its promise to provide an environment that is conducive for teaching, learning, research and community services by sustaining lasting industrial harmony in the institutions.”
Babalakin commended government for such a huge confidence and trust on him and other team members, promising to justify it and possibly exceed the set target, in order to restore the glory, quality and pride of Nigeria’s education with focus on tertiary education.
He said: “Conducive environment in the tertiary institutions is the bedrock for the development of a nation’s intelligentsia. A nation’s development can be seriously enhanced by the active participation of the intelligence in the pursuit of the country’ developmental goals.”