Posted on :
13 Nov, 2013
13 Nov, 2013
Majority of university teachers yesterday voted to end the four-month-old strike that has grounded the public university system in the country. About 120 chapters of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held congresses at the various institutions and voted to suspend the strike, but insisted that the federal government begins to fulfil its promises immediately.
The vote is expected to be ratified by the national executive council of ASUU at a meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
ASUU executives will then meet with President Goodluck Jonathan the next day where the deal will be affirmed and the strike called off thereafter.
ASUU has been on strike since July over government’s inability to implement an agreement signed in 2009 aimed at improving infrastructure and human capital.
However, during recent negotiations, President Goodlcuk Jonathan agreed to provide N1.3tr in the next six years and the balance of N62bn earned allowance to each university.
Reports from ABU Zaria, Bayero University Kano and the Uthman Danfodio University yesterday said that the lecturers were willing to resume work, but urged the federal government to live up to its pledges.
But at the University of Jos, the ASUU members voted in favour of continuation of the strike for the reason that the meeting between the national leadership of the union and President Goodluck Jonathan last week did not achieve anything meaningful.
In a vote to that effect, 194 members voted for the strike to be sustained while 80 voted in favour of a suspension.
Addressing the congress in ABU Zaria, ASUU chairman of the chapter, Dr. Muhammad Kabir Aliyu, said his members would agree to call off the industrial action on condition that President Jonathan pays all the financial commitments he has made to the universities for this year.
“In ABU, we have agreed with the shift in the timetable where the federal government would make available N220bn each year for the next six years. They (FG) said they are going to open a special account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for that purpose.
“However, members gave a condition that all the money promised for this year must be made available and accessible by the universities. This includes the N200b promised for the universities this year and the balance of the N62b earned allowances for various university staff,” Dr. Aliyu said.
From Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Secretary of the chapter, Malam Bashir Muhammed Achida, said ASUU members there unanimously voted to end the strike during their meeting at the main campus of the university.
“We all voted in favour of calling off the strike as a sign of respect to President Goodluck Jonathan. We were moved by the kind of commitment he had shown during hours of meeting with him last week,” he said.
On the modality used at reaching the decision, he said the issue was put to vote and that all members agreed that the strike should be suspended.
“By God’s grace, it would be over by Thursday or Friday so that normal activities would resume at campuses by next Monday,” he said.
At the Bayero University Kano, hundreds of ASUU members decided to accept the offer of the federal government. Our correspondent gathered that lecturers at the BUK held a meeting at the old site of the institution yesterday where the government’s offer was discussed.
A senior lecturer said the meeting was attended by over 300 lecturers from all the campuses of the institution and lasted for four hours with the lecturers deliberating on the offer.
When contacted on phone, the chairman of ASUU, BUK chapter, Comrade Mahmud Lawal confirmed that the meeting was held but that the outcome was not for the public.
“Yes we had a meeting but it is not meant for you the press or the public. It is for our national leadership. There was nothing like voting at the meeting on the ongoing strike,” he said in the interview.
However, ASUU members at the University of Jos said after hours of debate by those for and against the strike, it was obvious that the meeting with President Jonathan did not achieve much.
Those who spoke in favour of the strike to continue wondered why the strike should be called off on the basis of pleas and verbal promises by President Jonathan when the government ‘is reputed for not honouring agreements’.
They were said to have argued that the suffering by students and members in the last four months would be a waste if something concrete did not come out of the strike to improve the situation in universities.
However, those who want the strike to be ended spoke passionately on the need to consider the impact of the strike on students and the gesture from President Jonathan who met personally with ASUU leaders and pleaded with them to suspend the strike.
The chairman of the Unijos chapter of ASUU, Dr. David Jangkham who announced the result of the meeting said the national body which would collate the referendum from various chapters will come up with a stand on whether the strike would be suspended or sustained.
The national body of the union is billed to sit at a National Executive Council meeting tomorrow to consider the positions of the various chapters and take a decision.
Source: Daily Trust