The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said its two-month old industrial action would continue in the New Year since the Federal Government had failed to grant its requests, adding that the union was not bothered on anxiety being raised by Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in respect of the 2019 general election.Speaking at a media briefing at the University of Lagos yesterday, the union’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said ASUU would not be blackmailed into submission without achieving its target of repositioning the university education in the country. According to ASUU, the Federal Government had not been truthful in its commitment to resolve issues being raised by the union, saying until shortfall in the salary of members and earned academic allowances were paid, and substantial part of the N1.1 trillion revitalisation funds were paid, the union would not budge.
The briefing, which was attended by members of the union across its Lagos zonal branches including the Chairman of the zone, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, among others, also dwelt on other pertinent issues including allegation of successive administrations’ desire to privatise the country’s education sector. According to Ogunyemi, beyond the concern of general election was the need to reposition the country’s education sector, saying failure to do so would make Nigeria susceptible to recolonisation as every other level of education in Nigeria had been privatized saved the university which had remained the hope of the poor.
This, he said must be jealously guarded to avoid descent to increased criminality and other vices. Ogunyemi said: “Our expectation from a very responsive and sincere Government is that, by now, all outstanding issues would have been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. Unfortunately, government is yet to show sincerity in addressing the problem. “Compatriots of the Press and the general public should please note that, as at today, there are no concrete commitments on the part of Government to warrant considering the suspension of the strike; which we did all that was possible to avoid.
“As the intellectual fulcrum of a nation and the vanguard for reclamation of the country’s lost glory, ASUU is bothered by the threatening rot in the education sector. The primary and secondary education levels are completely gone and the university remains the only hope of the masses and we would not allow the sector to be privatised like the basic and secondary education.” Meanwhile, ASUU has confirmed that on January 4, 2019, it has accepted to meet with the leadership of INEC to discuss on the matter of election, saying the suggestions by the electoral body would determine the reaction of the union.