Federal Govt, ASUU End Rift and Sign Deal

The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, today signed the re-negotiated 2006 agreement, ending the protracted strike, which has crippled academic activities in the nation’s universities in the last four months.
Leader of the Federal Government’s negotiation team, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode, signed the agreement on behalf of government, President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, signed on behalf of members of the union and Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors, Dr. Wale Babalakin, signed on behalf of the Pro-Chancellors.
Those who witnessed the signing of the agreement include two former ASUU Presidents, Doctors Dipo Fasina, and Abdullahi Sule-Kano; Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, Minister of State for Education, Hajia Aisha Dukku; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Professor Dapo Afolabi, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie and Executive Secretary, Education Trust Fund, ETF, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
ASUU President, Prof. Awuzie however warned the Federal Government not to attempt to break the ranks of the union, insisting that the government must ensure that the contents of the agreement are implemented to the letter.
On his part, Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors, Dr. Babalakin appealed to government to jettison the no-work-no-pay policy and ensure that all arrears owed the lecturers are settled immediately.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the meeting, ASUU President, Prof. Awuzie said the resolve to sign the agreement was a sign of patriotism on the part of the union.
According to him, we signed the agreement because we are all patriots. We want the best for this country. So, all of us had to make compromises here and at the end we have an agreement which have now been signed.
“We have made commitments in writing. We hope every party to this agreement will keep their own part. When this is done, there will be harmony and we will go. I don’t even want to answer the question on strike because no academic wants the university to go on strike but we can not sit and watch the system decay”.
He said, “what I discovered is that those who ask questions about strike are those who have their children in school, I have mine in school too and they are at home.
“But we have a duty to this nation and to posterity to give them education that is competitive in Nigeria and in the world.
“The in-thing is that we have signed the agreement. We have left war stage, the stage of community bargaining; we have finished with that. We are also going to foresee the next stage which is the implementation of the agreement.
“Signing agreement is one thing, implementing it is another. So we are going to wait for that stage and we are hoping that all parties will keep their part and we will move education forward.
“I am going to go back to my NEC and call a meeting for us to take decision and I will inform the public accordingly. This agreement is the greatest benchmark for every university,” he said
On his part, Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu said both parties to the disagreement decided to shift ground to ensure the crisis is resolved.
According to him, “I think we have made some concession. We have shifted ground, so that we can move forward. What we did was in the best interest of this country.
“The Federal Government shifted ground as well as ASUU and that was made for the interest of the university system in Nigeria.”
On his part, Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, who brokered the meeting thanked President Umaru Yar’Adua for his statesmanship in reversing his earlier stance not to sign the agreement saying it was in the best interest of all. For him, what has happened in the last four months has shown that there is no substitute to dialogue.
According to him, “Mr. President has demonstrated enough statesmanship, while ASUU has demonstrated a high level of patriotism. At the end the day, they mean well, you might not appreciate their style but Nigeria is all that we have.
“For me, the lesson to learn is that at the end of the day, there is no substitute to dialogue. The challenges now is to ensure that this time around, this agreement is implemented to the letter so that next time ASUU and government will not have this crisis of confidence that has led to this prolonged situation. I’m satisfied with the outcome and let me thank Mr. President for the rare privilege of being part of the resolution process and be of some help in the service of the only country we have,” Oshiomhole said.
Source: vanguardngr.com