Indication emerged yesterday that the Federal Government may not be able to meet all the terms of its agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as doing so may lead to a shutdown of governance in the country.
This is just as ASUU has insisted that it cannot shift grounds on any of the agreed issues since according to it, necessary concessions were granted before the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached with the Federal Government in 2009 was signed.
But Information Minister, Labaran Maku, who spoke yesterday while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, pleaded the striking lecturers to put the nation first and reconsider their hard stance.
He was specifically reacting to why the government was yet to reach a compromise with ASUU amidst its claim of spending huge resources on the development of tertiary education in the country.
He added that but for the insurgency in the northern part of the country occasioned by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram, which has cost the federal government huge amount of money in terms of restoring normalcy, much would have been done to upgrade the education sector.
“If we say we will not work until every particular problem we face in this country is resolved, then, I am sure there is no sector that will work. If we all insist that every sector’s problem must be completely solved, that we will down tools and that we will not work, then, the country will stop working,” he said.
“We are partners of the ASUU. We are friends. They are our patriots, and we understand the critical role that the universities teachers are playing in creating a new society that we are hoping to have. But at the same time, this is a reality question that we need to look at and we have to put the nation first.
“I know that all of us desire more from the system, but the truth is that there are limitations and from the limitations we have, we believe that the ASUU really needs to do rethink and ensure that we reopen our universities because really, we are feeling the pain of our children being at home and this, indeed, is completely avoidable,” Maku said.