As the federal government struggles to find a solution to the protracted strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), former education minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has said that the crisis is now beyond the government and the union as the parties can no longer handle the situation.
Dr Ezekwesili said Nigerians must now demand that there be a another approach to arriving at the kind of the university system to be run in the country.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Abuja, at the Unity Schools Old Students’ Association (USOSA) One-Day Summit/Dialogue on Education, Good Governance and National Unity, the former minister said “there is no time because the rest of the world has used knowledge as a basis to completely leave us at the lower ranks of economic development.”
She said: “The two parties so far seem to have failed to have a principled negotiation. This is no longer a matter between the government and ASUU; this has become a matter between the people of Nigeria, government and ASUU.
“I think the citizens must now demand that there be a neutral approach at identifying what will be the solution to the kind of university system that we want to run.”
The former vice president of the World Bank said the ASUU agreement was not signed during her tenure as education minister.
According to her, “When I was the minister of education, I personally got Mr Gamaliel Onosode, a distinguished professional, to lead the negotiation, but what subsequently happened after I left office in 2007 is open to interpretation of those who were part of the final negotiation that was said to have been signed in 2009.
“And one thing that I do know is that there are many points of convergence between the federal government and ASUU at the time in 2007 when I was leaving to Washington DC to resume my position as the vice president of World Bank”.