President Goodluck Jonathan literally disowned the seven-day ultimatum to striking university lecturers to return to work, yesterday, saying the Committee of Vice Chancellors (CVC) issued the deadline.
Jonathan, also, yesterday, described the ASUU prolonged strike as subversive. The industrial action, which started on July 1, enters the sixth month today. “We didn’t give them ultimatum. It was the committee of Vice Chancellors that took that decision. The supervising minister of education only passed on the decision.
What ASUU is doing is no longer trade dispute but subversive action”, the president said. Saying, however, that government will consult on the deadline to ASUU members, he said, “So that we will not be perceived to be insensitive, we will consult on the deadline”. Jonathan spoke, yesterday, while responding to an appeal by a former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, that government should reconsider its ultimatum to the ASUU members to return to work or be sacked.
Alamieyeseigha made his plea at Bayelsa State Government House, Yenagoa, during a meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state caucus. According to the President, “What ASUU is doing is no longer trade union. I have intervened in other labour issues before now, once I invite them they respond and after the meeting they take decision and call off the strike.
Atimes we don’t even give them a long notice unlike in the case of ASUU that were given four days notice before the meeting. As you are meeting to resolve trade disputes, you expect the trade unions to get their officials ready, what was expected having met with the highest authority in the land for long hours, was for ASUU to immediately issue statement within 12 or latest 24 hours to state their position whether they were accepting government’s offer or not.
And if they are not accepting they state the reason why. President Goodluck Jonathan (left); ASUU Vice President, Mr. Biodun Ogunyemi Onabanjo (2nd right); Vice President Namadi Sambo (2nd left) and ASUU President, Nasir Faggae (right) during the meeting. File: President Goodluck Jonathan (left); ASUU Vice President, Mr. Biodun Ogunyemi Onabanjo (2nd right); Vice President Namadi Sambo (2nd left) and ASUU President, Nasir Faggae (right) during the meeting. ”
But despite the fact that I had the longest meeting with ASUU in my political history, we did not start that meeting until around 2 p.m. and the meeting ended the next day in the early hours of the morning. As far as the government of Nigeria was concern all the critical people that should be in a meeting were there, so what else do they want? ”After that they didn’t meet until one week, despite the fact that you met with the highest authority. It was unfortunate one of them, Prof. Iyayi died. ”
The way ASUU has conducted the matter shows they were extreme and when iyayi died they now said the strike was now indefinite, our children have been at home for over five months”. President Jonathan also thanked the Bayelsa people for their prayers and support while he fell ill in London. He emphasised the need for party faithful to be united, stressing that the key to political success was the unity of the people and that divided people bring about a lot of issues.
In his remarks, Governor Seriake Dickson commended Jonathan’s deep interest in the state caucus and making out time despite his tight schedule to be part of it, where issues affecting the party are discussed and solutions found. Govt has done enough for ASUU – UNIJOS VC Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Jos, Prof. Hayard Mafuyai, yesterday, said the Federal Government has done enough and even shown commitment for ASUU to call-off the strike.
The VC spoke while answering questions from journalists at the end of the year dinner and award night of UNIJOS 80-85 Alumni Group in Abuja. He said the challenges facing the education sector in the country over the decades cannot be corrected overnight, so ASUU should call-off the strike. “We just met with the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, and we have been appealing to our colleagues and ASUU to do what we believe should be done, that is to call off the strike,” Mafuyai said. ”
I think the Federal Government has done enough to move the education sector forward as the ills of many decades cannot be corrected overnight and we should listen to the mood of the nation to call-off the strike in the overall public interest”. When he was asked about the security situation in Jos and how it has affected University of Jos, he blamed the media for poor reportage and how it is adversely affecting socio-economic development of the university and Plateau State.