The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called for the establishment of a social welfare state as the first step towards addressing the nation’s sundry challenges.
The union also faulted the ongoing National Conference, saying it does not hold the solution to Nigeria’s problems.
ASUU’s President, Dr. Isa Fagee, who spoke to reporters in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, yesterday, after the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, said the nation’s problems emanate mostly from the dynamics of global capitalism in which the nation is entrenched.
He argued that the change, among other things, would involve taking radical and effective measures to liberally and generously elevate the welfare of the poor.
Fagee said: “This will require the building of people’s (not ruling class-dominated) political organisations and structures. This will require new politicians and judicial actors, among others.
“The present constitution forbids the appropriation of commanding heights of the economy by a few people. All governments have violated and continue to violate this provision.
“The socialist welfare state will creatively reconstruct Nigeria’s economic and political institutions to serve the welfare needs of Nigerians.
“It will remove the economic basis of the nationality problem, promote freedom of religion in condition of equality of citizens, and remove the basis of state plunder and terror.
“In the socialist welfare, the deep historical, cultural ties among the people will be preserved and developed. The political forms of organisation in the socialist welfare state will be at once democratic and non-chauvinistic ethno-nationalism while promoting genuine cultural integration.
“Here, we have a responsibility to devise a Nigerian version of the welfare state to suit our cultural peculiarities and our history. The transition to the socialist welfare state may be kick-started with an insistence by the civil society on strict adherence to the principles of ownership and control of the economy as well as the transparent management of the economy, as reflected in the 1999 Constitution and several federal and state laws.
“The major productive assets of Nigeria must not be concentrated in the hands of a minority ruling class. They will be publicly owned and run effectively. A new socialist constitution will emerge to back up the socialist transformation.
“The adoption of a socialist welfare state will be reinforced with the decentralisation of legislative power, de-concentration of executive power and general acceptance of contractual non-concentration of power.
“Our union has rejected the position that a National Conference is the answer to the problems of Nigeria”.