The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos Zone, has reacted to the recent comments by President Muhammadu Buhari over the lingering strike action.
Speaking on Monday, Buhari had called on the striking lecturers to reconsider their position on the prolonged industrial action, expressing worry that the strike would have generational consequences on families, the educational system and future development of the country.
Since February 14 this year, ASUU has been on strike over the failure of the federal government to honour its previous agreements and various demands.
Reacting to Buhari’s comments, ASUU Lagos Zone, in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Comrade Adelaja Odukoya, on Tuesday, blamed the president for the situation, saying the five-month old strike is a clear signpost of leadership failure on his part.
“Nigerian public university students remain at home while our dear president and his cronies lavish valuable time on partisan party political activities, family egoistic ceremonies and global junketing, and to have finally woken up to address the issue of the national strike in the nation public universities in a season of Eid Adha celebration-season that calls for utmost and supreme sacrifices exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim should elicits both spiritual and popular condemnation,” the statement read in part.
“The choice of this solemn occasion to trade blames rather than making sacrifice as the season demands appears more of gross lack of understanding of the enormity of the crisis. The usual window-dressing and buck-passing and inability to rise up to serious occasion affecting our country particularly the nation’s education sector is rather unfortunate. This is underscored by the sleep-walk disposition of the un-presidential response to an issue which has been prolonged and exacerbated due to presidential inaction.”
Odukoya noted the ongoing strike wouldn’t have lasted beyond the first week after it was declared if the Buhari-led administration had implemented the MOUs and MOAs as well as a duly renegotiated ASUU-FGN Agreement.
He said, “The various issues confronting our nation, that of the ongoing strike in the nation’s public universities will not be solved by presidential lamentations but by executive actions induced by rare patriotism and nationalism.
“Therefore Mr. president, saying that enough is enough is mere wishful thinking and will not resolve the present decadence in our universities nor stop the present struggle to reposition our public universities.”
The union leader added that Buhari has “failed to act presidentially” to reposition the decaying and dying public university education in Nigeria.
“Sadly Mr. President, enough will not be enough until you do the needful and act presidentially by signing the renegotiated agreement before your excellency authorize the end to the ruinous, evil and exploitative IPPIS and the adoption of UTAS, payment of outstanding allowances, stop the proliferation of universities and ensure the proper funding of public universities among other things,” he said.