ASUU strike: FG makes U-turn on 2009 agreement

The federal government may have made a volte face on the 2009 agreement it signed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Saturday Mirror learnt from a source privy to a meeting between the government and the leadership of the union.
The meeting, which was ongoing as at the time of filing this report,was in continuation of the federal government’s effort at ending the over one-month strike, embarked upon by the university teachers.

However, there were strong indications that the meeting, which held at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, may fail to yield intended result, as the Anyim-led federal government team,was favourably disposed to a re-negotiation of the outstanding 2009 agreement.
But the source, who pleaded anonymity, expressed fear that the meeting may end in a deadlock, as ASUU may insist that the terms of the agreement remain “sacrosanct”.

“The meeting just started a while ago, even though the mood here suggests that both parties (FG and ASUU),may stick to their guns,” he said Asked to explain what their different positions were, he said: “Well, it is clear that the government has foreclosed the possibility of honouring the letter and spirit of the agreement in dispute,preferring rather to begin on a clean slate, and I doubt if ASUU will want to allow that.”

Saturday Mirror gathered that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration feels the compelling need to enter into a fresh dialogue with the university lecturers, especially in view of the fact that the agreement in dispute was signed by the late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua government. This is notwithstanding the fact that govern-ment is a continuum.

While Anyim, Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai and her Labour and Productivity counterparts, Chief Emeka Wogu, are among other top functionaries from the side of federal government, president of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge,led his executive members.
Indications that ASUU would not welcome any negotiation appeared on Thursday when its national treasurer, Ademola Aremu, called on lecturers to brace up for a longer strike.

Aremu, who spoke at a symposium at the University College Hospital,UCH, Ibadan, was reacting to the move, which was disclosed by Wogu,when he appeared, during the week before the National Working Committee, NWC, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to give account of his stewardship as Labour minister.
“We believe that many Nigerian leaders wanted public education dead; the reason they have been establishing well-equipped private universities at the expense of the poor masses of this country.
“But, we will not allow them the way they did to public primary and secondary education,” Aremu said.

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