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Buhari begs ASUU to end strike as ZLP, 15 others threaten protest

By Terhemba Daka, Adamu Abuh, Collins Olayinka (Abuja) and Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan)
13 May 2022   |   4:14 am
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its strike in the interest of students.

[FILES] Muhammadu Buhari<br />PHOTO: Twitter/BashirAhmaad

Lawan tackled for reportedly advising students against disrupting political activities
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its strike in the interest of students.

He also urged pupils in public tertiary institutions to be patient with government as it strives to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the ambit of available resources.

The Nigerian leader made the appeal, yesterday, at the 19th National Productivity Day and conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) on 48 eminent Nigerians and organisations in both the public and private sectors in Abuja.

Buhari recalled that he had directed his Chief of Staff, Ministers of Labour and Employment, Education, Finance, Budget and National Planning to immediately bring all parties to the negotiation table to critically review the grey areas in the demands by ASUU and other university-based labour unions.

On the theme of the event, “Achieving Higher Productivity Through Improved Education System,” the President pledged that the Federal Government would continue doing everything humanly possible to lift the education sector, adding that his administration recognises that the future of any nation “is contingent on the standard of its educational system.”

He said: “Therefore, if we desire to transform Nigeria into a competitive, strong, vibrant, productive and sustainable economy, improving our educational system should be accorded the highest priority.”

Highlighting notable achievements in the sector, including the drastic reduction of the number of out of school children from 10.1million in 2019 to 6.9 million in 2020, automatic employment for graduates of education, review of the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years, the nation’s first citizen stressed that more still needed to be done.

He continued: “Quality educational system is good not just for the national economy, it is also good for the citizens.

“Ignoring the productivity dimension of education would endanger the prosperity of future generations, with widespread repercussions for poverty and social exclusion.

“It will be difficult to improve our economic performance and overall productivity, without improving our educational system.”

THIS is even as Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and 15 fifteen other political parties, yesterday, said they had concluded plans to join the ongoing protest by university students over disruption of academic activities in the country.

ZLP’s National Chairman, Dan Nwanyanwu, told reporters in Abuja that he had the nod of the parties for the planned march.

Concealing the identities of others when prodded, he stated: “I won’t want to name the parties, but ZLP is number one.”

Nwanyanwu said it was “appalling and embarrassing that the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has generated over N2 billion from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms in less than two weeks, could not prevail on President Buhari to meet the demands of ASUU.”

BESIDES, the union has berated Senate President Ahmad Lawan for reportedly asking the protesting students not to disrupt political activities.

Chairman of University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, stated yesterday that Lawan represents the “class of political vipers bent on destroying the future of the children of the masses in order to access Nigeria’s resources.”

As a presidential aspirant under his ruling APC, the don argued that the Senate President had not “even shown the capacity to solve problems by not knowing the importance of education over political activities.”

Akinwole said ASUU at some point lobbied the National Assembly to forestall the strike, but was not “forthcoming, forcing the union to take the fate of members in its hands.”