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Stop appearing political, Obi support group advises ASUU

By Ngozi Egenuka and Silver Nwokoro
15 July 2022   |   3:41 am
Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) has advised Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) against partisanship following reported negotiations with All Progressives Congress ...

[FILES] Federal Government’s team and the National Executive of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).<br />Photo/twitter/fkeyamo

• Asks varsity lecturers to proactively force govt to act

Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) has advised Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) against partisanship following reported negotiations with All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over its ongoing strike.

In a statement by its Director, Communications, Adegbite Adekunle, the group said the talks were a campaign stunt.
It stated that Tinubu ought to have been holding meetings with President Muhamamdu Buhari to end the strike, and not with ASUU.

POSN held: “Nigerian universities have been on lockdown for more than two years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nigerians are afraid that their students will continue the stay-at-home pandemic unless the ruling party is kicked out of government.

“With this development, APC further establishes that it does not view anything as sacred in its quest to retain power, including, the engagement of the academic future of our youths and limiting the professional potential of our scholars.”

It went on: “POSN views this development as a confirmation that the ASUU strike may have been deliberately designed to create a good campaign platform for its controversy-ridden presidential candidate, who has obviously found it difficult to take off on his presidential bid.

“We suspect that President Buhari has set up the stalemate in negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government, and would quickly clear the hurdle following Tinubu’s stage-managed intervention, to cast him (Tinubu) as a good negotiator and problem solver, which will confer some advantage on him in the campaign trail.”

The support group advised ASUU leadership not to allow itself to be used as a political mercenary, urging: “Stop attending further meeting with the APC presidential candidate to broker any kind of truce between you and the Federal Government.”

IN a related development, Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has appealed to student unions and pro-mass bodies to jointly force government to meet ASUU demands.

In a statement, yesterday, signed by its Deputy National Coordinator and National Mobilisation Officer, Ogunjinmi Isaac and Adaramoye Michael Lenin, ERC said: “The prolonged strike action has vividly shown the lack of desire to uplift the education sector by government.”

This is because no serious government would fold its hands while doors of schools are shut to millions of its citizen. The strike, which started on February 14, was initially a warning strike, and was only extended, first by eight weeks, and later indefinitely, upon the refusal of government to accede to the demands of ASUU. These demands, fundamentally, border on proper funding of the education sector, wage, welfare and need to adopt the recommended University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for payment of salaries.”

The organisation stressed that government “had not shown any willingness to address the crisis.” ERC urged ASUU not to make the industrial action a sit-at-home affair, but to initiate a series of mass activities to force government to a retreat.