“In Nigeria, there’s disdain for intellectualism, the narrative, the way they talk to us in such condescending manner tells you that we are in a country where there is disregard for intellect because if they do, we won’t be where we are today”
These were the words of Dr. Dele Ashiru, ASUU Chairman, UNILAG Chapter, on TVC ThisMorning with Yori Folarin while reacting to federal government’s issue of “no work no pay.”
Dr. Ashiru stated that while the Federal Government maintains that ASUU will not be paid as long as the strike continues, all research institutes in Nigeria are on strike but are paid.
Vice chancellors and pro chancellors are not at odds with the government, according to the ASUU Chairman; rather, our union is at odds with the government over “Rights,” which is the subject of the debate.
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“There was an agreement, but the government failed to implement it.
“There were complaints, appeals, and notices issued, but nothing was done.
“Now that we’ve gone on strike, the government is talking about “No Work, No Pay,” but the Union is also saying “No Pay, No Work,” he said.
Ashiru went on to explain how Mimi Brigs went around government agencies and brokered an offer that the union accepted despite the fact that it was less than what was originally negotiated.
The 2017 negotiations failed for obvious reasons. Musali Jibril concluded the negotiations in May 2021, but the federal government did not act until February 14th, 2022, when the strike began, and Musali Jibril’s report was discarded.
The Union has also told the government that if any part of the proposal is difficult to implement, it can renegotiate.
The ASUU chairman added that the federal government finds it more convenient to go to a press conference to say what is wrong, to call pro-chancellors and draft them into another round of diversionary negotiations.
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“Government is deliberately prolonging the strike action. It is not just about the pay but other conditions of service.
“We have not resolved any of the issues that prompted this strike action,” he said.
Speaking further on the subject, Dr. Ashiru stated that the committee formed on Tuesday will be the fourth to negotiate with ASUU, and what is being negotiated is a condition of service that was last reviewed in 2009.
While thanking the committee of Vice chancellors for their interest in bringing this track to an end, he added that their recommendation leaves more to be desired.
He said this in light of the fact that there are people in the education sector whose conditions of service should not have been dragged into the never-ending debate with the federal government 13 years ago.
“Workers are not slaves; we are citizens of this country as well.
“And the notion that the government can write rough shots on citizens must be abandoned,” the ASUU chairman noted.