Jos chapter of ASUU yesterday said the lecturers voted in favour of continuation of the strike on the grounds that the meeting between the union and Jonathan did not achieve anything concrete.From leadership News ;
The Jos decision was taken at a referendum where 194 voted for the strike to be continued while 80 voted in favour of a suspension.
The next move of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is not yet clear, even after its zonal chapters have held congress meetings to deliberate on a new offer from the federal government. The union’s National Executive Council (NEC) is expected to hold a decisive meeting tomorrow to make its final position known.But reports coming from the Jos chapter of ASUU yesterday said the lecturers voted in favour of continuation of the strike on the grounds that the meeting between the union and Jonathan did not achieve anything concrete.
Following a marathon meeting with President Jonathan last week, the ASUU leadership had briefed the zonal coordinators on the outcome and consequently directed the local branches to organise congress meetings to vote for or against the suspension of the four-month-old strike.
The Jos decision was taken at a referendum where 194 voted for the strike to be continued while 80 voted in favour of a suspension. Those who spoke in favour of the strike to continue wondered why it should be called off on the basis of pleas and verbal promises by the President Jonathan when the government is allegedly reputed for not honouring agreements.
LEADERSHIP further gathered that those rooting for the suspension of the strike spoke passionately on the need to consider the impact of the strike on students and the gesture from Jonathan who met personally with ASUU leaders and pleaded with them to suspend the strike.
Dr David Jangkham, chairman of the University of Jos chapter, after announcing the results of the voting, said the national body which would collate the referendum from various chapters will come up with a stand on whether the strike would be suspended or sustained.
The ASUU congress, University of Ibadan, failed to reach a resolution to end the strike.
Although journalists were barred from covering the congress, feelers have it that members asked their leadership to commit the president to signing the resolution of FG/ASUU meeting held last week and include a non-victimisation clause so as not to allow any contentious issue to be generated afterwards about the agreement.
Also speaking in a solidarity appearance at the congress, former minister of petroleum Prof. Tam David West yesterday warned that only justice in all sectors can stop any form of strike in Nigeria.
He said, “ASUU will continue to go on strike as long as there is injustice in the system. I am not congratulating the president. How can I commend him for a wasted five months? This should be condemned. You must sign what you will implement. I am saying that I will continue to support ASUU struggles.”
As at the time of filing this report, members of the ASUU at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, were still holding the chapter’s congress, but sources close to the union confirmed that members had already opted for the suspension of the industrial action.
Similarly, other members of the union from various other campuses including Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso; Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST, Port Harcourt; and Kogi State University, Ayingba, told LEADERSHIP that they were optimistic that the strike would be called off on Thursday after the NEC might have met between tomorrow evening and Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, arrangements have been concluded for tomorrow’s crucial NEC meeting of the ASUU at the Bayero University, Kano, where the protracted strike embarked upon by the teachers’ union is expected to be called off.
Investigations by LEADERSHIP revealed that some of the union’s chapters’ leaders were already moving to the venue of the meeting as at yesterday following the conclusion of their congresses earlier in the day.
The chairman of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, chapter of the union, Dr Oghenekaro Ogbinaka, told LEADERSHIP that he was already on his way to Kano when the newspaper called to know the outcome of the chapter’s congress.
But efforts to speak to the chairman of the NEC’s host university, Dr A. Baffa, was unsuccessful as calls put through to his mobile line were unanswered.
Incidentally, some university students are already getting set to return to campuses and have appealed to ASUU not to dampen their spirits. Some students, however, said that the timing of the suspension could pose a challenge.
One of the students who sought anonymity said, “I’ll be glad if the strike is called off, because it is long overdue but there might be a problem with the timing. There is every possibility that once we get back to school, we’d be rushed through the first semester and might find ourselves writing exams when we are hardly prepared for it.”
Another student said, “Many of us, the affected students, have not been idle during this period. We have projects already in motion that would be abruptly cut short if we are called back to school now. It won’t be a very bad idea if we start the academic year on a fresh page in January.”
A 300-level student also said that academic performances of students might suffer. She said, “Many students have become very distant from their books and, since exams might be looming almost immediately after resumption, we might not have enough time to reconcile ourselves with our academic level before the strike.”
Jonathan frowns at disruption of academic activities in varsities
President Goodluck Jonathan has frowned at the frequent strikes and disruptions of academic activities in tertiary institutions, particularly universities in the country, saying this has negatively affected the quality and output of the system.
He has therefore, called on the staff unions of these institutions to continue to emphasise dialogue in the resolution of conflict or any misunderstanding.
Jonathan who was represented by the supervising minister of education, Nyesom Wike, spoke yesterday while declaring open the 2nd National Education Innovations Exhibition holding at Old Parade Ground, Abuja.
Jonathan, who spoke against the backdrop of the over four-month-old strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as well as the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), said there was the need for all Nigerians to demonstrate “a sense of patriotism in dealing with situations that involve the future of our children and country”.
He said: “We need therefore to be conscious of the impact on our children, institutions and the country at large, of unnecessary disruptions in our educational institutions. There is therefore the need to emphasize dialogue where conflict or any sort of misunderstanding arose. This is the civilized approach to doing things so as not to have negative effect on society.”
He added that with so much investment in higher education by his administration, the challenge should be on getting value for the nation, saying this value must be in relation to quality education and research output.
President Jonathan, while challenging universities and other tertiary institutions on innovativeness, stressed that tertiary institutions must provide the necessary leadership in providing the body of knowledge to move the country forward.
He maintained that the position of Nigeria as a great nation in this and subsequent centuries would be dependent on how the education system is repositioned in order to drive the nation’s development and competitive advantage.
Jonathan further charged the tertiary institutions in the country to link their output with national development needs, adding that higher institutions should be able to develop collaborative arrangements with the private sector to enhance getting their work into the wider society.
He revealed that as part of efforts to improve on the creativity amongst the youth in the country, his administration has, in the past three years, provided over 70million English language, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology activity books for primary 1 to 6.
Jonathan said over 7 million library resource materials have also been provided for junior secondary schools, while TETFund has in the High Impact fund, provided over N109 billion in the five phases to support tertiary institutions in enhancing their capacity as centres of excellence.
Wike disclosed that the federal government will, in the next few days, release the sum of N3 billion under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Research Scheme, as initial grant to support educational institutions and individuals in research and innovation across the country.
He urged the tertiary institutions in the country to appreciate the huge investment of the federal government in the sector and ensure that there is commensurate return on investment through notable achievements in resear