University and polytechnic workers have tasked President Bola Tinubu to fund education and meet their pending demands.
Over the years, the three unions including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics alleged that the federal government did not meet their demands. Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, national president, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, explained that the only way strike action could be avoided during Tinubu’s administration was if he holistically looked into the Nigerian education system without bias. He said, “The Buhari-led government set up a scheme for negotiation in 2017 but it didn’t finish it till 2023, does that sound right? This was the reason we had a crisis with the last regime. We pray that people like the Minister of Employment and Labour, Chris Ngige, do not have access to anything that has to do with governance in this country again.
“Tinubu should also ensure that we have in Nigeria what other countries have that make people troop into their countries for education. He should ensure that the budgetary allocation given to other countries that are doing well in terms of education should be allocated to ensure that the system becomes functional. Sincerely, there should be a designated meeting with ASUU and negotiations, that way, we will solve all these problems. Let universities operate according to their laws.”
Also speaking, the national president, the SSANU, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, maintained that the only way Tinubu could win the hearts of university workers was for him to release the payment of illegally withheld salaries by the former president, Mohammadu Buhari’s government.
He called for a departure from the past, “And departure here means that within the next few days, we expect to see consummation and proactiveness on promises made, and agreements signed with the government. The first thing he will do to win the hearts of all Nigerian university staffers is to release the payment of withheld salaries of both teaching and non-teaching staff that have been illegally withheld by the government because we went on a legal strike. We went on strike because there was a breakdown in the negotiation with the government, we followed all due processes.
“We want to see that funding in education becomes a reality because, in Nigeria, the education sector is not funded properly. We’re way behind the 26 per cent UNESCO standard, so they must as a matter of urgency in the next budget meet up with the UNESCO standard.”
Similarly, the ASUP, Mr Anderson, Ezeibe, added, “We will like the new government to focus on and resolve the completion of the Federal Government/ASUP renegotiation process to usher in new emoluments for staff in the sector.
“Resolution of the degree awarding status question for Polytechnics and the degree/ HND dichotomy, Improved and sustainable funding strategy for the sector, respect for laws and regulations governing the sector.”