By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
NIGERIA Labour Congress,NLC, yesterday, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to discountenance the impression that ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, was a political action against his government as nothing could be farther from the truth. It then advised the President to tackle the crises in the education sector and prevent a shut-down of the sector.
NLC in a statement by its President, Abdulwaheed Omar, told President Jonathan that those telling him that the strike was politically motivated were the President’s enemies who rather than tell him the truth preferred to indulge in sycophancy, hypocrisy and boot-licking.
The statement titled “Do Not Allow Education Sector to Shut-Down”, reads: “The Nigeria Labour Congress calls on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to tackle the crises in the education sector and prevent shut-down of the sector. We urge Mr. President to muster the necessary will and skill to confront the issues that threaten this vital sector.
“As President of the country, he has the onerous task of restoring normalcy to the sector whether the issues are political as he has made the nation to believe or whether they are purely industrial. The threat of a total shut-down is present and immediate and deserves all the urgency and mobilization Mr President could muster. The developments in the Education sector are symptomatic of greater ills in the polity.”
“The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for instance is in its fourth month and has almost certainly disrupted an entire academic session with collateral consequences. Also the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has signaled its readiness to embark on a solidarity strike if government fails to resolve within two weeks the issues of contestation with ASUU. Most of these demands if not all, are not new, but are subsisting agreements which government is expected to honour. Some of these agreements border on salaries which government has agreed to pay but has elected to observe in the breach instead. For example the case with the Senior Staff Association of the Nigerian Universities, whose members are being owed for over three months.”
According to the statement “The avoidable strike action by ASUU has caused enough disruption or damage to the sector. The implications for the polity are grave and should be avoided, at least for the sake of our children. We also urge Mr President to discountenance the impression that the strike actions against his government are politically-motivated as nothing could be farther from the truth. Those who pursue this line of thinking are the ones who do not wish Mr President well. Rather than tell him the truth, they prefer to indulge in sycophancy, hypocrisy and boot-licking because it serves their personal motives.
“In order for Mr President to convince himself about the absence of any ulterior motive against his administration by any of the unions, especially ASUU which has come under accusation, we crave the indulgence of Mr President to insist on being availed the details of these agreements.
The Nigeria Labour Congress is not oblivious of the present challenges in the economy but it is convinced that with requisite discipline, will, prioritisation and genuine dialogue, the government can reach a truce not just with the unions but could halt the decline in the economy.”