By Emeka MAMAH, Kaduna
Immediate past President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the Federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to drop their current grand standing and engage in meaninful dialogue over the current face-off between them.
The former president who spoke in Zaria yesterday said that it was in the interest of the nation for the government and the union to engage in dialogue and resolve the current crisis immediately.
He said further that maintaining a rigid stand on the issues in contention will not lead to solving the problem, adding that no dispute can ever be settled through rigid positioning.
Obasanjo spoke just as a crisis continues to brew in the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) chapter of the union following the emergence of two factions of the union.
According to Obasanjo who said he was a victim of ASUU strike in the past said that the current â€œgrand standingâ€ by both parties in the dispute will not lead to any solution, pointing out that both parties must find a common ground for resolving the dispute the government should set aside strong standing, grand standing and engage or re-engage in discussion, communication and dialogue. It is in the best interest of the countryâ€.
Meanwhile, the ABU chapter of the union which has not joined the nation wide strike is facing a division with the emergence of two factions, with one faction backed by the national body and other by majority of the members in the local chapter.
The leadership of the union claimed it had the mandate of majority of members to insist that is national body does the right thing where the branch is concerned, the national leadership claimed it has dissolved the leadership adn conducted election into the branch.
However, the new leadership has which had planned to take over the secretariat of the union on Wednesday, Sept 9, 2009 could not do as the authority were said to have denied them security protection after the â€œmajority factionâ€ warned them against taking sides in the matter.
Muazu Maiwada whose leadership was said to have been dissolved by the national body accused the university registrar of planning to cause trouble within the university by taking sides in the crisis and providing those he called dissidents heavy security to conduct election in violation of an existing court order.
â€œI want to tell you that these people, with the support of the Registrar are trying to create problems here so that the university will be closed down in order to give the impression that they are in control. They are only 12 of them and they held an election with 24 security men guiding them.
â€œOn the day they held that election, we also held our meeting without security and we were 218 in attendance. So, you can judge for yourself whether they are in control or not. We have also told the university management and the Chief Security officer that these people do not have monopoly of violence.
â€œWe have written letters to all those we felt should know. The Commissioner of Police, the Director of SSS and other stakeholders because we are not going to sit back and watch these people lord it over us illegally. They plan to come and take over the secretariat and we are waiting for them to come. If it is anarchy they wants, we are waitingâ€, he said.