Barr. Nyesom Wike
BY LAJU ARENYEKA
Supervising Minister of Education, Sen. Nyesom Wike, was on Tuesday absent at a meeting with the Senate to resolve the grievances of the striking Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Unions, COEASU. This is the second of such meetings Wike has shunned.
It would be recalled that the meeting was adjourned two weeks ago to July 1, following the absence of the supervising Minister for education, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim among other high ranking officials.
These same officials were absent again yesterday.
After the meeting, the Vice Chairman, COEASU, Mr. Smart Olugbeko told Vanguard in a phone interview: ‘We just finished the meeting, and these officials were absent again. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije was present, but these people were not there, so there was nothing tangible that could be done or discussed.
The only person who sent his regrets was the Minister of Labour, who said he was attending to the striking doctors. But there was no word from the others; it seemed as if they planned not to come for the meeting. It is so sad, and the senate was slighted; they were the ones who screened these people to become ministers and yet they cannot honour a meeting with the senate.’
Olugbeko, whose union has been on strike since December, added: ‘We began this strike with thirteen issues which have now been reduced to just three. If these ministers were present, we would have at least been able to reach a compromise.’
ASUP was also disappointed at the turn of events. ASUP Chairman, Dr. Chibuzor Asomugha told Vanguard: ‘This is the second meeting with the Senate that the education minister is avoiding; at the meeting last week, he was absent. There was another meeting about a month ago with the House of Representatives that he refused to attend. We think that it shows disdain for the sector and lack of understanding of his responsibility.
We gathered that the Senate will try to reach Mr. President directly, and try to get intervention from his office since the ministers are not responding. Although we are not ruling out the possibility, there have been no talks of reconvening so far.’
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