By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
The national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, yesterday accused the Federal and State Governments of deliberately killing and undermining Nigeria by willfully designing and implementing bad policies in their institutions.
This was disclosed yesterday by the National President of ASUP, Comrade Anderson Ezeibe, who was flanked by ASUP Federal Polytechnic Oko branch, Chairman Comrade Onyebuchi Igbokwe and other national and Oko branch leaders, at a press briefing held at Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Aguata Local Government Area Anambra State.
The ASUP National President alleged that the government establishes Polytechnics mainly to satisfy its political desires, adding that the Nigerian state have consciously, over the years, decided to abdicate from its responsibilities towards developing skill-based education, a situation he said is contrary to the provisions in the nation’s policy on education adopted since 1977 which recognized the place of technical and vocational education in Nigeria’s development.
“As a matter of fact, it is not as if the Nigerian states have decided to do away with this sector. It is not as if they are not seeing the fact that this sector has a very vital role to play to the development of this nation, the fact remains that if the Nigerian States does not see the importance of Polytechnic education, there will not be establishment of new polytechnics and colleges of technology in this nation.
“Of course, like you know, 36 new Federal Polytechnics were established in the recent past in addition to the two established about three years ago. And various state governments are still establishing new polytechnics. So, what it means is that we are led, as a matter of fact, to believe that by the stands of the government, that these institutions are being established to satisfy political convenience. And this is not good enough”
On their ongoing industrial action, Comrade Ezeibe, disclosed that they will not call off their 50 days old strike, until Federal Government meets their demands, adding, that the Federal government should at least meet the resolution it had with it on 27th April, which was brought abysmal low.
“We are asking for only N19 billion out of a total N823 billion that Federal Government earlier agreed since 2018, with the union, to be injected into the polytechnics education Nation wide. The 19 billion naira comprised of 15 billion revitalisation fund and 4 billion to offset the accumulated arrears on minimum wage.
“On the 27th of April, we entered into a resolution with the Federal Government, and there is a stance in the resolution that demanded immediate implementation. For instance, Federal government made an offer to release N15 billion as infrastructure revitalisation fund for the sector in lieu of the implementation of needs assessment survey.
“Our members across all the Federal Polytechnics are owed for ten months arrears. The government accepted this particular responsibility and also entered into a resolution with us, to ensure immediate release of the fund, which amounted to N4 billion Naira, but up till date nothing has be done about it.”