.ASUU

*To  advertise positions of lecturers who fail to resume after 1week

*Govt plans to source for lecturers from private varieties, engage vibrant qualified retired civil servants, others

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

The federal government may further direct university management to open an attendance register for lecturers of all public universities in the country upon resumption of universities as it had directed.

Besides, the government may direct vice-chancellors to compile names of lecturers that fail to resume their duty posts and advertise their positions for possible replacement after one week of reopening.

A top policy maker in the Federal Ministry of Education, who preferred that his name remains anonymous, told Vanguard, Friday that the directives were part of measures put in by the government to ensure the smooth resumption of academic activities in the nation’s public universities.

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According to the source, government equally plans to source competent lecturers from private universities across the country to replace those that would default in attendance.

The source also said civil servants who just retired upon the attainment of the mandatory 60 years in service but who have the requisite qualifications and experience could be considered for employment in the university as lecturers.

“Government did not just direct university managements to reopen schools, there are many other measures being put in place here by the federal administration to ensure everything works out as planned. In the next few days, the public will know what the government is doing to ensure smooth resumption and academic activities,” he said.

Noting that “enough is enough for ASUU”, the source, who compared ASUU to the staff of defunct Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, NITEL, said the government has swallowed so much from the university lecturers’ union and was out to settle its problems with the union once.

“They (NITEL staff), were behaving as if telecommunications begins and ends with NITEL, before we knew it, the government granted a licence to MTN, the government granted a licence to Airtel, the government granted a licence to Globacom and others, where is NITEL today?

“So, ASUU should know that if they press the throttle too hard, alternatives are out there,” he said.

He accused ASUU of still dwelling in the 2009 agreement when according to him, over N2.3 trillion has been expended on the universities since 2009 when the agreement was signed.

He spoke further: “Some of these people raising their shoulders as ASUU members don’t have time to even read, they are roadside academics.

“Go and ask them the 2009 agreement if any of them has even read it. What is surprising is that every day, ASUU talks about the 2009 agreement as a basis for any strike they start. But what is the content of this 2009 agreement?

“In total sum, without boring you with details, some of the contents are that a lecture theatre has to be built in Ibadan,a classroom in Maiduguri, a laboratory in ABU and all that.

” The sum total of that agreement is that the federal government should inject 1.3 trillion worth of infrastructural development in the university. Now, polytechnics and colleges of education came out with similar demands. The government now said,’okay,’ we are going to fine-tune the operations of the Education Task Fund, ETF’ This gave rise to Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund.

“The pursuit of the 2009 agreement is a fraud. Let me explain, when ASUU said ‘to inject N1.3 trillion worth of infrastructural development over 10 years, the government said we are going to fine-tune the operations of the Education Task Fund, you remember ETF? ETF was charged with the responsibility of educational development in all educational institutions, from primary to university. The government said because of the special needs of ASUU, we are now going to restrict Education Task Fund to tertiary education-university, colleges of education and polytechnics. That was why it became Tertiary Education Trust  Fund. This came as a result of the 2009 agreement. The government did this to make universities special focus so that they do not divert their resources to any other area.

“As far as reality was concerned, that was the end of that agreement in terms of execution. It has been fully executed. And over ten years, as we speak, TETFund has injected N2.6 trillion as against N1.3 trillion. So what 2009 agreement are you talking about? And it’s not as it has stopped there, it is still injecting counting and it would be there forever.”

He continued: “Granted that there are certain factors that are coming like inflation, the establishment of new institutions but if you look at the quantum, N2.6 trillion has been injected into the university. In addition to this, N2.6 trillion from TETFund, Jonathan gave the universities N200 billion and Buhari injected close to N100 billion in various tranches to the universities. So, you are looking at something close to N3 trillion. So even if you factor in the establishment of new institutions and inflation, that agreement has sufficiently been taken care of. And what ASUU was asking for over ten years is now permanent.

“Assuming government has the N1.3 trillion that ASUU is still talking about, and said ‘ASUU take’, what could have happened to the infrastructural development which was pointed out in that 2009 agreement that has sufficiently been taken care of by the government?

” So, the pursuit of the 2009 agreement is a huge fraud but people don’t know. That agreement has sufficiently been discharged and ASUU is still talking about it, they don’t even talk about Jonathan’s N200 billion not to talk of Buhari’s N100 billion! They keep saying the government has not done anything about the 2009 agreement! As I said, the pursuit of that agreement is a fraud.

“The pursuit of the 2009 agreement is a fraud because it has sufficiently been discharged by TETFund’s injection of funds into tertiary education. We are ready to defend these figures I am telling you about.

“Whether Nigerians agree with me or not, with time, everybody would stone ASUU.”

“When you sign that agreement, you didn’t say that the money must come from the budget. It was that “government should.’ He added.

On the no-work,no-pay policy, he said: “Why would you want to be paid for work you didn’t do?”

“Earned academic allowance is about overtime, earned academic allowance is about ‘i am supposed to reach 50 students, but I am instead, teach 100 students, pay me for the extra 50’. It was provided for in that agreement and that it should run for ten years during which every university will retain the best of its graduands in every department spanning ten years and by that, we would have achieved the appropriate United Nations recommended student/teacher ratio of 50 students to one lecturer. But universities have refused to do this and it’s not an omission, it’s deliberate. They want to continue syphoning money through earning an academic allowance. Otherwise, that thing is supposed to have been disposed of ten years ago,” he said.

According to him, “Those who signed that agreement envisaged that over ten years, if you are retaining the best graduands in each department, you would have gotten more teachers on the payroll and the question of excess workload would no longer arise. The excess workload in terms of teaching, supervision of thesis and so on would not arise. We were supposed to have been done with the issue of earned academic allowance long ago.”

“But you know what ASUU is doing, they have gone to so much ridiculous level as to think that every other Nigerian is insane, to think that every other Nigerian is not educated, it’s only ASUU members. Some of us are more educated than the professors in those universities.

“The crux of the matter is that because of the mentality of ASUU, people like Prof. Nimi Briggs who are seasoned academics, of course, seasoned in his own area, not in the versatile world, came out to tell the president,  Muhammadu Buhari, that ASUU should be paid, and that they would recover the lost ground. That was the highest sense of idiotism,” he fumed.

“Now, if somebody is saying, we are going to recover the lost period, pay us, where in the world has anybody been paid salary in advance? Apart from the fact that it is impossible to recover lost periods, you also cannot pay somebody in advance. Even the labourers on the field, go and pay them salaries in advance and see whether you will see them turn up for work. But they think that because they are ASUU, they should be paid in advance, what a ridiculous thing to hear,” he added.

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