The ball now in ASUU's court -How will they play?



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The ball now in ASUU's court -How will they play?
Posted on: November 05, 2013, 02:40:50 PM
Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan
on Monday led a negotiation meeting
with the leadership of the Academic
Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to
end the protracted strike embarked
upon by the union since July 1. The13-hour meeting started at about
2.30 p.m. on Monday at the
Presidential Villa and ended at 3.30
a.m. on Tuesday. The meeting had in attendance the
leadership of the Nigerian Labour
Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union
Congress (TUC) led by their respective
Chairmen Abduwaheed Omar and
Bobbo Kaigama. The ASUU team was led by the union’s
President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, three
former presidents of the union,
professors Dipo Fashina, Abdullahi
Sule-Kano and Festus Iyayi as well as
professors Biodun Osiyemi, Victor Osodeke, Suleiman Abdullahi and Dr.
Victor Igbum. On the government negotiation team
were, Vice President Namadi Sambo;
Minister of Labour, Chukwuemeka
Wogu; Minister of Finance and
Coordinating Minister of the Economy
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom
Wike. Also on the government side were the
Secretary to the Government of the
Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, the
Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Mike
Oghiadome, and the Executive
Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie. Emerging from the meeting, Fagge told
State House correspondents that the
president had given the delegation a
message to its members which would
enable the union to call off the strike. “We have had a lengthy meeting with
Mr President, rubbing minds on the
ways to address the problems of
university education in this country. “We now have a message from Mr
President that we are going to take to
our members and we are expecting
that our members will respond
appropriately to the message of Mr
President,” he said Asked whether union would call off
the strike and return to work based
on the message from the meeting,
Fagge said “that is up to our
members.” Wogu, who spoke for the
government, said that the meeting
ended positively and the message of
the President to ASUU “is full of hope
and high expectations. “The message is full of hope and
expectations and our prayer is that
they come back with positive
response. “They might not even come back to
meet us; they might even take
decisions there that will meet your
expectations.” Wogu noted that the offer made by the
president was in line with the 2009
agreement reached with the union. “The offer is within the issues that led
to the strike; the issues contained in
the 2009 agreement and we did not
go beyond the agreement,” he said. He appealed to Nigerians to be patient
with ASUU and gave an assurance that
the outcome of the meeting would be
positive. The president appeared to be in high
spirits when he entered the venue of
the meeting. While shaking hands with the ASUU
president, he exclaimed: “My
president! All the problems will be
over today; our children must go back
to school.” The president proceeded to shake
hands with everyone in attendance at
the meeting. Also, while shaking hands with Omar
and Kaigama, Jonathan said: “My
presidents, with you here, I am
assured everything will go on well, it is
signed and sealed.” The meeting went into a 30-minute
break at 6.20 p.m. During the period, the ASUU
delegation went out of the venue of
the meeting to the road where the bus
that conveyed them was packed and
held consultations inside the bus for
about 25 minutes. Prior to the arrival of the ASUU and
labour team for the meeting, the
president held a closed-door
consultation with members of his
team. The discussion, which lasted for about
40 minutes, was attended by the
Minister of Justice and Attorney-
General of the Federation, Mr
Mohammed Adoke (SAN). It will be recalled that ASUU embarked
on strike on July 1 over the
government failure to implement an
agreement reached with the union in
2009 for improved funding for
infrastructure development in the universities and payment of lecturers’
Earned Allowances. Government had set up two
committees to address the issues to
resolve the crisis but the inability of the
committees to reach agreements with
ASUU led to the vice-president taking
over the negotiation. On Sept. 19, the vice-president held a
special negotiation meeting with the
leadership of ASUU and offered an
improved government position on the
matter but the union rejected the offer. Many Nigerians have appealed to
ASUU to call off the strike. (NAN) From all indications, there seem to be a
positive response from ASUU and we
indeed expect the ASUU strike to end
this week because if the conditions
given by the President was not good
enough to consider, there would have been an outright rejection of the offer. The ball is truly in ASUU's court now...
How do you think they will play the
ball? Comment using the comment
box below this page.

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