ASUU discusses Jonathan’s offerTeachers won’t call off strike until after consultations, says leader
After 13 hours of negotiations with the Federal Government, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) got yesterday another offer towards the resolution of the crisis that has crippled the campuses for over four months.
But ASUU President Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, did not disclose the new Federal Government’s offer, insisting that its members have the final say on the issue.
Lecturers were holding meetings on the various campuses last night over the government’s offer.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the First Lady’s Conference Room in the Presidential Villa, Fagge said the meeting was working towards tackling the problem of university education.
He said: “Well, we have had lengthy meeting with Mr. President, rubbing minds on how best to address the problem of university education in this country.
“And we now have a message from Mr. President we are going to take to our members. And we are expecting that our members will respond appropriately to the message of Mr. President.”
On whether the lecturers are going back to the classroom, he said: “That is up to our members.”
Asked what the message was, he said: “I can’t tell you. Its not for you. It is for our members.”
If impressed with the message, he said: “Don’t put words into my mouth. Our members will determine that.”
Also speaking at the end of the meeting, Minister of Labour Emeka Wogu said: “We made progress; the President of ASUU told you that they are going back with a message from the Federal Government to their members. And the message is full of high expectations and hope.”
On whether the strike will be called off, he said: “That is why the message is full of high expectations and hope. So, our prayers is that they come back with positive outcome. They might not even come back to meet us; they might take decisions there that will meet your expectations.”
“Nigerians should be patient for ASUU to finish their meetings and come out with a message to Nigerians.”
Asked whether the government made a fresh offer, Wogu said: “Well, the offers we made are the offers they are taking in line with the 2009 agreement. The issues that led to the strike are issues contained in the 2009 agreement and we did not go beyond the agreement.”
Before the meeting started on Monday afternoon, President Jonathan had assured the lecturers that the strike would be resolved .
Jonathan, who took charge of the Federal Government’s negotiations with the lecturers, while exchanging pleasantries with the ASUU team, led by Fagge, said: “My president, all the problems will be over today, all our children must go back to school.”
Also greeting the NLC President, Comrade Abdulwahab Omar at the beginning of the meeting, President Jonathan said: “My president, with you around today, there will be no problem; our agreement is signed, sealed and delivered.”
On the Federal Government team were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Wogu; Supervising Minister of Education Nyesom Wike; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim; National Universities Commission (NCC) Executive Secretary Prof Julius Okogie and Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Also in the government team are the Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Oghiadhome and the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Mac John Nwaobiala.
For ASUU were its Vice President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, three past presidents of ASUU, Profs. Festus Iyayi, Dipo Fashina and Abdullahi Sule-Kano.
Others included Prof. Suleiman Abdul; Dr. Victor Igbum and Prof. Victor Osodeke.
The ASUU team also had Omah and Trade Union President Bobboi Kaigama.
The Presidency, on September 19, took over negotiations with the striking lecturers with Sambo heading the government’s side.