ASUU LATEST: Presidency Blasts ASUU

 

The Federal Government said at the weekend that its decision to sack the striking lecturers was informed by the stance of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to get its demand in one fell swoop.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, told reporters in Abuja that it was wrong “for a party to a dispute to come to the table with an “all or none” mentality”.

Okupe regretted that ASUU leadership has remained recalcitrant,  despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s strenous commitment to the resolution of the crisis which he said informed his involvement in the last meeting with the striking lecturers, even as the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) slammed the government for threatening the lecturers with sack.

“In our present case, coming to negotiations as ASUU has done with this mindset, betrays a lack of understanding on the part of the body’s leadership that the nation and the government are a continuum.

“Having said that, Nigerians expected that the direct involvement of President Goodluck Jonathan who sat for 13 hours in the meeting was the high mark of the crisis, which ought to have provided the final resolution to the crisis.

“The meeting with President Jonathan ended with a definite agreement and resolutions acceptable to the ASUU leadership.

“The leadership of ASUU was expected to consult with its members nationwide and report back to government within one week, and call off the strike, all other things being equal.

“The ASUU leadership rather than take its responsibility seriously, wasted seven days before scheduling a meeting. When the meeting eventually held the leadership decided to thwart and undemocratically override the expressed will of majority of its chapters to call off the strike. This action is contrary to established practice and procedure of any democratic labour institution, which ASUU is expected to be.

“The ASUU leadership refused to accede to the wishes of 42 of its 61 chapters nationwide, who voted in favour of the agreement with the President and the calling off of the strike; but in a surprise volte face presented government again with a new set of demands and considerations outside the terms agreed at the presidential intervention.

“This is why we make bold to state that there is absolutely nothing dictatorial, draconian or undemocratic in the order by the Federal Government for striking lecturers to return to work or face dismissal.  You may wish to recall that on August 5, 1981, Ronald Reagan then American President, sacked 11, 345 Air Traffic Controllers after a two-day . Reagan took the decision after the striking workers turned down an 11 per cent wage increase he had offered them. Here in Nigeria, our labour laws contain sufficient provisions that give the right to hire and fire to the employer.

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