ABUJA — FORTY eight hours to the deadline given by the Federal Government to striking university lecturers to resume classes or be sacked, the union has remained adamant, advising parents not to risk the lives of their children by sending them to the campuses.
The Presidency, on its part accused ASUU leaders of treachery and warned the university lecturers not to dare the resolve of government to carry out its threat to sack them if they failed to resume.
The Senate President, David Mark has also cautioned the Federal Government over the threat to sack the striking lecturers just as the All Progressives Congress (APC) slammed the government for issuing the threat.
Supervising Minister for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike last Thursday gave the lecturers a seven-day ultimatum to resume from their six-month strike or risk being sacked. President Goodluck Jonathan, however, clarified, weekend, in Bayelsa that the Federal Government did not give the ultimatum, stating that it was given by the Committee of Vice Chancellors.
However, the Secretary-General of the Committee of Vice Chancellors, Professor Mike Faborede denied the claim that his committee gave the ultimatum. He passed the buck to the Committee of Pro-Chancellors.
ASUU meantime said no academic activities would resume until the Federal Government perfects and implements resolutions reached with the union.
The order given by the Federal Government that universities across the country should resume seems not to have any impact in the University of Ibadan.
A visit to the campus, yesterday, showed that the order had been ignored by students as they did not turn up for resumption.
A student, Bolade who did not want his surname in print said the order was disregarded because they knew the approach of the Federal Government would only aggravate the face-off.
All the halls of residence — Kuti Hall, Sultan Bello, Independence, Nnamdi Azikwe, Queen Elizabeth and Idia Halls in the institution were still deserted. Though, the halls were opened, only some non academic staff and few students who did not leave the campus at all were seen.
Describing the threat by Federal Government as height of insensitivity, the academic union asked its members not to sign any register but to remain calm and stay resolute.
On denial by President Goodluck Jonathan that he never issued any ultimatum to the union, the National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge and University of Ibadan chapter of the Union, ASUU said it was laughable.
Fagge said: “Comrades, can you see the unfolding drama? Now, Jonathan says they didn’t give ultimatum; that the Vice Chancellors did and Wike became their trumpet; But NUC’s ultimatum is by Federal Government to us to resume or get sacked. And Wike’s press address says “FG has directed, “NOT”VCs have directed”Be calm, stay resolute. By God, we are on course”
Also speaking in the same vein, UI ASUU chairman, Dr. Segun Ajiboye asked parents not to risk the precious lives of “our students by releasing them, saying no lecturer will teach them.
“Don’t risk the lives of your children, keep your children at home because ASUU will not teach. Soldiers and the police deployed by the Federal Government will not teach. Mr Wike can come and teach in university. It is a huge joke to sack professors. Our strike must not be in vain. Our students must see the results. It is funny; we thought we are in a democracy. I assure Nigerians that we know what the law says about the strike. Our job is statute backed. We are not threatened. We do not trust the government. The record of the government is clear. This government is dishonouring agreements. Our members are resolved to pursue this to a logical conclusion”
UI ASUU also sent a text message to its staff reads: “Dear members, stay calm and remain resolute. There is nothing wrong in asking govt to do what it says it will do immediately. ASUU is not making any new demands as the Minister is propagating. Government is only repeating a ‘one act play’ scripted by the IBB dictatorship in early 90s. It didn’t work then, and, it won’t work now.!all branches are intact. We cannot be intimidated!!united we bargain, divided we beg!!!Aluta Continua.”
Don’t dare Govt, Presidency warns
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday accused the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU of treachery, just as it warned the university lecturers not to dare the resolve of government to carry out its threat to sack them if they failed to resume.
According to the Presidency, ASUU leaders have gone contrary to the desire of majority of their chapters who have voted and agreed to end the strike because of the personal intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan, even as it boasted that it was joking with the threat of sacking the lecturers.
Addressing Journalists yesterday in Abuja, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe said that ASUU leadership came into negotiation with a mindset that betrayed what he termed, lack of understanding that the nation and the government were a continuum.
Asked whether the Federal Government can fill the vacancies if the lecturers were indeed sacked, he retorted: “Do you think the government is joking?”
Okupe who noted that the 13-hour meeting Jonathan held with ASUU ended with a definite agreement and resolutions acceptable to the ASUU leadership, however stressed that the leadership of ASUU was expected to consult with its members nationwide and report back to government within one week.
“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 Secretary-Generl of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors in a text message to Vanguard, last night, said: “The Committee of Pro-Chancellors (CPC), issued the ultimatum, not the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC).”
Mark cautions FG over threat
Senate President, David Mark has also cautioned the federal government on the use of threat to solve the lingering crisis with ASUU.
The Senate President for the umpteenth time also pleaded with ASUU to reconsider their position and return to classes to salvage the already battered education sector from further deterioration.
Senator Mark who advised the Federal Government not to use the sledgehammer on ASUU on account of the five months strike when he commissioned a lecture theatre for the School of management sciences at the Kano state polytechnic donated by Senator Kabiru Gaya, pleaded with the teachers to resume classes while negations continue.
He said, “We have reached a situation where hardline positions would worsen the situation. My plea to ASUU is to resume classes while negotiation continues. The strike has done enough damage to our universities. They have also made their point and I think we should reason together and end this matter.
“Nobody, including the university teachers themselves can be said to be enjoying this crisis. It is a huge cost on government, parents, the management, staff and students of the universities.