On Tuesday, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, said that the ongoing strike, which started on February 14, wouldn’t have lasted this long if politicians’ children attended public universities in the country.
Osodeke while reacting to the two-week order issued to ministers by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari to end the strike, stated that ASUU had concluded negotiations with the government and was only waiting for the ministers to sign the agreement reached with the university lecturers.
The ASUU President also pointed out that when aviation workers wanted to shut down their activities, “the national assembly called them immediately and settled them overnight because fear could not allow them to pass through roads”.
He also said that the lecturers were ready to return to the classrooms as long as the government fulfilled its part of the bargain.
“Two weeks is too long. The issue of renegotiation has been completed by both sides, which means that one is gone. They should just come back to us and say ‘we have agreed, sign it’. That should not take two days,” Osodeke said.
“If you have a crisis in your house, you will source for money to resolve that crisis — the way they are sourcing for money to do all kinds of things.
“We were told they spent billions to feed children in schools. Is that correct? How many children have you seen being fed? They released N200 billion for the entrepreneurship program.
“Your universities are closed for five months, you did not release N100 billion, but you released money to share in villages because the election is coming. It is the priority you place on education.
“Government should prioritize education as number one priority in the country, because all of us here, wherever you are, you must pass through the school. Now that you have killed it, we are wasting our money on foreign countries.
“Last year, according to CBN, Nigerians spent N1.6 trillion on school fees to other countries. N1.6 trillion will turn around all the universities in Nigeria and bring them to standard and people will come from outside. We go outside; nobody comes in.
“For this strike, universities are shut down. Those who run the affairs of Nigeria – the national assembly and executive arm – they do not have any problems. Their children are not here. If the children of all the ministers and senators are all in our public universities, this will not last two days.
“When the aviation people wanted to shut down, the national assembly called them immediately and settled them overnight because fear could not allow them to pass through roads. They quickly resolved it”, Osedeke added.