The National Presidents of ASUU and ASUP, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke and Dr Anderson Ezeibe, respectively, told Punch in an interview that the only way strike could be avoided in the education sector and general progress made was if Nigerians should elect leaders that believed in education.
Osodeke emphasised that the strike was not an issue but a symptom that something was wrong.
“Any day we have a government that is serious about education, we won’t have strike actions again. When you invest in education, there won’t be a strike. We were negotiating and we have gone far, suddenly, the government disbanded the committee because they believed that the court has ordered ASUU to resume.
“We should look for someone who believes in education and believes that for you to grow, you must have good education and quality healthcare.
“Among the 18 contestants, look for the one that has plans for education and believes in investing in education.”
ASUU, University of Lagos chapter, Dr Dele Ashiru, said, “ASUU expects the conclusion of the 2022 FGN/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement, payment of all withheld salaries, a commitment to adequate funding of education at all levels as well as a demonstration of absolute fidelity with the Agreement when eventually signed. What we actually need is System Change.
“Irrespective of who wins the election unless we change the system it may be difficult to move forward as a nation. Change the structure of Nigeria to make it work for the people and not a selected few
“Only government action(s) or inaction(s) can determine that. Our union only responds to the government’s insensitivity. “
Ezeibe said Nigeria needed leaders who were open-minded and had knowledge of the challenges in the education sector.
“We need leaders who are humane and passionate about resolving the issues in the sector. Such a person should have adequate knowledge of the challenges with an open mind for inclusive engagements that will lead to sustainable solutions. “
He also insisted that government should also conclude the ongoing renegotiation of the ASUP/FGN 2010 agreement.
“ASUP expects the government to conclude the ongoing renegotiation of the ASUP/FGN 2010 agreement which is long overdue.
“This should be achieved through the sincere conclusion of the collective bargaining process which commenced in 2017 and when concluded will resolve a lot of lingering issues in the sector. We expect the government to respect agreements, respect laws/statutes, respect the staff unions. We generally expect a reorientation in terms of the government’s disposition to education. “