By: Sunday Oyewole
President Goodluck Jonathan seems now determined to end the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) soon. Consequently, he has directed his Vice, Namadi Sambo to take over the negotiation with ASUU officials.
On Thursday night, Vice President Sambo met with the representatives of ASUU at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The negotiation had previously been handled by Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.
National President of ASUU, Nasir Isa Fagge was joined on the negotiation table by Dr. Dipo Fasina and Dr. Abdullahi Sule-Kano. Also present were the Vice Chancellors of Bayero University Kano (BUK), University of Ibadan (UI) and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi, Profs. Abdulrasheed Abubakar, Isaac Adewole and Muhammed Hamisu Muhammed respectively.
On the government side were the acting Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike and the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Julius Okogie.
After the meeting, indication emerged that federal government may have made fresh offer but both parties would disclose the offer.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting that lasted for about two hours, ASUU President said government through the Vice President gave him a message to the striking teachers and that he promised to deliver it.
Asked if fresh offer had been made, he insisted the message was for his members, saying he would deliver it and get back to the minister of education within a week.
“We have had a meeting with the Vice President and he has given us a message to our members, and we said that as the messengers that we are, we are going to deliver the message faithfully to our members and then they will take the decision,”.
According to him, “I know Nigerians are expecting a solution to the strike, we also want a solution, but I have been given a message to our members. The message is not for Nigerians, it is for our members. If I deliver the message, our principal will decide and we will get back to the ministry of education within this week,” Fagge said.
It will be recalled that federal government has offered N30 billion to take care of the allowances the lecturers are demanding and another N100 billion to upgrade infrastructure in the Universities.
Also speaking, the acting Education Minister said the meeting was conveyed to find lasting solution that could return the striking teachers to the classrooms in earnest.