The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday told the immediate past Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, to face his presidential campaigns and stop interfering in the union’s issues.
Nwajiuba, who resigned last week due to his presidential ambition, in an inteview had maintained that state universities shouldn’t have joined the ongoing strike since most of ASUU’s demands were challenges being faced by federal universities.
But, in a reaction to Nwajiuba’s comment on the union’s ongoing strike, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, told Newsmen that ASUU is a union of all academics in the Nigerian public universities.
Osodeke said, “Nwajiuba doesn’t know anything, he is ignorant. Is Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board conducting exams for federal universities alone? Is National Universities Commission regulating only federal universities?
“He knows nothing, thank God he has left. He should concentrate on his campaign; he should leave ASUU and government alone. He should leave us alone and go and do his campaign to become president.
“When they get TETfund, does it go to federal universities alone? Even NEEDS assessment? When Nigeria Labour Congress negotiates salaries, does it go to federal workers alone? He is trying to get public support by talking about ASUU; he has left us and we have left him and we are not talking about him.”
In Ekiti State, the Chairman of ASUU Akure Zone, which comprises four institutions including Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Prof Olufayo Olu-Olu, said on Tuesday that EKSU was part of the strike called by the national body because the academic body was one.
Olu-Olu, a lecturer at EKSU, said state universities including EKSU had benefitted immensely from the joint negotiation with the national body, saying that the state government had not done anything about the ongoing industrial action by the academic staff because it was a national issue.
He said, “It is the joint negotiation with the national ASUU that has helped us to get a lot of the infrastructure and equipment in the state schools including EKSU. All the new structures including the Central Laboratory in EKSU are from the money realised from the Federal Government for the purpose of revitalisation.”
Olu-Olu, also, dismissed Nwajiuba’s comment that state universities have no business joining the ongoing strike, saying, “The former minister knows nothing about ASUU and union matters. ASUU, according to the law establishing us, is one. We have only one ASUU in Nigeria, all the branches are just chapters of a body, that is why ASUU negotiates as one.
“Also, ASUU members, whether in federal or state university, to be candid, operate within the same country, patronise the same market, teach Nigerian students and it is the same policy that is applicable to all the universities!
“Anytime we are negotiating, we negotiate together because we are under the same umbrella, we are just chapters of a larger umbrella. That is why we will forever remain with the national ASUU.”