By Benjamin Arida://
Planned shutdown of political activities in the country by the National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS over the continued Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike has been suspended.
This was sequel to an intervention by the Senate and a non-governmental, Vision Africa on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
NANS, through its National President, Sunday Asefon, had threatened to shutdown Abuja and ensure that political parties did not hold their scheduled primaries this month.
Speaking when the convener of the Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday Onuoha lead them to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly, Asefon, said they planned to shutdown Abuja because the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who apparently want to contest for the 2023 presidential election, don’t care about how they can resolve the ASUU and the Federal Government face-off.
“We decided that no political party will hold a primary in Abuja because the issue of the strike action embarked upon by ASUU for months has been neglected. But with the intervention of Vision Africa through Bishop Sunday Onuoha, we want ASUU and the federal government to go back to the negotiation table so that we can go back to school. The Senate has done it before, we are ready to allow for such an atmosphere,” Asefon said.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who promised that the National Assembly would intervene, said the 2009 agreement shouldn’t have been signed.
“There is no way the government can handle that agreement. It is a contentious issue because some people only wanted ASUU to go back to the classes. The federal government must always remain truthful because I don’t see how they will get that money.
“We must be truthful. We sit here because we were able to go to school and no nation can develop without giving education to its citizens. You have to educate the people and get them ready. Education institutions generally must be alive to the reality. We must be ready to spend on educating our citizens. Malaysia and other countries are developing because they invest in education.
“We are going to intervene. We will bring ASUU and the federal government back to the negotiating table. Stop the planned protest so that we can bring everybody to the table. Give us a chance to do that believing that we are going to find a solution. We will start the negotiation again,” Lawan assured
He went further: “Don’t disrupt the activities of political parties. We don’t need to do that. Let’s avoid confrontation. When we emphasize consultation, it is much easier for us. We will be together with you. We have taken the prayer, we have endorsed it and we will work for it.
“Let me call on ASUU to suspend this 12 weeks strike period. There is no way they can negotiate when they are on strike. I want to promise you that we will push from the legislative angle so that together, we will resolve the issue.
“We are not happy that you are at home. This is a country where we respect youths to be very educated because we are supposed to export skills and labour to other countries. I want to thank Bishop Sunday Onuoha for his patriotism.
“I hope you will get a national honour for your patriotism and statesmanship. We thank you for intervening. The Bishop is here because he doesn’t want you to go the wrong direction. For him to be a shepherd, you must give him that opportunity. Allow us to go on consultation and not confrontation,” Lawan added.
In his remarks, Bishop Onuoha said if one pretends a boil is not there, it does not go away by being ignored.
The clergy said the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action, MoA, declared on 14th March 2022, can be laid out, reassessed, and revisited with a view to possibly implementing what was agreed on.