Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike
• FG pleads with parents as strike lingers
By Muhammad Bello and Toba Suleiman
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have called for the immediate sack of Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, over his involvement in the political crisis in Rivers State.
The Coordinator of ASUU, Ilorin Zone, Dr Adeleke Ayan, said Wike’s involvement in Rivers politics had made him to neglect of his duties, particularly in joining to find solution to the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by the union.
The federal government has however pleaded with parents to bear with it as it continues negotiations with the union with a view to ending the strike.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, Ayan, who is the Chairman of ASUU in Ekiti State University, said it was lamentable that Wike had abandoned crucial national issues like ASUU strike and started indulging in local politics.
Ayan, who described Wike as a ‘roving minister’, said: “The involvement of the minister in Rivers State crisis is an example of reckless abandonment of serious national issue for pecuniary pursuit. The Ilorin zone grossly condemns this roving minister and calls for his immediate removal.”
ASUU threatened that it would no longer enter into any ‘unproductive’ agreement with the federal government, having reneged on the previous ones.
“The previous MoU of March 2012 was so clear that if the Minister of Education and National Universities Commission Executive Secretary had not sabotaged it through bureaucracy, there won’t have been any need for another strike,” he said.
Ayan attributed the delay in quickly resolving the industrial dispute to government’s insincerity, adding that the partial implementation of agreement reached by the union with government will force public universities to increase tuition fees as a way of raising money to finance the system.
However, the federal government Wednesday appealed to parents to exercise restraint and patience as it is working round the clock to end the strike.
The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, briefing State House reporters after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), said the government was also worried by the strike, which has disrupted school calendar.
According to him, the federal government has been negotiating with the leadership of ASUU to resolve their differences.
“We expect that it (negotiation) will not be protracted and agreement will be reached soon. We don't want school calendars to be disrupted. We appeal to parents and students to bear with us and show more understanding. We have tried to resolve the perennial strikes we inherited,” Maku said.