Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
In order to stem the tide of incessant and protracted strikes in the Nigerian tertiary institutions, especially universities, and to ensure that the bone of contention between unions and the federal government is progressively buried, a 14-man committee has been inaugurated.
The committee which is headed by Mr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) is expected to re-negotiate the 2009 federal government/university based staff unions agreement.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who inaugurated the committee, said the re-negotiation team is significant as it confirms to the unions that government is committed to keeping to its own side of the promise, and in ensuring that an environment that is conducive for learning, teaching, research and community service is engendered through lasting industrial harmony.
He encouraged the team to undertake the responsibility with patriotism, dedication, mutual trust and selflessness, considering that the future and stake of the university system will be affected by its successes or otherwise.
“Today’s inauguration kick-starts our drive for re-negotiation across the three segments of tertiary education sub-sector- universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education, starting with that of universities. Subsequently, the teams of the re-negotiation with the polytechnics and colleges of education, would be constituted as soon as their respective governing councils are put in place.”
In response, the leader of the team, Babalakin, assured the unions of its commitment towards ensuring that there is no stalemate between the two parties and pledged that its objective will be in creating a better educational system.
“A conducive environment in the tertiary institution is the bedrock for the development of a nation’s intelligentsia. A nation’s development can be seriously enhanced by the active participation of the intelligence in the pursuit of the country’ developmental goals.
“We also want to assure you that we intend to rise beyond your expectations for the fourth realms of tertiary education in Nigeria. This task should not be underestimated and with the commitment of all, it could provide a serious enhancement for education in Nigeria.”
Members of the committee include Prof. Munzali Jibril, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lafia, Prof. Nimi Briggs, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Otuoke, Lawrence Ngbale, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Prince Alex Mbata, Pro-Chancellor, Imo State University, Owerri and Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun.