Umahi Urges ASUU, FG to Meet Demands Halfway to End Strike

Benjamin Nworie

Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. David Umahi has called on the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to show understanding and accept halfway agreement so as to end the protracted industrial action.

Umahi noted that though the demands of the unionist were germane, but it would be unreasonable for the federal government to borrow N1.1trillion to meet the demands of the lecturers that downed tools since February 14, 2022.

Umahi stated this when the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation and Member Board of Trustees of Nigerian Police Trust Fund, Mr. Sam Akabueze paid him a courtesy call in Abakaliki.

Umahi said: “Our basic problem in this country remains security, health and education. Let me say a little about education which is in public domain.

“University education is not for everybody and that is the truth. The basic education every country strives to attain is secondary school and vocational schools. These are the basic schools and when you have these qualifications, you will able to use it either to start up something or to be able to use it to be employed and while you are in employment, if you don’t have the mercy you will be able to aspire to university education”

The governor advocated that the educational system should be reviewed so that the federal government and ASUU would sit down and iron out the problem about the strike.

He added: “There is a need to review our educational system, it mustn’t be for everybody. I am not ashamed that I have first degree and my deputy is a PhD holder, it doesn’t matter. It is what you bring on board. So, I cannot see how we cannot sit down with our ASUU leaders and iron out this problem about the ASUU strike.

“I have read in social media, newspapers how students got into trouble just by sitting at home or engaging in means of keeping themselves busy instead of being in schools. There is no way the country Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1trillion to meet ASUU demands, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes, but we can start little by little.

“There must be commitment on the side of both parties. Look, ASUU is not asking this to take to their houses so to say, there are asking it for our children to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students.

“Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.”

Speaking further, he said: “But let me also say that most of the time, our people have low appetite for maintenance of public works. No matter how much you deploy to these universities, unless the users, the industry, the regulators, unless they begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad no matter how much the federal government deploy to it.

“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding. Let’s meet ourselves halfway and their open the schools to save the fate of our children”

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