The Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) has called on parents, members of the public and relevant stakeholders in the country, to join the Union in its resolve to save public universities in Nigeria from imminent collapse.
The coordinator of the Lagos Zone of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, made the call on Monday, while briefing newsmen, shortly after the meeting of members of the Union at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman, ASUU-OOU, Dr. Joel Okewale, Chairman, ASUU-FUNAAB, Dr Adebayo Oni and Chairman, ASUU-UNILAG, Dr Dele Ashiru, among others.
Sowande said it was surprising that parents of students in public universities who should ordinarily side with ASUU, had been misinformed and misled by the Federal Government into believing ASUU’s demands were selfish.
He stressed that the strike is aimed at rescuing the country’s university education from total and to ensure the sustenance of university autonomy
“The ongoing strike is about the only obvious way to rescue and preserve the soul of public university education from the stranglehold of Nigeria’s kleptocrats.
“Government does not see education of its citizens as public good but rather unfortunately, as a business.
“While government is committed to using public funds to bail out banks, electricity distribution companies, and airline operators, which are their private investments, the excuse of unavailability of fund for revitalization of our public universities is not acceptable to our Union.
“Parents and students should not be persuaded that ASUU is asking for too much money for the survival of public universities. Parents should please note that, if our struggle fails, they will pay through their noses to send their children to university, that is, if many students will not drop out of school”. Sowande stated.
He berated the Federal Government for resulting into blackmail, intimidation and propagation of falsehood to the public instead of making sincere efforts at resolving the lingering crisis.
The ASUU zonal coordinator further declared that members of the union have vowed not to succumb to the federal government’s pressure to call off its ongoing strike
The don, however, described the claim by the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, that 57,000 out of 71,700 lecturers are already on IPPIS as the “highest level of falsehood from an office that should be respected for propagation of truth”.
He insisted that the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the Federal government violates the autonomy of universities and is targeted at crippling university education in Nigeria.
“IPPIS violates the autonomy of universities because the power to control the finances and other resources will now be vested on the Account-General of the Federation and the Head of Service of the Federation.
“IPPIS is also aimed at subjecting the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and lecturers of federal-owned universities to the approval of the Head of Service of the Federation and this is in contrary to the universities autonomy act”. He added.