Forty-eight hours after an announcement that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had taken over the negotiations with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the former university don yesterday declared the information as untrue.
The union had on August 14 embarked on indefinite strike, citing the federal government’s failure to implement its agreement with it in 2009.
On August 29, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, had announced that the strike action embarked upon by the lecturers would be discussed at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of the following day.
Indeed, at the end of the meeting on Wednesday, Ngige while briefing State House correspondents said the government was committed to ending the strike embarked upon by ASUU.
Consequently, he said FEC had assigned Osinbajo to take charge of some aspects of the negotiations with the university lecturers, disclosing that relevant government officials would later proceed to the vice-president’s office that day for a meeting after which he said government decision would be communicated to the lecturers.
This information looked cheery to the generality of Nigerians who had confidence in the ability of the vice-president to quickly strike a deal with the aggrieved lecturers within a brief period.
Those who held this view predicated their optimism on the vice-president’s handling of the state of the nation at two different times when President Muhammadu Buhari embarked on medical treatment of an undisclosed ailment in the United Kindgom.
For instance, the vice-president’s intervention in the unrest in Niger Delta which led to the destruction of various oil installations and drastically brought down the volume of oil production in the country put paid to the activities of the restive youths.
Besides, it was also believed that the vice-president being a former lecturer who might have also had his own fair share of the current agitations of members of ASUU would handle the matter with a sense of sincerity in a way that the lecturers could be easily placated.
But yesterday, the vice-president pored cold water in that optimism when denied being named as head of the federal government’s negotiating team, saying the submission of Ngige might have been misrepresented.
A statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the vice-president only had a discussion with Ngige and his counterpart in the Ministry of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu after last Wednesday’s FEC meeting, explaining that both ministers remain the leaders of government’s negotiations with the union.
“News reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is now leading Federal Government negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU is inaccurate.
“Media reports seemed to have misrepresented what Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige meant when he spoke with reporters about the negotiations after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
“The Vice President had a discussion after FEC with both the Labour Minister and Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu around the issues, but has not taken over the negotiations as widely reported. Both Ministers will continue to lead the FG- ASUU talks.
“The Federal Government continues to diligently pursue a prompt resolution of this dispute and is confident the matter would be resolved,” the statement said.
However, this fresh development has been viewed as a setback for the move to quickly end the strike in view of the perception that the vice-president’s antecedents as well as his academic background might facilitate moves to end the strike.
While announcing ASUU strike on August 13, its National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the strike had become imminent in view of the frustrations his colleagues were going through which he said had exhausted their patience.
He therefore viewed the strike as the last option to press home their demands.
“Our members across the country were getting increasingly frustrated, distracted and disenchanted. It became evident that their patience had been tasked beyond reasonable limits and government’s insensitivity imposed severe burden on the leadership of the union
“Consequently, based on a nationwide consultation with our members, an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU rose on Saturday, 12th August, 2017 with a resolution to embark on an indefinite strike action starting from Sunday, 13th
‘UI may admit more students as hostels increase’- Acting VC hints
University of Ibadan Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebola Ekanola has hinted that the institution may admit more undergraduate students than it is currently doing with the establishment of more private hostels on campus.
The Vice Chancellor, who spoke at the groundbreaking and foundations laying ceremony of a private Hostel located at Ajibode, called Jad Hostel, being established by Hyperch O. A. Limited, explained that accommodation was a primary consideration in admitting students in UI, ‘as the university believes that every fresh and final year student must be accommodated on campus’.
According to him, “ now that we have private hostels springing up in UI under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, UI may admit more undergraduate students as private hostels provide additional accommodation for our students’.
Ekanola, who disclosed that provision of accommodation on campus was one of the challenges facing UI, expressed delight that private investors were coming to play key role in this regard, stressing that ‘this is a clear manifestation of an ideal relationship between town and gown’.
While commending the Chairman of Jad hostel, who is also an alumnus of the university, Mr. Yemi Abei for his bold step, the VC noted that if the ex-student had left UI with terrible experiences, he would probably not have bothered to come back to invest in his alma mater, congratulating him on his measure of success.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Hyperch O. A. Ltd, Mr. Yemi Abei had lauded UI for implementing PPP policy which he said encouraged private investors to put their money in the education sector, pointing out that many universities in the country have yet to follow UI’s model.
“We are here to establish a 200 roomed world-class Hostel that the students will really enjoy. I finished from UI and I want to leverage my past experience to put in place a student-friendly hostel that will give value for money”, he said.
LAUTECH ownership: Oyo to pay N8 billion to Osun in 3 years as asset sharing agreement
Oyo state government has approved the payment of the sum of N8 billion to Osun State government as an asset sharing agreement, a follow-up to the earlier agreement reached between Oyo and Osun state governments on the ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).
The approval, which was conveyed by the Commissioner for Education, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye, would be paid in three installments spread over a period of three years.
According to a statement signed by Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, the Commissioner for Education, Olaleye disclosed this while briefing journalists shortly after the Executive Council meeting held at the Governor’s Office.
“As a follow-up to the agreement reached with the Osun State government on the issue of sole ownership of LAUTECH, the Executive Council of Oyo State approved today the payment of the sum of N8 billion to Osun State government. It will be paid over a period of three years.
“The breakdown of the payment goes as follows: one (1) billion Naira will be paid in January 2021 and another one (1) billion Naira will be paid in December 2021. Three (3) billion Naira will be paid in 2022 and the last three (3) will be paid in 2023. This was the decision of the council today”, the commissioner explained.
School Resumption Remains January 18th – FG Insists
Despite fears over the surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the federal government has insisted that the January 18th resumption date for schools in the country remains intact.
The Federal Ministry of Education, in a statement issued on Thursday by its Director, Press and Public Relations, Ben Bem Goong submitted, “After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including State Governors, Commissioners of Education, Proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain”.
Meanwhile, the Ministry explained that all schools and parents must ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing among others.
The ministry continued, “These measures which are to ensure safe reopening of schools for academic activities will be subject to constant review as we urge teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance”.
It will be recalled that earlier in the week, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had hinted that it would review the resumption date (January 18th, 2020) for learning institutions in the country, citing the rising COVID-19 infections in Africa’s most populous nation.
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