…VP Osinbajo appeals to ASUU, others to embrace dialogue***
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Federal Government to immediately attend to the industrial action embarked upon by lecturers in public universities to halt an imminent collapse of Nigeria’s education sector.
The party made the call in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja on Sunday to mark the 2022 International Workers’ Day.
Also read: NLC seeks FG intervention in ASUU strike
Ologunagba said that inaction towards the welfare of workers had continued to dislocate the nation’s social order and cripple its major productive sectors with grave negative ripple effects on millions of families and the nation at large.
Ologunagba added that general stagnation on issues of the welfare of workers reflected the ugly reality in the nation, including the closure of public universities.
He, however, commended Nigerian Workers for their patriotism, patience and determination towards nation-building in spite of the asphyxiating environment, describing workers as real drivers of Nigeria’s life.
Ologunagba said that the workers as real drivers of Nigeria’s national life represent the Nigerian resilient spirit and fight for survival in the citizens’ resolve to move the nation forward in spite of the challenges.
He called on the workers and indeed all Nigerians to remain calm and keep hope alive as the PDP takes strong steps to democratically return to power in 2023 to rescue and rebuild the nation.
In another development, the Federal Government has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions in tertiary institutions that are currently on strike to embrace dialogue.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, made the appeal during the 2022 International Workers Day celebration on Sunday in Abuja with the theme, `Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria’’.
The newsmen report that ASUU and other unions in the Education sector had embarked on a nationwide warning strike to press home their members’ demands.
The lecturers’ demands included funding for the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, and University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), among others.
Osinbajo said that the federal government was not unmindful of the ongoing strike in public universities and also the anxieties of students and their parents and the thoughts of an uncertain future.
“We are not unmindful of the anxieties of our children and their parents who are plagued by thoughts of an uncertain future as they stay home because their universities have been shut by industrial action.
“I appeal to ASUU and the broader labour community to seek the path of dialogue,’’ he said.
The vice president, however, noted that disagreement and debate have always been part of the relationship between labour and the government.
He added that, even as we disagree today, we must not do so as mortal adversaries but as members of the same progressive family.
According to him, we both want the same thing – a country that works for all and offers each citizen a fair deal – even if occasionally we differ on how to achieve this goal.
“But at all times, we have through dialogue found a path forward.
It is in this spirit that I call on ASUU to embrace dialogue with the Government.
“I call on the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to help facilitate a resolution of this dispute through dialogue,’’ he said.
Osinbajo added, “I believe that we can find a path forward in good faith.
And this is what we will do.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, also urged organised Labour to continue to eliminate actions inimical to the quest for good governance and development in the country.
Ngige appealed to labour to embrace acclaimed institutions of consensus building in times of differing opinions, rather than debilitating actions that lead to complications.
He said such complications include loss of man-days and decreased productivity that threatens the existence of the enterprise and results in job losses.
He, however, frowned at the situation where strikes are always the first option considered by the unions in pressing home their demands.
The minister noted that the rights emanating from employment relationships are reciprocal, adding that the government in addition to being the “competent authority‘’ in tripartism, is also an employer,’’ he said.