ASUU Trying to Subvert My Govt, Says Jonathan…As Ex-Convict Alamieyeseigha Pleads for ASUU
President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of taking their on-going strike declared since July 1 over the non implementation of a 2009 agreement with the federal government beyond a trade dispute to a subversive action.
Jonathan stated this while responding to a plea by the former governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha that the December 4 deadline given to ASUU to call off the strike or be sacked should be reviewed. They spoke at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa state caucus meeting at the Government House, Yenagoa, presided over by the state party Chairman, Col Samuel Inokoba (rtd).
Alamieyeseigha had pleaded with Jonathan that the December 4 ultimatum given to the lecturers coincides with the same date already fixed for the burial of former ASUU president Professor Festus Iyayi, who died in an accident in Kogi State on November 12th, enroute Kano where he was travelling for the Union’s National Executive Council (NEC), meant to deliberate on the latest government’s offer after meeting with President Jonathan on November 4th. He asked that such will appear insensitive to the painful death of Iyayi and as such the deadline be extended.
In his response, Jonathan expressed anger that he held a meeting with ASUU leadership for hours, which is the longest he has ever held in his political life, and wondered why they remained adamant till date. According to him “What ASUU is doing is no longer trade union. I have intervened in other labour issues before now, once I invite them they respond and after the meeting they take decision and call off the strike. Atimes we don’t even give them a long notice unlike in the case of ASUU that were given four days notice before the meeting. As you are meeting to resolve trade disputes, you expect the trade unions to get their officials ready, what was expected having met with the highest authority in the land for long hours, was for ASUU to immediately issue statement within 12 or latest 24 hours to state their position whether they were accepting government’s offer or not. And if they are not accepting they state the reason why.
“But despite the fact that I had the longest meeting with ASUU in my political history, we did not start that meeting until around 2 p.m. and the meeting ended the next day in the early hours of the morning. As far as the government of Nigeria was concern all the critical people that should be in a meeting were there, so what else do they want?
“After that they didn’t meet until one week, despite the fact that you met with the highest authority. It was unfortunate one of them, Prof. Iyayi died. The way ASUU has conducted the matter shows they were extreme and when iyayi died they now said the strike was now indefinite, our children have been at home for over five months.
“We didn’t give them ultimatum it was the Committee of Vice Chancellors that took that decision, the supervising minister of education only passed on the decision. What ASUU is doing is no longer trade dispute but subversive action.
“But like you rightly noted so that we will not be perceived to be insensitive, we will consult on the deadline.” The Federal Government had on Thursday given ASUU one week ultimatum to call off strike or consider themselves sacked”.
While praising the PDP leadership in the state for the unity in its fold, President Jonathan declared that “Any state the PDP is united, it will win elections. I thank you for the unity in the state. I’m happy that the division in other states PDP is not here. The unity is not automatic because as vice president I knew what I passed through.
“This is the first time this dichotomy among Abuja politicians and stakeholders in the state has been removed, and I’m grateful and I am happy the governor is leading it. I’m glad that that deadly virus has been killed. I’m against imposition though I am a leader of the party, but I believe I need to negotiate and consult for any appointment. If you disconnect from the grassroot then you are gone as a politician and I thank you (the governor) for making this happen”.
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