ASUU vs FG Face-off: Just Before You Nail the NANS President By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
A lot had been said by many Nigerians about the refusal of Yinka Gbadebo, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to declare his open support for the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in relation to the ongoing industrial action by same which has consequentially paralyzed academic activities in all public universities (both state and federal) across the nation since June, 2013.
The truth about the matter is as below:
When the ongoing ASUU strike clocked 17 days old, the Yinka Gbadebo-led National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) wrote two separate letters to the Chairman of Federal Government’s NEEDs, Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State and Dr. Issa Fagge, President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) respectively; demanding information from them on why Nigerian Students had to be at the receiving end, as they have been confined to perpetual home-stay; and in furtherance, asking for the steps being taken to get their disagreement resolved.
A week later, Governor Suswan replied Yinka Gbadebo’s letter. Two weeks after, Governor Suswan invited Yinka Gbadebo to Markudi, the capital city of Benue State and briefed him exclusively on the matter.
Country people let me inform you authoritatively that apart from the fact that ASUU President has not deemed it fit to respond to the letter addressed to him by Yinka Gbadebo till date; it should be noted that neither the leadership nor the body of ASUU consulted NANS before starting-off the ongoing strike.
However, even when it is not the right of NANS to be consulted by ASUU before taking decisions or embarking on its cause(s), we feel it would have been a privilege and more honourable to partner with the Students leadership (NANS) in the process of executing its demands especially on the one of the present day.
The meeting with Governor Suswan afforded Yinka Gbadebo and his team the opportunity to be exclusively briefed and also get a copy of the 2009 agreement signed by ASUU and FG. As I write, I have equally read the signed agreement.
For your necessary information, the agreement is hereby divided into two:
1. Primary Demand
2. Secondary Demand
The primary demand is the Earned Allowance being demanded by ASUU for her members.
The secondary demand are those which encapsulate: conducive environment for teaching and learning, total implementation of UNESCO recommendation on education, etc.
After this briefing by Governor Suswan, Yinka Gbadebo, despite not being consulted nor briefed by ASUU, declares his support for same ASUU with respect to the secondary demands but maintained anonymity on the primary demands until he’s being fully briefed by the President of ASUU.
Meanwhile, the analyses done by Governor Suswan on the primary demand of ASUU goes as thus:
1. That the N87billion being demanded by ASUU was not part of the 2009 agreement,
2. That the N87billion was inserted into the agreement by ASUU on february this year,
3. That the 2013 budget had already been sent to national assembly before the primary demand was made by ASUU,
4. That Federal Government has appealed to ASUU to wait for her primary demand to be incorporated into the 2014 budget,
5. That Federal Government, through the support of some corporate organizations, has offered to pay ASUU N30billion while the rest of the demand will be incorporated into the 2014 appropriation,
6. That FG has discovered that not all Lecturers are entitled to the earned allowance being demanded by ASUU,
7. That FG has told ASUU members to go for verification exercise in order to know the actual number of those entitled to the earned allowance,
8. That ASUU has refused to go for verification, insisting that all Lecturers, irrespective of the manner with which they were employed must be paid.
On the secondary demands, the analyses of governor Gabriel Suswan posited:
That the FG, through the support of some corporate organizations, has began the disbursement of the sum of N100billion to public universities nationwide including state owned ones.
However, knowing-fully well that Governor Suswan is a politician, that could be dashing out humbug to wheedle, coax and rigmarole the common-sense of Nigerian Students, hence, Yinka Gbadebo wrote to Dr. fagge, the President of ASUU in order to know his own side of the story.
Dear compatriots, let me state authoritatively that as I write, the letter Yinka Gbadebo wrote to Dr. Fagge has not been replied.
Arising from the above, i wish to ask these following questions:
1. Why are most Nigerian Students blaming Yinka Gbadebo for not supporting ASUU without hearing his side of the story?
2.Was Yinka Gbadebo the cause of ASUU strike?
3. Finally, when will Nigerians start to face reality and stop joining bandwagons?
Let me also use this medium to chastise Staff Unions in our tertiary institutions for being hypocritical to the plight, yearning and aspirations of Nigerian Students. A public affairs commentator, SEun Aladesuru, in his article titled: ASUU STRIKE and “NANS” UNBEKNOWNST COURSE SOLIDARITY made the underneath affirmation:
” During the lasted academic staff union of polytechnic (ASUP) and the ongoing ASUU strike respectively, its disheartening and lugubrious to see Nigerian Students taking to the street protesting in favour of the “Pressure Groups” who are only Self-Centred (ASUP, ASUU) against the Got.
Really, d protest would be Student favoured in one-side but I strongly know that the ongoing strike is 99% Lecturers sided.
Do you want to tell me that the 87billion the Union is demanding for is to Subsidize the School Fee of Nigerian Students? Is the 87 billion MOSTLY to cater for different Allowances of the Lecturers?
Bitter but Harsh Truth.!
The Ongoing ASUU strike is no-lecturer fight but UNION’s struggle in totality that is the simple reason why No lecturer suffers the action at the end of the industrial dispute.
If that be, why hasn’t it be possible for this Pressure group to dim it fit to support any reasonable or tenable struggle of Nigerian Students in our campuses?
If Nigerian Students think as I do, they will flash back and reason with these questions:
1) SCHOOL FEE INCREAMENT: When students protest against this, have you ever heard/seen ASUP, ASUU e.t.c showing support.?
2) INCREAMENT IN ACCOMODATION FEE: What has been the say of the Staff” union about this.?
3) DELAY IN RESULT: Are they concerned.?
4) DELAY IN FINAL YEAR RESULT: Are they ever there to echo Your voice.?
5) HANDOUT FEE: Are they no the masquerade behind it.?
6)PROSCRIBESION OF STUDENTs’ BODY IN SCHOOLS: Is that not for their own betterment.?
7. Expulsion and rustication of our comrades, are they not the one recommending that?
8. Raping of our female students at will: are they not involved?
9. Cruel, barbaric and irresponsible shooting of Nigerian Students by the men of the Nigeria Police during protest: what has been their take? None!
Supporting the Union might be to ensure the resumption of school & not mainly to see that the agreement is honoured bcos, with the aforementioned I doubt it the Union really deserves it. Nigerian Students should wise up!”, He opined.
I urge every Nigerians to prevail on ASUU National Leaders, to, for the sake of the future leaders of our nation’s tomorrow; whose destinies are being ruined and breakthrough delayed by the ongoing strike, to please respond to the letter written to the ASUU National leadership by NANS in order to know the decision and actions to be taken.
NANS of today is different from the former erratic NANS(s) of questionable history. It should be noted that for any struggle or radical action to be embarked upon by our present day leadership, especially on issues of national importance like the one being discussed here, such must be logically pursed; it must be conceptually and popularly executed.
Conventionally, i wish to opine without any form of bias that the FG seemed to be right considering the information available to us, while ASUU seemed to be hiding so much skeletons subject to critical explanation. This notion will continue but may turn contrary, only when Dr. Fagge responds to the letter written to him by Yinka Gbadebo for the purpose of clarity, supremacy of truth, equity and justice on the ongoing confusion.
Finally, I wish to inform ASUU that using the media to pronounce Yinka Gbadebo impeached is not the solution to get the ongoing strike suspended because NANS did not cause the strike and the sponsorship of renegades and reactionaries to discredit Yinka Gbadebo in the media by obliterating him of his excellent performance is not the solution also; neither will it demoralize the unflinching support of the over 15 million Nigerian students population for their ever formidable president of NANS.
We endear Prof. Fagge to purge himself of sentiments and unrealistic pursuit of unbridled vendetta against Yinka Gbadebo.
Meanwhile, while saluting the courage, doggedness and intellectual vibrancy of Dr. Issa Fagge and his team; i wish to emphasize that it is high time ASUU and NANS worked together considering the plight of the innocent Nigerian Students who have been confined to their various houses as a result of this ongoing tuzzle.
To start with, NANS hereby demand that it should be briefed by ASUU on her primary demand immediately!
Was Governor Gabriel Suswan lying in his brief to NANS? Or was he correct?
Over to ASUU!
Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, media/editorial consultant to Yinka Gbadebo writes from Magodo, Lagos.
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