Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, announced last night that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, will end its seven-month strike that has kept the citadel of learning closed.
The speaker stated that the deal had been sealed after emerging from a meeting with the ASUU leadership led by its President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, called at the request of the lawmakers.
It will be remembered that the House leadership, led by Gbajabiamila, held four separate meetings with the academic body in the last four weeks to resolve the lingering, thorny issues with the government.
The Speaker led a delegation of lawmakers to the Presidential Villa last week, where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari to submit the report of the meeting with ASUU.
Gbajabiamila stated that President Muhammadu Buhari would make a statement on the “No Work, No Pay” issue, which is a major source of contention, on Tuesday, October 11.
He stated that the government and ASUU had agreed to change their respective positions in the best interests of the students and the country as a whole.
The meeting was held behind closed doors.
He said, “We have met briefly in the Speaker’s office and looked at all the issues. He has briefed us. We have taken note of what they have covered. As you know, in my union, we operate bottom-up. We don’t take decisions on their behalf without having their consent. We have agreed that between now and tomorrow, we are going to get some documents signed that we can take to our members. We will do that as quickly as possible in the interest of all of us, Nigerians and the students so that this thing can be resolved as quickly as possible.
“From what we have seen today, for the first time since this our action started, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel, because this is the first time we are having such a thing. We hope this time around there will not be any attempt by anybody or any group to create something that will also make us run into anything again. We do hope that this will be the final in the interest of our children.
“Our struggle – thank God the National Assembly is joining us – is for the educational system in Nigeria. We want to have a university in Nigeria where we should be earning money from students all over the world and paying in hard currency as we are paying (overseas) so that our system will grow. That is why we are in this struggle. We want to have a university where the remuneration is enough to attract lecturers from all over the world, just as our people are going outside.
“As we speak today, we are having problems but we have not noticed it. We are creating so many universities but there are no qualified people to teach in those universities because the good ones are leaving. We just put people there, which is not good enough. We must create the environment. We are the Giant of Africa and we must act as the Giant of Africa. We should have people coming in – in droves – not people leaving. That is why we are here
“I want to sincerely thank you for this resilience, your intervention. Please, let all of our work together and let us put a beautiful end to this thing we have started so that every Nigerian will be proud that we have universities we can be proud of. We thank you. We also extend our appreciation to the President for intervening. We do hope that this is the last one.
“I want to appeal that in future, we should not allow strikes to linger. A strike should not go beyond two days. If the way the National Assembly has intervened if we had done that long ago, from the beginning, to be allowed to do that all along, or if those in charge of Labour and Education had done exactly this, we would not be where we are today. We would not have stayed more than two or three weeks in this strike”, Osodeke said.