The President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, during the Live Media chat yesterday, boldly described the strike as unfortunate declaring that that the action has serious political undertone.
“Why should a state university lecturer go on strike for a federal problem?” the president queried.
President Goodluck noted that the strike had political colouration giving the commitment of the current administration to address the challenges of university education and the refusal of ASUU to call off the strike despite the fact that government has conceded to many of their demands in the 2009 agreement.
He therefore stressed that there are some items in the agreement that are implementable such as the demand for transfer of government landed property to universities.
Regarding the earned allowances, Mr President explained are supposed to be paid from the internally generated revenues of the universities.
He added that as part of government commitment to transform the nation’s universities, he set up Needs Assessment Committee who visited all public universities in Nigeria to take inventory of the institutions.
He regretted that ASUU has failed to recognize government in this direction, insisting that there have been many strikes in this country and those strikes were without such commitment as demonstrated his government.
Despite the fact that he stated that his commitment is totally to make changes, he also hinted at the need to revisit our labour laws because of the excesses of the trade unions.
“We will begin to look at the labour laws because of the excesses of labour unions,” he said.
President Jonathan used the occasion to call on the Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off the strike in the interest of Nigeria and the children.