ASUU Strike 2013 Update: Strike Not Over, Wike Calls Union’s Demands ‘Outrageous’
The ASUU strike in 2013 continues, and the latest update is that the strike is not over as was predicted over the weekend.
But the end is called into question now as it seems the federal government and the union haven’t actually met yet. The meeting was supposed to happen after union leadership voted to end the strike on Saturday.
The vote, however, included three conditions that the federal government must meet in order for the strike to get called off.
Instead of meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan as planned, the union delivered a letter outlining the three conditions to Minister for Education Nyesom Wike. It’s unclear why the meeting didn’t happen.
Wike is not happy with the union’s demands.
“I will have to see Mr. President to see how the government can go about this development, which is not favorable,” said Wike, reported the Nation, making the first comments by a federal official about the latest developments. “It is outrageous. ASUU is now making fresh demands and this will definitely need further discussion.”
As reported previously, besides the three conditions, the union wants legal binding from the president before ending the strike.
“ASUU leaders are not ready to take anything for granted this time around; every clause in whatever is agreed upon will have legal effect on the two parties,” a source told the Nation.
One of the three conditions conditions is a written commitment from President Jonathan that the federal government will commit N225billion annually to the funding of universities for the next four years.
That’s not as simple as it sounds, a presidency source said.
“The government is also weighing options on the demands of ASUU especially the aspects relating to financial commitment. You know, what the government spends has to depend on what it earns. If there is a binding financial commitment and there is global recession in the oil industry, will government now look for money at all cost?
“This is one grey area of the pending agreement on which the two parties must reach a compromise.”
Another union source said that the government aims to trick the union into calling off the strike while not implementing the 2009 agreement, which is supposedly what the strike is over. The source said that the union may continue the strike into 2014.
Dr. Adeyemi Daramola, a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Lagos, supported that claim, telling the Nigerian Tribune that the union plans to strike until mid-January 2014.
That’s surely shocking news if it is true, because it has appeared numerous times over the past few weeks that the strike would be called off any day. The majority of the union leaders voted to end the strike at campuses across the country following a meeting with President Jonathan and government officials.
The National Executive Council was scheduled for November 20, and the union appeared ready to end the strike at the meeting and make it official the next day.
But former union president Festus Iyayi suddenly died from a car accident on his way to the NEC meeting, so the meeting was postponed.
People weren’t sure when the meeting would be rescheduled, and the union remained secretive about its actions after the crash. However, it emerged that a two-day meeting “secret meeting” was held over the weekend, at which the union leadership voted to end the strike but also to demand the three conditions which has upset government officials.