The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti Chapter, Dr Kayode Arogundade, on Wednesday, accused the President Muhammadu Buhari of nursing hidden negative agenda for education.
Arogundade, who also named the ministers of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige and Education, Adamu Adamu, as accomplices, said that Nigerians were waiting for the agenda to hatch, calling on the citizenry to force the Federal Government to do the needful for the education sector and university lecturers to avert another round of action.
The ASUU chairman spoke in Ado Ekiti during a protest by ASUU-EKSU members to express displeasure with the Federal Government’s “no-work-no-pay policy and payment of half salary to university lecturers.”
Among inscriptions on the placards of the protesting ASUU-EKSU members are “Only a criminal will support half salary and IPPIS”, “Teachers teach the nation, but Buhari cheats the nation”, and “ASUU-EKSU says government at all levels should prioritise funding of education”.
Arogundade said, “We are expressing our displeasure concerning the Federal Government’s draconian decision of no-work-no-pay introduced by Ngige and sanctioned by the Federal government. Our interest is that we are not casual workers, nobody is paying us wages, what we are getting is salaries”.
According to him, it is criminal for anybody to think of imposing no-work-no-pay to the extent of paying half salary because people decide to agitate for their rights and demands.
He said, “They don’t want the Nigerian educational system to flourish. The educational system today is suffering at the hands of our leaders. Foreign universities are now feeding fat on us. You can imagine how much parents are looking for each year to sponsor their wards to foreign universities.
“I am of the opinion that Ngige, Adamu and Buhari have an agenda that is not known to Nigerians, we are just waiting patiently to see when they will hatch that agenda. If they don’t have agenda, the three of them cannot sleep and be facing the same direction that leads to nowhere. I know the agenda cannot be in the general interest of Nigerians.
“Just Tuesday, President Buhari signed the new wage for the Judiciary, what is it that the academic staff are asking for? It is a living wage, he has signed for others, but he has refused to sign for academic staff. Then the question is – Is it that there is something that the Judiciary is doing for him that the academic staff are not doing?
“Our understanding is that if they have their children around here, they will not be treating Nigerian universities and lecturers this way. The only thing they are doing is that they want to pitch us against the students in a way that we get disillusioned and the students will be discouraged in the educational system.
“We are appealing to all Nigerians to speak to the Federal Government that they should not wait for us to start another round of action. We are getting used to it, you have not paid us for eight months this year, we are not dead, we are still alive, so government should not push us to a state whereby we become so adamant to the extent that we don’t care whatever happens,” he said.