Says justice has not been done to Iyayi
One year after university lecturers under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) returned to classes after a protracted strike, the Federal Government has been accused of reneging on the agreement she reached with the lecturers before calling off of the strike.
Speaking during a press briefing yesterday for one-year remembrance of the killing of former ASUU leader, Professor Festus Iyayi by the convoy of Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada (retd), ASUU noted that one year after the agreement with the Federal Government, no government-owned university had received a dime from the N200 billion government said it had set aside for the revitalization of university education in the current year.
Chairman, Nnamdi Azikiwe University branch of ASUU, Comrade Dennis Aribidor, who briefed journalists alongside members of his executive and some senior members of the chapter lamented that the issues that prompted the strike were yet to be addressed in the universities and government had as usual, kept mum.
He said, “It seems Iyayi’s death opened the pandora box that suggests that ASUU’s relationship with government might seem irreconcilably hostile. While he fought for a just cause, ASUU is presently skeptical that he died in vain especially since the contention over honouring the ASUU-FG 2009 agreement, which cut his life short, is still far-fetched. This position is based on some hard truths,” he noted. “No government-owned university (federal or state) has received funding to improve the teaching and learning conditions from the N200 billion earmarked for revitalizing of university education in 2014. No university (federal or state) has received money to pay arrears of earned allowances owed staff from 2009 – 2013 as agreed with government, apart from the 30 per cent released during the strike.”
Aribodor spoke further, “the most fundamental problem bedeviling the educational system in Nigeria is that it is located within a philosophical and political economic system which emphasizes personal self-enrichment and individual aggrandizement instead of emphasizing knowledge acquisition geared towards public good and national development.”
“Nigerian educational system is characterized by chronic underfunding, bad leadership, infrastructural decay, poor conditions of learning and service, promotion of mediocrity, shortage of personnel and entrenchment of orthodoxy, parochialism and chauvinism,” he stressed.
The ASUU boss insisted that ASUU would continue to reject “the ongoing systematic privatisation of education and selling off of public educational institutions. Education is a public good and should not be left in the hands of private individuals who are driven solely by profit motives.”
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Owerri Zone of ASUU, Professor Ike Odumegwu accused government of frustrating efforts by ASUU to ensure that the killers of Iyayi were brought to book, saying, “The Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, took note of how Iyayi was killed, but nothing has been done. Our lawyers took the matter to court and it has been one adjournment after another.”