ASUU to Collate Members Views Whether to Accept or Reject the Offer:
Nasir Issa-Fagge – National President, ASUU,
The Academic Staff Union of Universities is set to convene its National Executive Committee this weekend to discuss the offer made to the union by the Federal Government to develop public universities, it was learnt on Wednesday.
ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Faggae after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan which ended in the early hours of Tuesday had told reporters that the union would take back an undisclosed message to the striking lecturers.
The Federal Government had offered to inject N1.1tn into public universities in the next five years.
The Punch gathered that the union had concluded arrangement to hold the meeting to collate the views of members before a final decision would be taken on whether to accept or reject the offer.
Usually, the decision to embark on or to call off strike is taken at the union’s NEC meeting.
It was gathered that the meeting might hold any day between now and next week Friday.
In the hierarchy of ASUU, the zonal coordinators after a meeting of the national officers are to brief the branch chairmen who would consequently call for congress in their respective universities.
But a source who spoke on condition of anonymity said a meeting with the zonal coordinators usually take place two days after a major meeting with the Federal Government because they have to come from the nine zones of the country.
He said, “There is a national strike coordinating committee comprising the national principal officers and the zonal coordinators which is the highest decision-making body. In the country, we have nine zones. After the meeting, the zonal coordinators will brief the branch chairmen who will now call for a congress to brief all members.”
Asked if the strike would be called off soon, the source replied, “It is not a decision that could be taken in a hurry. All members must be carried along. We have a mandate which is very clear – that is the implementation of the 2009 agreement. Anything other than that, they will have to relate to members. The zonal coordinators will collate the decision of the branches and forward them to the national officers.”
A chairman of a local branch of ASUU in a university in the South-West confided in one of our correspondents that the date for the NEC meeting would be communicated to all the chapters on Thursday (today).
Another source said, “Before we embarked on the strike, there was a referendum. The referendum did not emanate from the principal officers but from the branches. Members must be briefed before any final decision could be taken.”
Meanwhile, strong indications emerged on Wednesday that ASUU may soon call off its four-month old strike as the Nigeria Labour Congress described the meeting between President Jonathan and the leadership of the union as the most meaningful since 2009.
The Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Mr. Chris Uyot, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, urged ASUU to explain to its members the offer the Federal Government had made to the striking lecturers in order to arrive at the next line of action.
According to him, since ASUU is an affiliate of the NLC, it is the responsibility of the union to decide on whether to call off the strike or not in accordance with standard labour procedure.
He said, “We simply advise that they carry out meaningful consultation with their members and ensure that whatever was offered was explained in totality to members of ASUU.
“I want to say that since the agreement of 2009 was signed, and of the various negotiations that have taken place, this was the most meaningful of the meetings.
“All discussions were taken aside and the issues in the 2009 agreement were examined, discussed and analyzed in totality.
“Let the ASUU explain in totality the offer that was made to its members. Even the NLC has to explain to the members of the National Executive Council of the Congress before taking decisions in such matters. I can only say that calling off the strike depends on ASUU,” he added.