Richard Ginika Izuora
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, October 12, pleaded with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU to call off the industrial action for the sake of the students.
Lawan made the call during a meeting in Abuja between the leadership of the ASUU and some Principal Officers of the Senate on issues relating to agreements with the Federal Government.
Lawan said both government and ASUU have to find common grounds for universities to open; and offer the kind of services expected of the universities in the country.
“We really don’t need this kind of situation where our universities are shut; our children are the main victims of this.
“We cannot afford as a country to continue to have this kind of crisis.
“This may explain why those that can afford will normally go out of the country; even to West African countries like Ghana to receive University education.
“I believe our universities can be better; but they are better than most of these universities that our children go to in other African countries particularly.
“The idea is to find out how we can resolve the outstanding issues; and it is supposed to be give and take.
“Government cannot have all its way; and I believe ASUU should not expect to get everything it has asked for.
“Our situation today is something that everyone knows what it is.
“It is a very stressful economic situation; and I believe that the government is supposed to even within this type of situation play its own part.
“Its obligations must be redeemed within the confines of what we can do.
“But ASUU, I know is prepared to meet government halfway somehow; because I am sure we have joint determination to resolve these issues.
“The National Assembly is the best place to go; because while on one hand, we are a government; on another hand we represent the people, we represent you.
“We represent the families and the children who are now at home because the universities are shut.
”I think as parliamentarians we have to tell the truth as it is no matter how bitter it may be at the right place; and at the right time. When we sign agreements we must do so with the full intention of implementing them.
“And when we negotiate, we must negotiate in such a manner; that the final product will be implementable.
“This is to say that we have to accommodate each other; with the government doing what it is supposed to do; and ASUU being the body of our lecturers; it stands to protect its members; but everybody else in the country must ensure that our universities remain open and functioning.”