By Chinyere Nwachukwu
Lagos – Education stakeholders have continued to react to the suspension of the three-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASUU embarked on strike on Nov. 4, 2018, demanding revitalisation of universities, Academic Earned Allowance and other issues.
It also protested non-implementation of agreements it entered into with the Federal Government in 2009 and 2017.
ASUU suspended the strike after a meeting with representatives of the Federal Government, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, on Thursday in Abuja announced the suspension of the strike after government’s proposals to address all outstanding issues in the 2009 MoU and the 2017 MoA were signed.
Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Services, University of Lagos, described the strike suspension as heart-warming and a step in the right direction.
According to her, the university management and the lecturers are happy to be back to academic tasks.
She said that no right-thinking person would be happy to stay away from his duty post unnecessarily, especially when such a post had to do with educational and other life-impacting processes.
The don said that there was an urgent need to make up for the lost time.
“I want to say we are happy we have come out of it. It feels good to be back to continue doing what we know how to do best.
“We actually hoped the strike did not have to last as long as it did, and we sincerely hope that this recent agreement will not have to be reneged upon again.
“Whatever that has been agreed on must have to be upheld in order to avoid a reoccurence.
“Having said this, however, I will like to call on all stakeholders and the general public to join hands with these universities in developmental efforts,” she said.
She told NAN that the university system should not always rely on strikes to get things done.
“My belief is that we should stop sending our kids to other parts of the world where we feel things have worked out fine.
“All of us must be part of ensuring that we do not keep shutting our universities because things that ought to be done are not being done the way they should,” Ogunsola said.
The deputy vice chancellor also urged students to return to school as quickly as possible.
She said that students should take their studies more serious in order to make up for lost time.
Chief Adeola Ogunbanjo, Second Deputy National President, National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, lauded ASUU and the Federal Government for reaching an agreement.
He said that ASUU had made huge efforts to reposition the education sector, and urged the union to give its best in impacting students.
He added that the union must work with the government in tackling issues without necessarily embarking on strike, noting that there were many issues jostling for government’s attention.
Ogunbanjo also urged the Federal Government to strive to live up to its responsibilities and avoid reneging on agreements.
“We must not wait for things to get bad before taking actions.
“I want to say that there is need for government to abide religiously on this agreement. It is now a covenant.
“If it (government does, it therefore, means it wants parents to take over the matter,” he said.
Prof. Chinwe Obaji, a former Minister of Education, also lauded the parties for reaching a common ground, describing it as a welcome development.
She urged the lecturers to live up to their responsibilities by finding a way of making up for the lost time.
“Now that the strike is over, lecturers must hit the ground running. They should work out modalities with these students because three months out of school is a long time,” Obaji said.