Dr. Nasir Fagge,the National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is pleading to Nigerians to join hands to plead with the Federal Government to honour their agreement that has ASUU since 2009.
Fagge, speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on a telephone interview in Lagos, says instead of pleading with ASUU to call off their strike which began 1st July 2013, Nigerians should rather plead with the Federal Govt to honour the 2009 agreement.
“Why is it that when issues like this come up, Nigerians will start begging ASUU to call off strike in the interest of the children and the country in general, rather than prevailing on government.
“I want to state here that we have a lot of respect and appreciate the concern of all Nigerians who have prevailed on ASUU to reconsider its stand and call off the strike.
“But sincerely, I think if people really care about this country and want to move it forward, they should refocus their thinking to government and prevail on them to implement the agreement and then we can start from there.
“The National Assembly had in the time past appealed to us to bend over and we did in the interest of the country– while negotiations lasted– but look at what is happening now!” He said.
The ASUU President also made reference back to 2011 that when the Union embarked on a strike because of the same unimplemented 2009 agreement, that it were the same concerned Nigerians that pleaded with ASUU with lots of assurance that the signed agreement would be implemented immediately.
He further said that it was the sake of the respect the Union has for these concerned Nigerians and also to prevent a total collapse of the educational system that made them call off the strike that year, and ever since, the FG has not even worked towards the implementation of the agreement.
“We shall no longer be coerced into calling off the strike and returning to classes because the last time we had such a strike was in 2011– when I was the Vice-President– and two years after, we have embarked on another strike over the same issue.
“I think as a nation, there is need for us to try and do the right thing by way of extracting commitment from our leaders because we cannot continue this way.
“Our system is getting bad every day to the extent that when we go out with our certificates, it no longer commands the respect it ought to, and that is why we must do all we could to re-engineer the system.
“You know that if products from our universities continue to study with little or non-existent infrastructure in place, as it is obtained today, they will fail to deliver and the entire responsibility falls back on our shoulders, ” Fagge speaks on
According to him, ASUU is committed to producing better graduates that will conribute to a bettter change for national development and growth.
“Everyone knows that our universities cannot compete, even with universities within Africa, let alone those in the larger world.
“Today, we witness brain drain from the system on the part of lecturers, thereby exporting values to other countries’ economy.
“We should ask ourselves why Nigerians before now did so well abroad in different fields of endeavour and these are products from the same system that currently produces graduates who are largely seen as unemployable.
“We must show commitment and be proactive in addressing the rot in our university system, so that at the end of the day, our products will be able to compete favourably with their counterparts in other climes,” he says.
The ASUU chairman further pleads with the FG to implement the 2009 agreement to enhance national development and growth.