The All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] received with interest the news that the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities [SSANU], Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions [NASU] and the National Association of Academic Technologists [NAAT] will commence a 7-day warning strike today, because of the Federal Governments’ refusal to implement the 2009 agreements between them and Government; and the non-inclusion of funds for the payment of the Earned Allowances in the 2013 budget, as well as the findings of the report of a committee of NEEDS Assessment in the universities. Considering that the nation’s education sector is fast dwindling before our very eyes as a result of lack of adequate infrastructure and qualified manpower, and insufficient motivation for staff, we consider it outrageous that the Federal Government would still dilly-dally on issues concerning this critical sector.
Recently, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigeria [CVC] reported that Nigerians spend an average of 500 million dollars annually on European and American universities. We are worried that this PDP government seems not to care that people are losing faith in Nigerian universities, the breeding ground of the country’s future leaders. We are also worried that the government appears ignorant of the effect of this on the image of the country in the comity of nations. We are most worried that it is blind to the effect strikes, academic disruptions, and unstable school calendar have on security and social equilibrium of the nation.
Last week, the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] opposed additional N9billion expenditure on Vice President Namadi Sambo’s official residence which is being built. If additional money could be demanded for one man’s house, why can’t additional money be added for the upgrading of the country’s education infrastructure and the welfare of its staff, which affects millions of our youths and touches the fundamental nucleus of the nation’s development?
The ANPP calls on the Federal Government to go back to the negotiating table with the University staff, and not only fulfill the promises it made to them in 2009, but effect more creative engagement strategies with these University personnel in order to forestall future strikes for the benefit of our children and the good of the land. As a party we believe that a government can only earn the confidence of the people it governs when it is seen to have its priorities right and is sincere in prudent administration of the people’s scarce resources.
Hon Emma Eneukwu
National Publicity Secretary