Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said that if he is elected as president he will put an end to the persistent strike by Nigerian university lecturers on his first day in office.
He said he is aghast that at present, students across the nation are not being educated due to the ASUU strike caused by an unresolved debate of about N60 billion.
“If I get the job I am seeking, my first task on day one – along with naming my cabinet – will be to end this disgraceful strike and get our students back to their studies,” he said.
Atiku said he will prioritize education above all and he intends to increase the budgetary allocation to education from the current 7 per cent to not less than 20 per cent.
“I recognise the value education can bring to the individual and the nation. But even more than that, I want every child in Nigeria to have the opportunities I had,” he said.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) industrial strike has become recurrent over the years. The strike actions are usually as a result of the federal government not responding to the lecturers’ demands at the time they ask for it.
The union’s first strike action since Nigeria returned to democracy was in 1999 under the former president Olusegun Obasanjo, with Atiku as the vice president, and it lasted five months before it was called off.
In 2001, ASUU embarked on another strike action that lasted three months. The lecturers also embarked on strike in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2017 and the latest which started on 4th November 2018 is still ongoing.
The recent strike started following the demands of the staff union for the implementation of previous agreements with the government for improved funding of universities.
Recently both Malam Adamu Adamu and Dr. Chis Ngige, the ministers of Education and Labour respectively have announced that the government has provided some money to meet the demands of the striking lecturers.
However, the president of the union Biodun Ogunyemi has described the government’s offer on the outstanding revitalization fund of N1.1 trillion as tokenism, and said ASUU members insisted that government should release at least a tranche of N220 billion spread over four quarters of 2019. fffffffffffffff