By Steve Oni, Ilorin
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Alhaji Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi, has called for the immediate resolution of the disagreements that culminated in the lingering industrial action of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
He urged the federal government and ASUU leadership to end the protracted strike that had confined students in public universities to their homes in the last seven months.
In an interview in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, Abdullahi, who is a member of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), lamented that the face off between the government and varsity lecturers had dragged too long without amicable resolution of issues in contention.
Recall that ASUU had in March this year embarked on strike action to protest the enrolment of university teachers on Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) through which their salaries would be paid henceforth like other civil servants in the employment of the federal government as well as non-implementation of certain agreements reached with the government in the past.
ASUU developed University Transparent Accountability System (UTAS) as an alternative platform to IPPIS for payment of salaries and allowances of varsity teachers, warning that application of the government’s payment window for university lecturers would undermine the autonomy of the universities.
But the APC stalwart asked the government and ASUU to opt for a common ground and enter into compromise with a view to ending the industrial action timely.
“I think both the government and ASUU should please, in the interest of our young men and women, find a common ground. This is one thing (strike) getting too far. Like people say, when two elephants fight, it is the grass under them that suffers. We do not have any future more than these our young men and women. We can’t afford to play with their future. Both the government and ASUU can say they are right on their positions, but they should please come together and find a common ground. It is not impossible.
“Sometimes, you give up certain things so that certain things can happen. For the sake of our children, both the government and ASUU should find a fast way forward in this so that schools can open
“There should be nothing that should be cast a stone. The idea of finding a common ground means a compromise of sort. Government cannot say it is closing its eyes and the children should continue to wander around. They are our own children, we must take responsibility.
“On the other side too, ASUU must recognize that they are employees. They are not an entity to themselves. And that is why I said both sides should try and find some common ground in this. It is not impossible. You cannot stay on your own side of the divide and say I’m not moving. They should for the interest of the students. Because there is no need for universities if there are no students”, Abdullahi said.