The University of Jos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), who voted against ending the four-months-old strike, says it will resume classes if directed by the national body.
“Yes, the local ASUU chapter voted 159 to 88 against ending the strike at its congress on Monday, but we shall abide by any decision taken by the national body on Wednesday,’’ its Chairman, Dr. David Jangdam, said in Jos on Tuesday.
ASUU’s central body is expected to meet in Kano on Wednesday to take a final decision on whether or not to end the strike after collating resolutions from various local branches who considered the offer by President Goodluck Jonathan during their congresses on Monday.
Jonathan had made the offers toward ending the strike during a meeting with the striking lecturers who are seeking better funding for the universities and improved welfare packages for the teaching staff.
Jangdam said in Jos that the decision of the national body was final and binding on all local chapters.
“Even the strike was not supported by all the universities. Many local chapters of ASUU opposed it, but majority wanted it and we embarked on it,’’ he said.
He explained that ASUU’s decisions were usually from bottom-to-top with representatives at meetings having to revert to the local branches before any decision would be taken.
Jangdam, however, rejected suggestions that the local branch’s position was influenced by the internal disagreement with management over the conduct of the post-UTME examinations during the strike.
ASUU had condemned that action, and declared that the examinations were “illegal, wasteful and of no effect’’.
“At the congress meeting yesterday, we made it clear that no local issue will be discussed.
“Our focus was solely on the issues related to the national strike. Other local disagreements shall be tackled locally and therefore had no effect on our stance yesterday,’’ he said.
He said that the lecturers voted against ending the strike because they did not trust the federal government to fulfill its promises and therefore wanted something concrete to be seen on ground before resuming classes.
Jangdam also rejected suggestions that the lecturers had not been fair to university education in the country.
“I think the questions should be if the system is fair to the educational sector; Nigerians should ask the leaders why the educational sector is usually the least in their priorities,’’ he said.
He said that it was wrong for Nigerians to blame the lecturers for the bad situation in the universities, saying that the search light should rather be on those in authority that decided what should go to the ivory towers at budget planning sessions.
“Sometimes, I find the situation a bit perplexing; I wonder why should Nigerians complain about poor quality of graduates and heap the blame on the universities and the lecturers even when they know that not much attention is paid to the educational sector?,’’ he asked. (NAN)
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