By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
A clarion call has gone out to the federal government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resolve their differences and enable students to resume academic activities as the current protracted strike was harming the education system.
An International Organization, Dollar Club Exclusive, which made the call urged the government to prioritize education and deploy the necessary funds for a sweeping reform of the education system and revitalization of the universities so as the meet their mandates in the areas of research and innovation.
Its Chairman and former President of Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Jerry Oguzie stated this at the weekend while addressing the press as part of activities to commemorate the burial of the association’s grand patron, Justice Ime Umanah at Nsit Ubium Council of Akwa Ibom State.
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Dr. Oguzie called on the Federal Government to quickly address the issue so that students would go back to school, as according to him, the strike which had lasted for about six months had made students forget what they were taught since they have been at home doing nothing all these while.
He said, “We are perturbed that ASUU has been on strike for the past six months, we are perturbed that our children are no longer in school, we are worried that our children are losing what they know. The FG should address the issue and stop playing politics with that.
“It is only in Nigeria that one will know when he enters the university without knowing when he will graduate. A course that was supposed to run for four or six years would run for six to ten years due to persistent strike action. And its high time government addressed this issue once and for all.
“Then the question should be, how much is even needed to sort ASUU out? You can imagine how much has been spent on frivolities in this country. We read recently how dollars stacked in one room, rotten, was discovered in one part of this country, so what are we talking about?’’
On why ASUU has refused to shift grounds and register with the IPPIS, Dr. Oguzie said that it is only ASUU that is in a better position to say what is good for their members, stressing that IPPIS would not save the country from the purported corruption.
He, however, decried the poor funding in the education sector adding that health sector in the country suffers the same fate, saying, “I am a medical doctor, and no one can speak better of a health issue than us, same is with ASUU, no one can speak better of an institution than them. ASUU knows what it wants and not for the federal government to tell them go left or go right, they know what they are asking for and Federal government should listen to them.”
He added, ‘’But think of it, has IPPIS saved us from the monumental corruption in the country? I expect the federal government to say, OK, give us one to five years or thereabout to pay, but for FG to stick on the ground and say move before we move, is unacceptable. They should come to a negotiating table and resolve the issue, we are not happy as a group.’’