ASUU Strike Might Be Called-Off Soon, As President Jonathan Plans to Inaugurate N100bn Projects for Tertiary Institutions

President Goodluck Jonathan will in a fortnight, flag-off infrastructure projects worth N100 billion in universities and tertiary institutions across the country, a situation which may assuage the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end their industrial action.
Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, who is also the chairman of the needs assessment implementation committee of the universities established by the National Economic Council (NEC) to bridge the infrastructural gaps in tertiary institutions, disclosed this to State House correspondents Friday after he met with Jonathan. According to Suswam, the projects that the President is expected to flag-off include lecture theatres, classrooms and hostels, many of which he noted were in deplorable conditions, necessitating the President to assign the committee to ensure that things were put in good shape immediately.
He observed: “that is one of the reasons why ASUU is even on strike,” assuring that the committee would have completed its task, thus necessitating ASUU to call off its strike, which they embarked upon partly because of dearth of infrastructure and lack of earned allowances. The governor explained that: “the NEEDS assessment,” which his committee is handling has been virtually concluded, adding, “I think by next week, it will be definitely concluded,’ while the earned allowance aspect being handled by the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (OSGF) would be taken care of in the next one week. “Given the seriousness of the issue, we will be able to come to some level of agreement with ASUU, which will probably lead to call off of the strike. I’m not saying they are calling off the strike. We have to agree on these two remaining issues,” Suswam stated.
The governor, who acquiesced that the deficits in terms of infrastructure, covering instructional materials to the universities would take years to address completely, however expressed optimism that if government sustains funding of the projects “ I believe we will be able to give our universities a new lease of life.
“It will start with the sum of N1 billion and we set up a small committee which will report back to the bigger committee on Tuesday for us to be able to select universities across the six geopolitical zones where the president will decide to go and flag of projects worth about N1 billion and that should be the end of this month or first week of September, because there are processes that needed to be carried out for us to achieve that,” he said.
On purported de-camping of some governors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Suswam said: ‘I’m not one of those governors so I can’t comment on their behalf. Politics is something that is very free if people decide to change their parties, it is their own prerogative to so do. As far as I’m concerned I’m 100 per cent PDP. I will never leave the party and I believe I will stay with the party until we get to where we want to be.” He also said the five northern governors currently on nationwide consultations with key political stakeholders “were free as leaders in their own right” to undertake the exercise, pointing out that: “they are leaders in their own.
“I’m not part of the wider consulting and what they are consulting for. They have the right to consult. I believe that whatever we do as present leaders, we must ensure that whatever actions we take would be for the interest of the people”.

Culled From Thisdayonline.com

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