The National Investment Secretary of the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), Austen Sado, says the registration of two academic unions by the Federal Government is an attempt to emasculate ASUU.
“When you emasculate unions for parochial reasons…that is what it is because I do not imagine the Minister of Labour and Employment (Chris Ngige) will be grinning on television and say, ‘Oh, many will come.’ How dramatic! Is he a member of the union?” Sado stated on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.
As talks between ASUU and the Federal Government broke down amid the over seven-month strike by ASUU, the minister on Tuesday registered two factional academic unions – Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
The minister explained that the two bodies will exist alongside ASUU, adding that the two associations will enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to other academic unions in the tertiary education system.
However, Sado on Wednesday warned against multiple unions in the education sector saying it will lead to chaos.
The ASUU official said, “When the minister said many more will come, I am sure that Nigerians, reasonable people are wondering, what is the scheming for? I can imagine tomorrow, we now have the Association of Media Teachers of Universities, then the other one is Association of Pathologists. It’s chaotic.
“If you do not think that there should be some form of organisation because you want to exploit the weakness to achieve a point that is destructive. What the minister of labour is doing to unionism in Nigeria is pyrrhic. Whatever victory that is achieved now is a very disastrous victory because it portends danger to the system not just to academic.”
Sado also took a swipe at CONUA saying it is unfortunate that some individuals have been disruptive to the process yet thinking they are supportive of the system.
CONUA National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu, who spoke alongside Sado on the Channels Television’s breakfast show, said his members could benefit from ASUU’s ongoing engagements with the Federal Government.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, over unpaid allowances, poor welfare, and payment software, among others.
“The fact that a group of people under CONUA does not believe in strikes does not mean that they are not contributing in one way or the other.
“You can’t in all conscience say we can’t benefit from whatever comes out or whatever the government feels it should do,” Sunmonu said.
However, Sado said, “I will wish that anybody who does not take part in an action does not benefit from the action.”