FG vs. ASUU: Presidency Presents Evidence Of Payment

The Presidency has produced evidence of payment of 200 billion Naira for universities infrastructure revitalisation.

At a media briefing in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President On Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, presented a letter from the Central Bank of Nigeria, confirming that a sum of 200 billion Naira, agreed with the Academic Staff Union Of Universities at a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on November 4, 2013, has been fully paid into a Revitalization of Universities Infrastructure account.

In the letter, signed by the Deputy Governor of the CBN, Mr Tunde Lemo and addressed to the Accountant General of the Federation, the apex bank confirmed that the total sum was paid in three tranches of 129.3 billion Naira, 20.7 billion Naira and 50 billion Naira, into the account as directed.

The presidential aide added that “the Federal Government does not intend to victimize anyone who participates in a legitimate strike action in view of the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to the International Labour Organisation convention which guarantees workers’ rights to strikes convened in line with due processes.”

The impasse between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities reached a crescendo in the past week with ASUU  expressing lack of confidence in the government in keeping the agreements it reached with the Presidency on its issues and had requested for evidences of the Government’s financial commitment to the ASUU course.

In a statement by the ASUU President, Dr Nasir Issa-Fagge, while appearing on Channels Television on Tuesday, December 3, the union stated that once the bank account opening was done and the committee that would disburse the funds start working, “our members will have no reason not to suspend the strike” insisting that the “most important part of this thing at this point is that let there be documentation”.

He said the union insisted on documentation to ensure that it would not embark on another industrial action, as a result of the government not meeting the requirement, particularly the promises by the President.

“Why won’t government make available this money so that we know the money is there and the universities commence drawing from this money to address the problem of decay in infrastructure, teaching and research facilities? When that is done, our members will suspend the strike,” he promised.

The Presidency is expected to maintain its earlier stance that “from the government’s perspective, everything that needs to be done has been done and whether the strike would be called off or not now lies in the hands of the leadership of ASUU”.

PDP Is Headache For Nigeria’s Opposition Parties – Bamanga Tukur

The National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamangar Tukur has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) merger as a tablet for those seeking for cure from the PDP’s headache which according to him, is plaguing Nigeria’s opposition parties.

Alhaji Tukur gave this description while addressing warring factions of the PDP in the six states of the south-west in Abuja, urging the leaders to resolve internal differences through dialogue.

Saying the ruling party remains the headache of the opposition in the country and that is why members of the opposition were looking for drugs to cure their sickness.

“PDP is the headache of the opposition in the country. That is why they are looking for APC drug to cure their sickness.

Tukur’s side-splitting reference to the APC as a drug was meant to deride the name of the opposition party, born from the merging of four major opposition political parties.

Tukur, who came to the meeting with members of the party’s National Working Committee, appealed to PDP members in the zone to remain united.

“You people in the South-West must remain united to be relevant. Use your energy in coming together and stop fighting. That is the only way to get power.”

Other members of the Board of Trustees including Zonal chairman, Chief Segun Oni noted that the way forward to end years of acrimony in the South West is through the spirit of inclusiveness and reformation without revenge.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe alleged that the leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is responsible for the marginalization of the Yoruba’s and not President Jonathan.

According to him, “the issue of marginalisation of the South-West was a political misadventure and political accident, brought about by the Yoruba themselves. If you would recollect, the Yoruba were supposed to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is the number four position in Nigeria.”

“But due to the political mishandling of the leadership of the Yoruba and also the sabotage of the Yoruba people by the Yoruba leadership. I am talking about the people in the ACN now. The Yoruba people in the ACN conspired against the Yoruba people and allowed the position to be taken away. That is the beginning of marginalisation.”

“You see, when people sit down to share what is not enough and you don’t have anybody to speak for you, there is a problem” he explained.

Abati and Okupe deny any rancour between them

The presidency has denied reports that the recent appointment of Dr Doyin Okupe as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs has led to a conflict between him and the the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.

Dr Reuben Abati who convened the meeting to introduce Dr Okupe to State House correspondents, affirmatively declared that there is no conflict between his office and that of the Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, stating that Dr. Doyin Okupe was hired to complement him in engaging the public coherently.

Briefing State House correspondents on their positions on Tuesday, Dr Abati and Dr Okupe jointly declared that there is no conflict in the information management process in the presidency, as speculated by some media reports.

Acoording to Dr Okupe, “the position of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs is not in any way conflicting with the job of the Special Adviser to the President. The Special Adviser to the President remains the presidential spokesman. All official policies and statements emanating from the President are released through him. Anything that is official, which has to do with what the President has spoken, will be spoken of by Dr. Reuben Abati. My job is public affairs” explained the new appointee.

Dr Abati also explained that the former Minister of Information is joining the team with a lot of confidence in the Jonathan project. “One thing we both have in common is that we both have a passion for the Jonathan’s transformation agenda and we believe in President Jonathan that he deserves the support of all Nigerians and that as many people as possible should join hands together to promote that transformation agenda, to support this administration and our responsibility in terms of how this administration information process is managed is to make sure that we engage the public robustly and moving forward, our team remains very strong.”

The two appointees cheerfully debunked the report, noting that they rather would join hands to promote the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.