ASUP, COEASU Plans Protest On Tuesday 

Poly-Students-ProtestThere appears to be no end in sight for students of polytechnics and colleges of education to return to school as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) announced plans to embark on a peaceful protest in Abuja on Tuesday.

At a joint news conference in Abuja on Sunday, the National President of the ASUP, Dr Chibuzor Asomugha and the Abuja chapter chairman of COEASU, Dr Ahymed Lawal, criticised the Federal Government’s refusal to implement agreements reached with the unions in order to suspend the indefinite strike.

The unions appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to among other demands, address issues of funding, infrastructural development, dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates and the harmonisation of working conditions for all lecturers in tertiary institutions.

They have been pushing this demands since April last year.

The Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, had in a meeting in February with the union, accused it of thwarting government’s efforts at resolving the strike.

The government later set up another committee, headed by the Minister of Labour, Mr Emeka Wogu, and was yet to convince the striking lecturers.

ASUP had in April 22, 2013 embarked on a seven-day warning strike to push their demands and since then, they have refused to call-off the strike until pending issues had been resolved.

Nigerian Economic Summit Opens In Abuja

Frank-NwekeThe 20th Nigerian Economic Summit has opened and participants are in high spirit, as they seek to address issues in Nigeria’s education sector.

The summit, holding from March 18 to 20 at the Trasncorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has as its theme; “Transforming Education Through Partnerships for Global Competitiveness”.

The Director General, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mr Frank Nweke, said that the decision to hold the Summit on education was taken to redress the decline in the sector seen as a critical factor in economic development.

Mr Nweke said: “The education sector is in dire straits and requires the intervention of both public and private stakeholders if it is to fulfill its function of preparing Nigeria to compete in the global economy”.

He pointed out that for the development of the Nigerian economy to be sustained, the education sector should be vibrant and able to produce skilled workforce.

Within the period of the summit, participants will consider four critical areas of the education sector – the needed national consensus on the objective of Nigeria’s education system, needed collective realisation of the pervasive centrality and importance of education to national development, sustainable structural reforms and changes needed in the education sector that will allow emergence of a 21st century economy and how to build a culture of life-long learning that is critical to ensuring that the Nigerian economy can respond quickly to global changes and global developments.

There will be a Presidential strategy session expected to be led by President Goodluck Jonathan, aimed at distilling what is required to ensure that the Nigerian education sector can deliver highly skilled, globally competitive individuals for the Nigerian economy.

The Chair, Technical Sub-committee Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Alero Ayida-Otobo, said that participants would also consider ways of making the teaching profession attractive and look at ways of removing the disparity existing between graduates of the university and those of the polytechnic, a gap that the Federal Government had tried to bridge in the past without a positive outcome.

The Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, expressed optimism that the conference would be exciting and proffer solutions to the challenges facing the education sector.

Expectations are high that the summit would help to recommend needed strategies that will reform the education sector in Nigeria.

My Loyalty Lies With Jonathan Not Amaechi – Wike

The Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyisom Wike, has confirmed that his loyalty does not lie with the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, but to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and President Goodluck Jonathan.

“First of all I owe loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I owe loyalty to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who appointed me” Mr Wike said while speaking on Channels Television’s flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Monday.

He noted that his loyalty further lies with the people of the state, whom he said were “certainly not” going to where the governor wants to go. “The governor only nominate me for the position of minister of State,” he insisted.

He argued that the president sent his name to the senate after which the “appointment came in”, adding that he stood out and worked tirelessly for him (Amaechi) to become governor.

Wike berated Governor Amaechi’s claim that he was made governor by “God”, saying that Amaechi will claim that he made him minister. “So it is not God that made us,” he said.

Responding to a question from a viewer via a social media channel, twitter, Wike maintained that his “political history was not connected to Amaechi. “I was a chairman of a local government (Obiakpor) when Amaechi was speaker,” he said, adding that he had never worked with him politically.

“We just met at PDP, I was chairman of the council and you can’t say that my political history is connected to him; it is not correct,” Mr Wike said.

He also urged Nigerians to forget about the creation of Bayelsa out of Rivers state, explaining that “if Jonathan is running for election today; Jonathan is from Rivers state.” 

The Supervising Minister of Education, however, admitted that the sentiment expressed would always be there.

He expressed optimism that the people of Rivers state would vote for “their son (Jonathan)” because “it will take you millions of years to convince them on why they should not vote for their son”.

Mr Wike further maintained that since the creation of Rivers in 1967, the state had been involved in mainstream politics in Nigeria.


Unions Protest Suspension Of UNN Pro Chancellor

The entire academic community of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) emptied into the streets of the campus in protest of the suspension of the Chairman of the University Governing Council and Pro chancellor, Dr. Emeka Enejere.

The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Nsukka chapter, Dr. Ifeanyi Agada, who led the protest alongside the leadership of other academic trade unions, said the suspension was a display of intrigue, corruption, and abuse of office by the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike and the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie.

He stated that normalcy would never return to the university until the Pro chancellor was reinstated.

The joint action committee of trade unions accused the vice chancellor of the University of conniving with the supervising minister of education to suspend Dr. Enejere.

The unions including ASUU, Non-Academic Staff Union, (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) demanded the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Enejere without which they would ground activities at the institution till further notice.

Marching from one end of the campus shouting slogans of resistance to intimidation, and never deterred by the heavy security presence, the unions challenged the education minister to explain the justification for suspending Dr. Enejere without reason, query, interaction or warning, wondering “why he is averse to civilized conduct in handling official matters in the education sector and why he wants to destroy the President’s transformation agenda”.

They also expressed bitterness over the administrative incompetence of the Vice Chancellor who they said must be sacked with immediate effect.

The union in their collective resolve maintained that normalcy will continue to elude the university until their demands are met. They encouraged each other to continue to manifest high sense of integrity, transparency and commitment to change the ugly face of the university.