Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday debunked the latest claim by the Federal Government to have reached an agreement with the union over their lingering differences, saying the claim is not true.

The President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, refuted the claim in an exclusive conversation with TribuneOnline.

According to him, the negotiations between both parties in still inconclusive as the team that represented ASUU at the meeting has no final say concerning the decision making as a body on matters of such magnitude.

He explained that what they had on ground now is a proposal from the government which ASUU insisted must be written down showing her plans of action unlike all along since the commencement of the two-month-old strike that government always made verbal proposals.

It will be recalled that their last meeting happened to be the seventh time they held meetings over their differences without tangible outcome from the previous meetings.

Speaking further, Prof Ogunyemi said, “it was just yesterday (Tuesday) that government sent the proposal to us without waiting for feedback before going to the public that we have reached an agreement. ASUU does not operate in that manner.”

“The ASUU team that met the Federal Government,” he noted, “would have to consult our principal over the proposal which we are already doing.”

He disclosed that the said principal represents various organs of ASUU who will in turn pass any resolution at that level on to the National Executive Committee and then, final decision can be made.

“So, ASUU cannot make pronouncement on a mere proposal. Until our principal agrees, there is no agreement. And that is what we have always emphasised to government that we are going to consult our members and if after consultation, our members think the proposal is good enough, we will get back to government and tell them that now, we have taken a decision which becomes an agreement. But so far on government proposal, we have not taken a decision. And our strike is still ongoing,” he said.

But when asked if there were grey areas in the proposal that would need consultation, he said ASUU might not bother about further consultation on issues that are very clear.

Giving examples, he said: “If you say you are going to set up a committee and you have set up that committee, that one is clear. And if you say you are going to pay certain money for certain purpose and you have paid, that will not also cause further argument. But where we said you should release certain amount of money in five tranches within certain period of time, and you are saying well, you have paid N20 billion, or you have paid N2 billion or N15. 4 billion, it means you haven’t started.

“So, that is the level we are now. And we don’t have a final say on any proposal that is controversial. But for areas that are not controversial as I had mentioned, we will only need to confirm payment. If paid, fine. It then means that one is settled and we now move to another one that is yet to be settled. And the one that is not settled we will need to take feedback to our members and that is the position we are at the moment.”

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