Former Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili says Nigerians must demand new approach to ending the crisis that has engulfed the university system since July, thus shutting students out of classrooms.
Speaking to newsmen on the sidelines of a dialogue on education organized by Unity Schools Old Students Association in Abuja, Ezekwesili said "citizens must now demand that there be a neutral approach at identifying what will be the solution to the kind of university system we want to run."
She said both the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) missed the point of conversation to end the protracted strike over agreements reached by both sides in 2009.
She said both parties seem to have "so far failed" to set the ground for principal negotiation.
"This is no longer a matter between the government and ASUU; this has become a matter between the people of Nigeria, government and ASUU," said the former minister.
Ezekwesili said challenges in performance, accountability and reward should be re-designed to ensure academics are duly rewarded according to excellence, brilliance and scholarship and that it should be done "in a way that you don't take everybody down on the race to the bottom."
Speaking about industrial action in her tenure as minister, Ezekwesili said; "I personally got Mr. Onasede, a distinguished professional, to lead the negotiation, but what subsequently happened after I left office in 2007 is open to the interpretation of those who were part of the final negotiation that was said to have been signed in 2009."