Stakeholders in the education sector, Friday threw their weight behind the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for improved funding for the revitalisation of public varsities and new salaries for the lecturers.
The stakeholders gave the backing at the engagement programme organised by the Ibadan Zone of the union held at the University of Ibadan Conference Centre, to brief them on the reasons ASUU embarked on the current strike and suggestions from members of the public.
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Ade Adejumo who was represented by the former National Treasurer of the union, Prof. Ademola Aremu, said the plan of the government was for the children of the masses to continue to serve their own children who were educated abroad by deliberately under-funding public university education.
Those present at the engagement include the Chairman, University of Ibadan ASUU, Prof. Ayo Akinwole; Prof. Moyo Ajao (UNILORIN); Dr. Biodun Olaniran (LAUTECH); Dr. Femi Abanikanda (UNIOSUN), Dr. Adesola Dauda (KWASU) and Dr. Dele Ashiru (UNILAG).
While taking the stakeholders through the journey of ASUU strike, Aremu said the union was fighting for the interest of children of the masses and the future of the country knowing fully well that an uneducated child will become terror to the country.
He stated that the Federal Government had not been faithful towards fulfilling the agreements it reached with the union but preferred to allocate more funds for the executive and the legislative arms of government.
He maintained that the strike by ASUU was focused on funding for the revitalisation of public universities as contained in the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Understanding of 2012 & 2013 and the Memorandum of Action of 2017 and 2019; payment of arrears and mainstreaming of Earned academic allowances; renegotiation of 2009 agreement, constitution of visitation panels to universities, and remittance of withheld third-party deductions from ASUU members.
The President, University of Ibadan, Students Union Government, Comrade Segun Akeju, in his remarks, while supporting the union on the strike for the revitalisation of universities also urged it to carry students along in their strikes.
He noted that there was no way the strike would not affect the students but asked that the union should ensure that the strike achieves the reasons for going on the strike.
The Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Comrade Bayo Titilola-Sodo, who lauded the stakeholders' engagement of ASUU, said ASCAB "is on the same page with ASUU on the need for massive increases of fund for the education sector. the decay in the sector especially in regards to infrastructure and conditions of service of all categories of workers, because so palpable due to World Bank dictations and the deliberate neglect of education and other critical social services by successive ruling class governments especially since the imposition of structural Adjustment Programme, SAP between 1984 and 1986."
The Chaplain, Chapel of the Resurrection, Very Rev. Olufikayo Oyelade and Chief Imam University of Ibadan Central mosque, Prof. Abdulrahman Oloyede, called on the union to continue to engage the public on the need to support their struggle, stating that they were more informed of the reasons for the strike than before.
They also enjoined the Union not to corrupt their way as they continue to fight for the repositioning of public funded varsities while urging the federal government to quickly meet demands of ASUU for better public education and welfare of the members in order to ensure quick reopening of universities in the country.