Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom state, has called on the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end the ongoing strike.
ASUU had on February 14 declared a one-month warning strike to protest the non-implementation of its demands by the federal government.
But on March 14, the union extended the industrial action by eight weeks, citing the government’s failure to fully address its demands.
In a statement by Bola Bolawole, spokesperson for his presidential campaign team, Udom said the nation’s varsity system risks imminent collapse if the ongoing strike lingers.
“The discussions are already going on in some foreign countries where our people, especially our youths, run for greener pastures, to withdraw their recognition of university certificates from Nigeria. God forbid that this should happen! The all-round effects on our people are better imagined than felt,” he said.
According to him, recurrent industrial actions in the varsity system will not only affect the quality of graduates but also push youths to seek alternatives abroad.
Udom described records of ASUU strikes in recent years as “worrisome” and called on both the government and union to prioritise the interest of students affected by the situation.
“This, then, is my clarion call to both the FG and ASUU: Put on the thinking cap of statesmen and resolve this issue as quickly as possible in the interest of all,” he added.
“Where necessary, sacrifices must be made on all sides. And as much as is humanly possible, agreements freely entered into must be respected and implemented.
“The records of ASUU strike actions in recent years are worrisome; close to four years have been lost to strike actions, whereas an average semester is made up of between 3 and 4 months!
“Just imagine how many semesters and whole academic sessions the university system has lost to ASUU strikes alone, not to talk of time lost to strike actions by other workers in the university system and student demonstrations!
“Enough is now enough! All the key players or gladiators should understand that what is going on is self-immolation. We all must stop cutting our nose to spite our face.
“Saving the university system from imminent collapse is a task that must be done. It is the duty of each and every one of us; not Government’s alone; and not ASUU’s alone. Everyone must stand up to be counted.
“I have added my voice! Add yours! Heeding this clarion call is the first step in the right direction.”
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