Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has appealed to the Academy Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK) chapter, to pull out of the ongoing national strike.
Engineer Sule made the call during a meeting he convened with members of the Union, at the Government House, on Wednesday.
Also involved in the meeting were the management of the university, as well as some selected officials of the state government namely, Nasarawa State Head of Civil Service Mr. Abari Nicholas Aboki, Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Fatu Jimaita Sabo, and the Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State, Barrister Mohammed Ubandoma Aliyu.
The Governor said it has become necessary for the union at the state owned university to consider ending the six months long strike, which they embarked upon solely for solidarity with the national body of ASUU.
He said it has become imperative for him to convene the meeting in order for the parties to put heads together with a view to arriving at a solution.
Engineer Sule said initially he didn’t want to interfere with the ongoing strike at the NSUK, since ASUU joined the strike in solidarity with their national body, however he had to wade in because the strike is taking a little bit too long and it’s affecting the education of the people of the state.
He appealed to the university lecturers to understand that Nasarawa State is different from other states.
“We are not a state that is very buoyant. We are a state that is growing steadily. We are a state that is currently receiving some attention. So, if there’s any time that we can do something positive, different from the rest of the country, I always call on the good people of the state to see if we can do that,” he stated.
The Governor emphasized that, his administration is willing to discuss peculiar issues affecting the members staff at the state university, which is of immediate significance to both the government and the university.
“I want us to find a solution. I am calling on you to interfere by appealing to you to consider suspending the strike. I would rather discuss your issues and see a way that we can resolve them rather than wait for the federal government to settle with federal workers,” he said.
Engineer Sule was optimistic that even though suspending the strike may be difficult, he told the university lecturers that, “when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going.”
“It may be a difficult decision to make but I think it’s not an impossible decision to make. A state university that has its contract with the state government can chose to be different if their issues are addressed,” he stated.
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of NSUK, Professor Suleiman Bala Mohammed, thanked the Governor for convening the meeting and for increasing the visibility of the institution.
According to the VC, represented at the event by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Professor Haruna Kuje Ayuba, for the Governor to call for the meeting demonstrated his commitment and love for the NSUK.
He disclosed that, in spite of the decision of the local chapter of ASUU, SSANU and NASU, amongst others, to join the ongoing national strike embarked upon by the national body of ASUU, the institution has gone ahead to conduct its combined convocation in which the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and other top dignitaries attended, as well as organized a public lecture in partnership with the United Nations environment programme.
The VC also disclosed that admission into the university is still ongoing mostly because it’s online.
He said the ongoing strike action with all the unions in the university participating, has however affected all academic activities, as well as statutory meetings like senate and some other departmental and faculty meetings could no longer hold.
“We are even concerned as a management about the post national strike because we have received a lot of agitations from all the unions in the university about the issues of funding of the university.
“We very much appreciate you for convening this meeting. It’s a demonstration of your love and commitment, you want to see to the growth of the university,” he said.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Professor Saadatu Hassan Liman, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), the registrar and acting bursar of the university.
Officials of ASUU at the NSUK, led by the chapter chairman, Associate Professor Samuel Emmanuel Allu, spoke off camera during the meeting.