The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday advised the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, to resign and go into farming.
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Prof Ayo Akinwole, stated this in a statement in Ibadan while reacting to the minister’s criticism of the union.
He said the minister’s criticism showed that he was naïve on education matters.
The minister had, in an interview on Monday, said the striking lecturers should resort to farming, saying they could not dictate to their employers, how they should be paid.
He had said, “Government is actually not holding anyone to ransom. It says ‘this is how I want to pay and it has to be through IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System)’ You can leave the employment. You can opt out of it and say ‘I no longer want to teach’. You can find other professions. What we need now are probably more farmers.
“You cannot keep forcing your employer and tell him, ‘I will like you to pay me my money through my pillow. Or, ‘I will like you to pay it through this mailbox’. ASUU has a lot of complaints and dissipation around
But Akinyole described Nwajiuba’s statement as a reflection of his shallow understanding of the academic profession and the low premium the current administration placed on education.
He said the minister of state had “displayed his naivety on educational matters.”
He added, “If the Minister of State for Education is interested in farming, he should resign his appointment and stop displaying his cluelessness of the problems in the education sector.
“We are on a just fight to ensure that those in public offices become responsive and responsible to the masses they swore to serve. They must fund public education. We have been on the same salary since 2009. That is no longer sustainable.
“The universities are being run with personal sweat of lecturers while politicians siphon money for personal aggrandizement. We cannot accept the IPPIS that is against the laws of the land and which fails to recognise the uniqueness of academic profession and culture.
“We have brought an alternative using our members’ money. People like this minister of state mirror the disdain of ruling class for the workers and people of the country.”
ASUU had on March 23 begun an indefinite strike to force the Federal Government to implement its agreements with the lecturers and protest against the IPPIS.
The union on Monday said its members would not call off their strike despite the directive of the Federal Government that all educational institutions should resume on Monday, next week.
The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, had told The PUNCH that the Federal Government was not sincere about negotiations with the union. He said lecturers would not resume on an empty stomach.
He had said “You can’t expect people to go back to their offices on an empty stomach. You don’t expect my members to suspend this action when their demands have not been met. It is a very clear decision that anybody would make in this circumstance.”