Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has urged the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders in the education sector to have an urgent engagement with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in order to bring an end to the eight-month old strike and save the children of ordinary citizens in the country.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yinka Oyebode in a statement on Tuesday, noted that Fayemi stated this in Ado-Ekiti when he received members of the Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, led by its Chairman and former Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, in his office on Monday.
The governor noted that the children of poor Nigerians are the one attending the public universities, adding that the government and the lecturers must have a common ground in order to save the future of these children that have been kept home since March.
He also urged the lecturers to look at the hardship the students and their parents are going through in view of the strike that has kept the students at home for over seven months.
He said: “We need to get to a point of convergence with ASUU, but I also think ASUU should begin to look at this from the position of their importance. It is the students of the ordinary Nigerians who attend the local universities. So, even if it is for the sake of ordinary Nigerians who have children in these universities and cannot afford to send their children to private universities or abroad.
“Whatever the areas are, we would like to engage them, not as Federal Government but as concerned parties at the level of government who feel that we can still work out an arrangement in which you don’t completely dictate to your employer how he pays your salaries.
“If agreement has been entered into and if it is not going to be honoured, you owe a duty to urge other parties to review it consensually and then come up with something that is mutually acceptable to both sides.”
The governor, who posited that education remained the greatest antidote to poverty, said education should be refocused at the national level due to its importance to national development.
Fayemi also called on the Federal Government to sharpen its intelligence collection and tackle the root causes of insecurity in the country including poverty, unemployment, under-employment and lack of adequate education.
He noted that everyone in the country is feeling the pang of insecurity in one form or the other, adding that the government needed to get to the roots of the menace of insecurity nationally in a bid to effectively address it.
The Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum said while intelligence gathering and sharing among relevant security agencies was important, addressing other sociological factors like poverty, unemployment and lack of adequate education are critical.
He added that the NGF would continue to engage the Federal Government to ensure that the country was safe for all.
“We are all feeling the pang of insecurity in Nigeria, whatever we can do as a nation, nobody is interested in your excuses, once you are governor, you are in charge of the security of your people, so whatever you can do to ensure that you deliver the goods to them in terms of security, you have to do it.
“And we are constantly engaging the federal authority on this, that they should ensure that we develop a framework that would sharpen intelligence collection and also begin to address not just insecurity but the causes of insecurity and we all know the origin and causes of insecurity, poverty is a big issue, lack of education, lack of employment, under-employment, all these factors are critical, so we cannot just look at security on the surface, we must address the sociological underpinnings of insecurity and then work out precisely what we must do,” Fayemi said.