By Ngozi Nwankwo
Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba has said granting public universities in autonomy is the only way to end the incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, which has lingered since 2009.
Nwajiuba insisted that giving universities autonomy will make tertiary institutions financially independent as they will implement policies that would allow internal revenue generation and decision taken.
” It is unfortunate that our youths are at home over ASUU strike that has lingered for almost three months now, the negative impact of this strike is really huge on our youths. ASUU strike didn’t just start today, it started since 2009 when the Union made some demands but I believe giving universities autonomy is the only way to end this strike, ASUU will no longer be the Federal Government employee and will run their institutions internally,” he said.
Fielding questions from journalists after a reception organised by Project Nigeria Group to present him (Nwajiuba) presidential nomination form of All Progressives Congress, the Minister worried that resorting to strikes was not the only way to press home industrial demands, calling on ASUU to shift ground, accept Federal Government payment system Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, instead of insisting in the use of Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS.
He said that FG has met all the 2009 FG- ASUU agreement but only urged the Union to key into IPPIS which is designed for all civil servants to ensure transparency, maintaining that ASUU cannot dictate for its employer( FG) how to pay salaries.
While accepting to run for 2023 presidential election under All Progressives Congress, Nwajiuba expressed his profound gratitude to God for the opportunity of life, appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, who in the course of the 30 years that he has been in his political household, afforded him the opportunity to learn and proffered his little effort in the service of Nigeria.
In his speech, the Minister said, ” We all thank our Party, its Chairman, the NWC and the NEC that he leads as they build on the work many previous party officers started in coming together to present Nigerians with a Progressive Platform that is a congress for all shades.
“I thank with profound respect my fellow Nigerians both those present here and those in all our nooks and cranny, whose desire for a re generation by a forward generation and breed of political workers, has led them to identify me as their Chief Recruit for the job of moulding Nigeria along the path of its collective dreams. They have gathered resources from every part of the country and purchased the form for which the APC will nominate a candidate to fly its flag in the Presidential Elections in February 2023, they have now presented this to me.
“I now solemnly accept to run for us all, and bear our Party’s Flag into the elections and become our next President. I do this recognizing that in the last 7 years, President Muhammadu Buhari has performed extraordinary feats in ensuring that our progressive ideas have been established; physical infrastructure of every type and inclusive policies reaching out to our poor and less privileged. As we strive to uplift Nigeria and Nigerians into a developed state.”
According to him, a lot still is outstanding and needs to be done. “Many of our citizens are still outside, hungry, unemployed. Many more are threatened by unwarranted and unnecessary internal security and economic challenges.
“Our calling today invites me to; take up a work path that builds on the solid foundations that have been laid thus far. Provide different paradigm for new challenges and provide the platform for a vista that accommodates subject experts to pull together forces to meet our Nations challenges.
“This is the path I propose to thread, having been properly schooled, experienced and tested in the last 30 years of active politics.
“I therefore invite our dear party and its great men and women, to forge that trust in me, as their new symbol of unity, growth, and regeneration as we step into the future with renewed zeal and optimism.” said Nwajiuba.