ASUU never bother about ‘no work, no pay’ threat ― President

THE National President of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Abiodun Ogunyemi, has reaffirmed that members of the union were never in a way feel threatened by the Federal Government decision to pay workers only when they work, saying such a proclamation is a mere empty threat.
He stated this, on Tuesday, in an exclusive conversation with TribuneOnline.

According to him, it is not the first, second or third time that government would threaten workers with ‘no pay no work’ rule just to prevent them from embarking on a strike, but such threat is not and can never be directed to ASUU.

“That workers embark on the industrial action when necessary is legal anywhere in the world and therefore, I don’t know where the Nigerian government gets it own laws from,” he argued.

The ASUU boss, however, explained that though, ASUU embarks on strikes like the ongoing one and those before it only as a last option when the government refuses to honour what he called simple agreement.

Prof Ogunyemi, who teaches at Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, accused government of insincerity in committing substantial resources into the public universities to make them globally competitive.

He said the demands of ASUU on government were not in the interest of lecturers, but the public university education and the economy as a whole.

“If ASUU doesn’t care about what happens in our public universities and how terrible their conditions are, perhaps, they would have all been grounded by now and this means, the children from the poor homes would have been denied of university education,” he argued. “That is why those running affairs of the country do not have their children in public primary and secondary schools again.”

While recalling that government used a whole 15 months to dialogue with ASUU on only one item, which bothers on the establishment of Education Bank to generate revenue to fund public universities through giving out loans to schools and students, he noted that ASUU refuses to subscribe to such idea.

He said that kind of bank can never be to the advantage of the poor, rather a way to further enrich the private schools and the rich individuals in the society who can easily payback such loan.

“Or how many children from poor homes get a job or economically engaged few years after graduation in the country, the number will be infinitesimal and how will they be able to pay back if the collect loan to go school,” he queried.

Prof Ogunyemi, therefore, urged students, parents and other members of the public to understand that ASUU is on strike to make a positive change in public universities.

“And we won’t go back to class until the government meets our demands,” he vowed.