The National Association of Nigerian Students has constituted a committee of traditional rulers and elder statesmen across the country to help in providing a permanent solution to the crises between the Federal Government and the nation’s academic unions including the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics.
According to NANS National President, Danielson Akpan, those in the committee are the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi. In a statement on Sunday, the students’ association noted that other traditional rule rs in the committee to look at the negotiations between the Federal Government and the academic unions are the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, and the Olowo of Owo, Dr Victor Olateru-Olagbegi.
Elder statesmen on the committee are Chief Edwin Clark, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Mrs Folorunso Alakija, Prof. Suleiman Bala Mohammed, and the Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof. Rukayat Mohammed, who is also a former Minister of Education. Two renowned lawyers, Messrs Femi Falana and Kayode Ajulo, are also in the committee.
Also, Akpan noted that the committee would interface with ASUU, ASUP, the College of Education Academic Staff Union, stakeholders and the Federal Government to “bring a permanent solution to the incessant strikes which have damaged our educational sector and made us a subject of ridicule among the comity of nations.”
He said, “History has it that the Nigerian education system was once good such that other countries sent their nationals to acquire tertiary education in Nigeria. Until the inglorious days set in the beginning of 1988 when the Academic Staff Union of Universities started what is today known as the ASUU strike.
“It is no longer news to Nigerians that not only has ASUU strike affected the standard of education in Nigeria, but that other academic staff unions have followed suit. Consequently, we began consultations to seek the support of elder statesmen and eminent Nigerians to interface with ASUU, ASUP, COEASU, other unions, stakeholders and the government to bring a permanent solution to the incessant strikes.”