The National Executive Council, NEC, of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, will tonight/tomorrow morning take a stand on whether the union would continue its over six months strike that has left most public universities in the country closed down.
However, feelers from sources in the union state that barring any last-minute change of mind, the union would continue the industrial action.
The decision may leave it as the only union in the university system that is still on strike.
Others, namely the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, have suspended their actions for a few months to give the Federal Government time to look into their requests.
A member of NEC, who is also a Zonal Chairman of the union, informed Newsmen in confidence that the members are prepared for whatever steps the government takes on the issue.
“We are no strangers to the government threatening to ban our union. It happened a number of times during the military period and we outlived those regimes. We are fighting a just cause. If the education sector in the country becomes better, we will all benefit. The people in government are not bothered with what happens to the sector because their children are not schooling here.
“I would not say this is what our decision will be because we have to collate opinions from our various branches that conducted congresses some days ago and whatever the majority says will be done. If the majority opinion goes for a continuation of the strike and the government takes any step, we will react appropriately, “ he said.
It was also learnt that the statement by the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, portraying some state universities that have pulled out of the strike as quacks, has generated ripples and there is the possibility of some of the branches in the state universities to pull out of the strike.
Already, the Kwara State University, Kaduna State University and Ekiti State University have fired back at Osodeke for his comments and said that most of the issues at stake are peculiar to federal universities.
It was also learnt that the FG may order the vice chancellors to reopen the institutions and register lecturers who are ready to work.
Such lecturers would be paid, while those who decline would not.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has pleaded to ASUU to consider whatever offers the government presents in the interest of students.
NANs National President, Sunday Asefon, states that it would not support the union if it continued the industrial action. “Let them have pity on students that have been at home for months. If the strike is not called off, we won’t support the union in this fight again. Let them make concessions and live to fight another day,” he said.