Elder Statesman, Edwin Clark, says there is a need for the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to take over negotiations regarding the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)’s strike.
The elder statesman, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said Adamu was in a better position to arrive at a reasonable agreement with ASUU.
He said that education matters ought to be handled by someone who appreciates the effect of the strike, adding that it was affecting every fabric of the economy.
According to him, besides the long term effect, the strike has distorted the school calendar, increased the crime rate, and impoverished communities that make a living from schools among other things.
“The Federal Ministry of Education should take over negotiation from labour because the labour ministry is treating ASUU’s case like any other industrial matter.
“ASUU is not fighting for their personal interest alone. I learnt it is only now they are including the review of their own salary otherwise the 2009 agreement they are talking about is for infrastructure development.
“In every country, education is number one on the list. Once the people are educated, other sectors of the economy will have fewer challenges.
“The Accountant-General who was supposed to have generated this payment is alleged to have embezzled N80 billion.
“That is about half of what ASUU is demanding to largely develop our education system.
“ASUU is demanding about N200 billion, that is not too much to fix a critical sector like education,’’ he said.
On the 2023 general elections, the elder statesman said there might be voter apathy as experienced in previous elections.
He called for increased sensitisation and reorientation to get Nigerians to turn up for the forthcoming elections.
On zoning, Clark said it was time to allow the South East to have a taste of power at the highest level in the country.
“I am the leader of Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Leaders Forum. I am also the leader of the Pan Nigerian Forum (PANDEF).
“We have made our position very clear, that we will mobilise our people not to vote for any party that does not zone its presidency to the South.
“The South East is entitled to any position they are qualified for like any other Nigerian.’’ (NAN)