President Muhammadu Buhari weekend admonished the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions in the nation’s university system to give peace a chance and avoid another round of industrial crisis.
He said the nation’s ivory tower cannot withstand any crisis now considering the time it had lost to coronavirus pandemic.
ASUU had threatened to resume strike saying the federal government had not fufulfi it’s agreement reached with the unions following which it suspected months of industrial actions.
The Yola zone of the ASUU had called on the public to prevail on the federal and state governments to accede to union’s legitimate demands to avoid the resumption of the suspended strike.
Mr Reuben Jonathan, zonal coordinator, who made the call at a news conference September, in Yola, said the zone had met and reviewed the MoA of 23rd December, 2020 signed with the federal government; the issues related to the draft renegotiation agreement of May, 2021 and other matters affecting the university system generally.
However, President Buhari in his address at the 36th convocation ceremony of the university of Ilorin, Saturday, appealed to the union to shelve any planned strike.
“Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to members of the Academic Staff Union of our Universities to embrace peace. They should realise that dialogue is always better than conflict. No one gains from crisis.
“While government alone cannot solve all the challenges facing a society, this administration is willing to to listen to complaints and alternative points of view to managing a situation. The university system cannot withstand any crisis now considering the time it had lost to coronavirus pandemic. As I appealed to the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), I also call on the leadership and members of other unions within and outside the university system to always give peace a chance”, the visitor said.
The visitor who was represented by the former vice chancellor of Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, expressed delight over sustained academic calendar of the university of Ilorin describing the institution as a “pride of the nation”.
He challenged the university of Ilorin to take the lead in research to find antidote to coronavirus pandemic by developing a home grown vaccine.
Earlier on Friday, the university’s inaugural lecturer, Mallam Yusuf Ola-Olu Ali, had blamed some stakeholders in the system for being responsible for the obstacles against university automy.
Citing corruption, divided loyalty, amongst several other factors, the legal luminary said the clamour for university automy in Nigeria had remained a mirage because the obtascles to attaining such automy were largly self imposed arising from poor “attitudes” of stakholders.
Vice chancellor of the university, Professor Sulyman Abdulkareem, said the school graduated a total of 10,922 in a combined convocation ceremony for 2020 and 2021.
Of this figure, he said a total of 180 baged first class degrees honours, 2, 836 with second class upper division, 4,879 with second class lower division even as the university graduated a 187 PhDs holders .