Home Blog ASUU Strike: Why we met in Osinbajo’s office – Ngige

ASUU Strike: Why we met in Osinbajo’s office – Ngige

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ASUU Strike: Why we met in Osinbajo’s office – Ngige

—As VP denies leading FG’s negotiation team
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

As there appears to be confusion over the Federal Government team negotiating with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has dispelled the rumour of uncertainty surrounding early resolution of the face-off between the university teachers and Federal Government.

Recall that Senator Ngige had while briefing State House correspondents after the Wednesday weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting said that the Vice President had taken aspect of the negotiation and discussion with the striking university teachers.

Dr Chris Ngige

According to Ngige, “At Council today (Wednesday), the Vice President has taken over some aspects of the negotiation and discussion. So we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish the meeting, we will get back to ASUU with another round of meeting.

“We are hopeful that with another round of meeting, we will be able to go an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that have prevailed them from going to work.”

But after over 48 hours it was reported that Prof. Osinbajo had taken over as the leader of the Federal Government team in the negotiation with ASUU, the presidency on Friday denied the report.

The Vice President in a statement in Abuja clarified that the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige and his counterpart from Education, Adamu Adamu will continue to lead the FG- ASUU talks.

The statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande said the earlier reports that Prof Osinbajo had taken over the negotiations from the Minister of Labour and Employment on the issue was inaccurate.

Akande in the statement said, “Media reports seemed to have misrepresented what Labor & Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige meant when he spoke with reporters about the negotiations after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

“The Vice President had a discussion after FEC with both the Labour Minister and Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu around the issues, but has not taken over the negotiations as widely reported. Both Ministers will continue to lead the FG- ASUU talks.

“The Federal Government continues to diligently pursue a prompt resolution of this dispute and is confident the matter would be resolved.”

However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Ngige on Saturday dispelled speculations of uncertainty over talks between the Federal Government and ASUU.

A statement by the Deputy Director Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere said the Minister of Labour and Employment as the chief conciliator of industrial disputes in the country and the Minister of Minister of Education whose Ministry is the employer of the university teachers are still leading the talks.

The statement further said the consultation at the office of the Vice President by both Ministers after last Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting was in consolidation of the negotiations so far held with ASUU.

It explained that, “The Vice President has not taken over the matter. The meeting in his office was in consolidation of negotiations. Engagement of the striking ASUU members is still being handled by Ministers of Labour and Employment and the Minister of Education.

“Issues of strike by an employee is a labour matter . The Minister of Labour and Employment is therefore synergising with his Education counterpart where the strike occured to resolve the dispute.

“Just as the Minister of Labour and Employment led negotiation with the National Association of Resident Doctors in conjunction with the Minister of Health, the same applies in the case of ASUU.

“As a matter of fact, the Minister of Education reported progress on the issue to the Federal Excutive Council and together with the Labour Minister held a meeting with the Vice President subsequently.

“This is normal procedure in government where Ministers report to the President or Vice President to streamline efforts and gains in a given assignment. But that does not entail such assignment is no more being handled by the Minister charged with the responsibility.

The statement added that the Minister of Labour specifically told reporters that government negotiating team on ASUU strike was to meet with the Vice President.

“It was reporters that interpreted it to mean the Vice President has taken over negotiation, it concluded.”

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