By Festus Fifen, Abuja
There was a drama at the ongoing talks between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics in Abuja when the National President of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) comrade Ogbonnaya Sunday Accused the Academic staff union of polytechnic of insincerity and selfishness in the about 8 months old strike of the union
Comrade Ogbonnaya and comrade salawudeen the Senate President of the student body who represented the students in the meeting between the federal government and the Academic staff union said it is disheartening to know that the lecturers are just using the polytechnic students as a negotiation tools with the Federal government to achieve their alleged selfish interest noting that among the four (4)core issues the academic union are asking for before they suspend the ongoing strike none is in the interest of the students not even the segregation between HND and BSc holders which has been a major concern for polytechnic graduates over time.
He therefore used the medium to appeal to the federal government and ASUP leadership to iron out their differences in the interest of the students who have been at home for the past 8 months as any further delay in the suspension of the strike will give them(students) no choice but to take to the streets.
In reacting to the situation, The ASUP president Chibuzor Asomugha questioned the sincerity of the federal government in resolving the issue ” we are surprised that the media is full with stories about this meeting which is suppose to be a confidential one, and even to make matters worse the student we teach have been called here by the federal government to insult us openly before the Nigeria media” he lamented.
The ASUP president said the Polytechnic lecturers included the dichotomy between the HND and B Sc graduates in the 13 major demands made by the union before the federal government made an appeal to take them gradually noting that was how 4 out of the 13 were picked which is mainly the release of the white paper, the constitution of governing councils, contiss 15 Salary structure and the payment of the 20.4 billion Naira arrears owed the lecturers.
He noted that even the needs assessment committee set up by the federal government to go round the polytechnics to ascertain the level of decay in these schools have not started work due to lack of funding by the federal government through TETFUND
The supervising minister of Education Nyesome Wike. Who said the ASUP president was being selective with the criticism of the Students union as he did not mention the point where the student body accused the Federal government of neglect leaves much to be desired” you said we called the students here to insult their lecturers and you were not happy, but remember you kept quite when they were also Accusing the federal government of Negligence, you also failed to tell the media that the 4 major issues picked by the government in the first phase of the talk was a collective agreement between your Union and the federal government” he noted
The supervising minister said the 20.4 billion is already captured in the 2014 budget urging the lecturers to go back to class.
The meeting later became a close door session as both party are expected to brief the press of the outcome.