The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has set up a sustainable peace team to resolve the lingering dispute between President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The former secretary general of CVCNU, Michael Faborode, and the co-coordinator of the team made this known on Tuesday through ‘The Sustainable Peace Team Working Paper’.
He explained that the team’s desire was not to allow the current deadlock in the ASUU strike negotiations to take hold, as the toll of the strike on all stakeholders and the nation had been colossal.
According to him, to arrive at the final list, no serving vice-chancellor or pro-chancellor is included, and membership was based on the record of service as recorded by the CVCNU.
He further stated that the team comprised Jibril Aminu, former vice-chancellor of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID); Olufemi Bamiro, ex-University of Ibadan VC; Ekanem Braide, the president of the Academy of Science; and Nkechi Nwagogu, ex-pro-chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), among others.
“We should not fold our hands and watch our ‘house’ collapse on us as elders. So, we should speak or act now. We do not have any other industry other than the university system,” the team’s head noted. “Whatever can be done to bring all the actors to reason and broker peace using the Prof Nimi Briggs committee recommendations as the fulcrum will be worth the effort.”
Mr Faborode said the ‘Peace Team of Elders’ would operate under the auspices of the CVCNU/CPC.
According to him, the Buhari regime and ASUU were contacted to accept the intervention of the independent team of elders.
“The team will liaise with the Prof Nimi Briggs committee to understand the basis of the elements of their proposals and check with both the federal government and ASUU to identify the areas of concern and objection,” he added. “Afterwards, the team will brainstorm on how to mitigate the thorny areas and work with all the parties to bring the imbroglio to an amicable end in the interest of all concerned and the nation.”
These include the regime raising its offer of salary increase from 23 per cent to “maybe 50 per cent that will ensure a professor receives up to N800,000 monthly as opposed to the negotiated N1.2 million.”
“Also, the review of the decision on salaries during strike to a mid-position, not zero per cent nor 100 per cent as ASUU wants. How can we further this admonition to both sides?” Mr Faborode further stated.
He added, “Fundamentally, the following facts should be noted: the subsisting condition of Nigerian higher education is unacceptable and inconsistent with the economic development roles envisaged for them. Things have been allowed to deteriorate for too long.”