President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that the federal government is working on modalities to address their grievances without a face-off thereby ending incessant strikes in the country’s universities.
He said, “Our resolve to address the decay in the system is not in doubt, just as our collective resolve as a government and a people is unwavering. We invite you to come to us with meaningful suggestions that will add value to the system.
The president, who stated this in his address yesterday, during the 23rd, 24th and 25th convocation ceremonies of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ABTU), Bauchi, explained that the move was to attain stability and balance in the country’s university system.
He added that, “It is my belief that exchange of views an ideas will assist in arriving at mutually acceptable solutions to most of our today’s problems in the educational sector. I therefore advise continued dialogue and consultations among all the stakeholders in the system”
The president said that the administration had gained a clear focus on how to re-orient the system to address the challenges of the 21st century.
President Buhari, who was represented by Dr Gidado Bello Kumo from the National Universities Commission (NUC), said, “the support of all stakeholders is needed to ensure that we succeed. In this regard, the central players are the teachers and students who are the nucleus and major actors on the stage. No nation will progress if its educational institution is poor,” he stated, revealing that government was looking into the operations of educational agencies to find solutions to the problems militating against their desired impact, specifically the university system.
In his welcome address, the vice chancellor ATBU, Professor Saminu Abdulrahman Ibrahim, expressed gratitude to the president, who is also the Visitor to the University for honouring their invitation.
Ibrahim said: “We appreciate the commitment of your administration towards salvaging university education sector as demonstrated in many ways including the setting up of a committee to recognise the sector, headed by Prof Peter Okebukola. We assure you of our total alignment to your administration’s drive to move the education sector forward.”
The VC appealed to the President to facilitate the speedy release of the final tranche of the NEEDS Assessment funds to facilitate the completion of on-going projects in the university.
Prof Ibrahim however expressed gratitude to the federal government for the establishment of Presidential NEEDS assessment Intervention Funds.
He said that ATBU has experienced enormous challenges as a result of paucity of funds, saying that in spite of that, the management was able to witness modest achievements in conjunction with stakeholders.
He said no fewer than 8,495 students graduated with 480 for national diplomas, 5,637 for first degrees, 1,580 for PGD, 770 for Masters and 90 for PhDs respectively, out of which 118 bagged first class.
He commended the senate of the university and other members of collective staff for “constructive deliberations” on academic matters and especially for maintaining the high ethical standards which ensured prompt efficient processing and releasing of results.
“We appreciate our staff and student unions, including ASUU, SSANU, NAAT, NASU and SUG for engaging in useful and constructive dialogue that has kept the university relatively peaceful despite the external threats by national strikes.”
Earlier in their separate remarks, the chancellor of the University, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Aladesanmi III, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the Pro-Chancellor Ambassador, Dr Nimota Akambi, commended the governing council, senate and management of the university for maintaining the standard of the university.