By Adesina Wahab
Although what the Federal Government offered to the striking members of the University Academic Staff Union, ASUU, exceeded the expectations of the speakers, there are indications that the union may soon suspend its ongoing industrial action.
However, it is possible that the suspension is not based on the negotiating capacity of the government team, but on the harsh economic realities that the country now faces, as the controls have revealed.
The investigation showed that as the ASUU national leadership meets on Sunday and union congresses are held between Monday and Wednesday of this week across the country to debate the government’s proposals to the union made last Friday , the members can get carried away by the strike. on the economic situation of the country.
However, the union can give the government deadlines to meet some obligations, especially those involving finances, and that any non-compliance would lead to another crisis.
As the ASUU and FG teams met over the weekend, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that Nigeria had entered another round of economic recession, as Gross Domestic Product, GDP, declined for the second consecutive quarter.
The fact was corroborated by the World Bank, which called the recession the worst in more than 30 years.
An ASUU leader, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said that if the union considered the government’s handling of the issue, the strike could last a long time.
“Although the government tried to paint us as aggressors and engaged in useless propaganda, it will not deter us. Yes, we all know the bad state of the economy now, but even when everything was going well, what did the government do with the revenue? What are they doing now to improve things?
“Many Nigerians and well-meaning groups have contacted us and we have been attracted as well. We are ready to pedal smoothly in some conditions that we hope the government does not spoil.
“However, our union is democratic in nature and environment, it is what most of our members want us to do. Congresses will be held and we will collect opinions from members and the majority will take the vote, ”said the source.
Let us remember that in the meeting last Friday between ASUU and the FG delegation, the government accepted ASUU’s demand to pay the arrears of salaries of its members from February to June through the old salary payment platform: the Integrated System of Financial Information and Government Management, GIFMIS.
Furthermore, the FG said it would make N35 billion available for earned academic allowances for all unions in the university system, even though ASUU said it only negotiated that for its members.
Additionally, the government promised to release N25 billion as a revitalization fund, when the union initially demanded N220 billion which was later reduced to N110 billion.
The issue of the Integrated Personnel and Payment Information System, IPPIS, remains controversial, as previous reports said the government exempted ASUU members from that platform.
However, the Minister of Labor, Dr. Chris Ngige, left without saying anything about it.
The union has been on strike since March this year.