The Local Organising Committee, LOC, of Nigeria University Games, NUGA, has reached an agreement with the striking Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, to hold the 2022 NUGA as scheduled.
The Executive Secretary of NUGA 2022, Dr Joseph Awoyinfa, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday.
NAN reports that the University of Lagos, Unilag, will be hosting 2022 NUGA between March 16 and March 26.
About 10,000 student-athletes and officials from 136 universities across the country are expected to participate in 17 different games during the event.
Mr Awoyinfa assured that the protracted ASUU strike would not take any shine off the games, adding that the academic union had given the game a go-ahead to use the three-week grace period for the all-university games.
“ASUU is on warning strike which is for a 4-week period and at the expiration of the warning strike, which will expire on March 14, ASUU has graciously said that NUGA is an extra-curricular activity and not academic, so we can use the grace period.
“If ASUU wants to go all out, they might have wanted to shut the universities; but this NUGA has suffered many postponements since Unilag first got the hosting right since 2018.
“We are supposed to host NUGA in 2019, but then, there was an ASUU strike that lasted for nine months, then, the year 2020 was almost non-existent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 2021 was a recovery year.
“The National Council of NUGA then pushed the games to 2022, and here we are again, facing another ASUU strike, so we pleaded with ASUU that we don’t want to postpone NUGA again,” he said.
Mr Awoyinfa said that the striking university lecturers agreed with the organisers to host the event within the free windows of negotiation with the government.
He also said that the strike could also be considered as a blessing in disguise as students of the institution would eventually have to go on break for the hostels to be free to accommodate the delegations from other universities.
“We got a window of opportunity that if we can finish NUGA before the next strike, we are good to go, so after the expiration of the 4-week warning strike, which ends on March 14, we will start NUGA on March 16.
“We will end the game by March 26, while the departure is March 27, before any consideration of the next strike by ASUU which may be a total shutdown of the universities in Nigeria which we did not pray for.
“The thought of concern whether the strike will affect NUGA is not totally a worry, but a blessing in disguise because if the students have been in session, we will still need to shut down the school and hostel to accommodate the athletes in the hostel.
“We are expecting over 10,000 continents all over Nigeria and combining that with the existing student populace is not realistic, so the students will have to vacate their halls latest on Sunday and return after NUGA,” he said.
Mr Awoyinfa said that other logistics such as transportation, security infrastructure, health and safety had been assured for a hitch-free game.
“All other logistics have been put in place and we are working round the clock to ensure a memorable event. I have been on a tour of the facilities and they are in good shape.
“The officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) has been on the ground in the past week to ensure health guide and COVID-19 protocols are ensured,” he said.
Among the games to feature are football, badminton, hockey, cricket, chess, judo, swimming, karate, athletics, squash, and boxing.
The University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, won the 25th edition hosted by the University of Agriculture, Makurdi in 2017, with 70 gold medals.
The Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria followed with 11 gold, while Benson Idahosa University, Benin, came third with 10 gold medals.