The personalty clash between the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, was responsible for the long period it took to resolve the recent industrial action by the union.
Also, the clash is also responsible for the withholding of the seven months salaries of the lecturers, investigation by the Vanguard, has revealed.
It was gathered that the duo clashed because of comments reportedly made over concern raised over the mass migration of medical doctors from Nigeria to foreign countries.
While Osodeke was alleged to have blamed the development on the poor attitude of the government to handling such issues, Ngige was said to have retorted that somebody who studied soil science like Osodeke might not have value like a medical doctor.
Ngige is a medical doctor.
Also, ASUU depended on the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, to help resolve the face-off with the Federal Government.
But incidentally, Ngige got the ears of those in Aso Rock on the matter more than Adamu.
It was gathered that the development made Adamu to say recently that he did not do well regarding the ASUU strike.
Furthermore, Ngige is the one showing that he is in charge by dictating who and who to pay salaries.
Meanwhile, one of the newly-registered academic staff unions in the nation’s university system, the Congress of University Academics, CONUA, has said there is nothing concrete available to it that indicates that the Federal Government is going to pay the backlog of seven months’ salary withheld as a result of the recent strike by university lecturers.
Speaking in a chat with the Vanguard on Sunday, the National Secretary, Dr Henry Oripeloye, said the union also got the news of possible payment of the salary by the government from an online report by a news medium.
“We also heard the news just like other people who heard it from an online publication by a news medium.
“As we speak, there is nothing concrete we can say we have on hand to confirm that.
“However, while the universities were shut down, we met the government team and told them our members were not on strike.
“If the universities were not shut down, our members would have continued to work. During the course of the meeting, we showed them evidence of our members working until the universities were shut down.
“Yes, they asked for the list of our members and we gave them from across the country.
“As at now, the only salary we have earned since March this year is what they paid us for last month,” he explained.
Meanwhile, CONUA, in a statement late Sunday by the National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, called on the government to pay his members.
The statement read in part: “Congress of University Academics (CONUA) hereby calls on the Federal Government to, without delay, pay members of the union’s withheld salaries.
“As a union, we have stated several times that we were not part of the strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
“We first made this fact clear in a letter we addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment in April 2022.
“And, at a press conference we addressed in Abuja on August 19, 2022 we also stated it categorically that, as a union, we were not on strike, and, this being the case, the issue of no work no pay ought not apply to our members.”