From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has reiterated commitment to back the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in its current demands and struggles that has led to an ongoing five months strike.
TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, stated this at the Congress’12th Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC) held in Abuja on Tuesday.
TUC regretted that education which is supposed to be the the bedrock of development in the country is plagued with myriads of problems such as poor funding, inadequate infrastructure and teaching aids, paucity of quality teachers and other contributing factors.
He said, “The year 2022 National budget, education got a paltry sum of N875.93bn which is about 7.2 per cent of the budget and far below the UNESCO benchmark of 26 per cent of an annual budget. Our education sector is still at its infancy stage compared to what is obtainable in other climes. admin collap Africa 60 m (GW lose unfo Your Excellencies and comrade, I need not to tell you that the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, has been on strike for over four months now and as we sit here there appears to be no glimmer of hope. For a course of four years students spend 7-8 years in Nigeria. Instead of establishing technical schools and vocational centers the youths have been turned to ballot snatchers and bodyguards to politicians when their counterparts in China are visiting the moon. To change the narrative, the budget for the sector has to be increased and school curriculum changed. You plan my gen way pro He The Congress is solidly behind ASUU in solidarity and will continue to advocate for the restoration of sanity in the sector.”
The Congress’ leader also urged members to leave their comfort zones and get their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) ready against 2023 to snatch the wheel of power from leaders who are driving the nation through the path of destruction.
According to Olaleye, the congress has been quiet for too long and has resolved to be part of the decision-making body in the next dispensation through voting.
“Comrades, the mobilisation is in top gear and we charge you all to get your Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC,the Labour Party has a presidential candidate and likewise other political parties, we therefore urge Nigerians to vote wisely, we must stop agonising and start mobilising, i challenge everyone to leave their comfort zones and engage the political space now, we must ensure that our intervention this time is deliberate and must outlive the 2023 general elections.
“The is the time for us to become part of the decision makers in our own matter, the bane of Nigeria’s development is leadership and the political elites want the status-quo to remain; but we are determined to stop it”. He noted.
Speaking on the theme, “The Working Class Amidst the Challenges of National Security, Unemployment and Democratic Development”, Comrade Olaleye warned Nigeria to be wary of neo-libraral policies of the IMF and World Bank, whose interventions in Nigeria’s demostic affairs have never yielded transforming results, adding that only home-made solutions can liberate Nigeria from the bondage of economic challenges.
On casualisation of Nigerian workers in the financial sector, he implored the federal government to give speedy approval to the proposed Employment Guidelines for Non-permanent Employees formulated to assist and regulate terms and conditions of employment of those workers.
To revive the country’s dwindling economy, Olaleye called on the federal government to immediately invest in Agricultural sector.
He the government must embrace technology based agriculture to draw the young warns into the sector which was the main stay of the country’s economy before the discover of crude oil.
“The Federal Government must as a matter of urgency give attention to the agricultural sector. The sector was the mainstay of the economy before oil was discovered in commercial quantity in the 1950s. There is the need to embrace mechanical agriculture to attract the youths. It is embarrassing that even with our vast and fertile land mass we still cannot feed ourselves.
He further advised the government to lift the ban on some essential commodities, especially those that we do not have close substitutes.
“No nation is an island. There is nothing bad in importing what we do not have. We must embrace Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage by concentrating on goods we have total advantage.”
He further decried the extent on interference of the Executive arm of government in the judiciary and urged the law enforcement agencies to awaken to their mandates.
“Fellow Comrades, corruption is one cancer that has paralyzed the economy and its fight has to be total. There is need to build up a zero tolerance for it and strengthen the Rule of Law to be able to adequately address breaches. The interference of the Executive arm of government in the judiciary has reached a sickening peak. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) must get serious and institute serious laws against corruption. The agency must see themselves as independent bodies that cannot be used as tools. Corruption can be beaten if we are serious and work together. If we fail to get it right now, countries where Rule of Law is respected and upheld will teach us the hard way. Enough of this impunity.
“We demand that government come up with good and appropriate fiscal and monetary policies that would arrest economic challenges and reduce poverty. Nigeria, by now should look beyond ethnicity and other elemental primordial sentiments to move the economy forward. We expect to see a deliberate effort towards addressing inflation and exchange rate challenge. Nigeria must refine her crude and supply the whole of West Africa countries; other revenue generating sources should also be given priority to shoot up the Gross National Product and per capita-income.” He stated.