Dr. Wale Babalakin
The Kano Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday accused the chairman of the Federal Government Renegotiating Team, Dr. Wale Babalakin of masterminding the collapse of the 2017-2018 renegotiation between ASUU and the Federal Government.
During a Press Conference at Bayero University Kano (BUK) ASUU secretariat, ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Mahmud Muhammad Lawan alleged that Dr. Babalakin disregarded the cardinal principles of collective bargaining between ASUU and Federal Government.
He stated that, “you may recall that renegotiation between our Union and the Federal Government team commenced in March, 2017 with a promise by the Minister of Education that the exercise is expected to be completed within six weeks.
“Sadly, after more than sixteen months of fruitless negotiation, our union had to pull out due to the unwarranted arrogance of the chairman of the Federal Government Renegotiation Team, in the person of Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN).
“The chairman has deliberately disagreed the cardinal principles of collective bargaining. Delayed the process, relegated the other members of the FG team to the background and arrogated to himself the power of decision making in matters that should be collectively debated and agreed upon by the parties to the renegotiation.”
He further lamented that, “for over sixteen months of negotiation, discussions have focused on funding with Babalakin insistence on the introduction of tuition regime and education Bank as a must for public Universities in Nigeria.”
Lawan, however, described tuition regime and education Bank system as totally unacceptable, pointing out that, “according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, education is a right and a public good, therefore, Nigerian state has the responsibility to provide qualitative and sound education to its citizenry.”
The ASUU Zonal Coordinator accused Balalakin of substituting his views, “for those of the Renegotiating Committee, dismissed opposing proposals, and ignored substantive input by a joint Committee of both sides.
“ASUU as a Union of intellectuals totally rejects the castration of the truncated renegotiation single-handedly by Dr. Wale Babalakin. The action of the chairman has led to palpable fear, anxiety and apprehension in the Nigerian Universities.”
He said ASUU aligned itself with the clamour for new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, noting that, “the struggle for enhanced minimum wage has been on for several years. In fact, it is almost seven years since the last increase in 2011.
“ASUU in solidarity with the umbrella body of the Nigerian workers will fully participate in every action taken to fight for enhanced wage and improved working conditions for workers because wealth is created by the worker.”