73 days into ASUU strike, Buhari’s education minister buys N100m APC presidential form


‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja


Daily Courier – Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Wednesday in Abuja, became the first of many aspirants to obtain copies of the Nomination and Expression of Interest forms to vie for the Presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress despite the Academic Staff Union of Universities strike in its 73rd day unresolved.

A group known as Project Nigeria collected the expression of interest, nomination forms and guidelines on behalf of Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.

Daily Courier recalled that ASUU on Monday, February 14, 2022, announced a four-week total and comprehensive warning strike following the inability of the union and the Federal Government to reach common ground on the demands of university lecturers.

ASUU had announced a two-month extension of its initial four-week warning strike in March over government’s failure to satisfactorily implement the draft renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and deploy for use in the Nigerian University system the homegrown payment and personnel solution called UTAS, among other issues.

Some of ASUU’s demands include the release of revitalisation funds for universities, implementation of the re-negotiated 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement and the release of earned allowances for university lecturers.

Others are the deployment of the UTAS payment platform for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.

Following the expiration of the initial four weeks of the warning strike, ASUU had gone ahead to declare another eight weeks saying that it was giving the government more time to meet its demands.

Meanwhile, the minister of state for education had maintained that the federal government does not have 200b naira been demanded by ASUU as precondition to call off its strike saying that the prevailing economic situation makes it impossible.

Reacting to the news of Nwajiuba’s quest to vie for president, a member of ASUU Prof. Kolapo Jegede said, “it is unfortunate that people in public offices seem not to have any shame in this clime. A man that should have resigned due to his inability to resolve this protracted strike has the gut to obtain form to contest for president. The question those of you in the media must ask him is simple, on what records will he campaign to Nigerians whose students are at home due to his ineptitude?”

Another don, Prof. Rotimi Apata at the Federal University Of Technology, Akure said, “it is the joke of the century and I will reserve my comment until he scales the party’s primary.” Prof Samson Nankut, opined that the news ought to have elicited nationwide disapproval but like any other issue, anything goes in Nigeria.”

All the students who spoke to Daily Courier called the minister all forms of unprintable names and promised to wait for him at the polls should he emerge as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer.

Meanwhile, the leader of Project Nigeria and member of the federal house of representatives, Hon Chidi Nwogu maintained that Nwajiuba’s young age is his selling point to Nigerians.

“Hon Nwajiuba is one of the oldest and most reliable politicians. Not old in terms of age, he is actually a young person. And you can see the young group who are supporting him. This is actually a young group because of the not-too-young-to-run Act.

“The president has promised that this time around anybody who is going to run for presidency must be under 60 and these young people came together to purchase form for him because they saw him credible and hardworking” he said.

Nwajiuba is not the only minister who is guilty of dancing on the dire educational sector in Nigeria as the Hon. Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has also declared his intention to vie for president.