The Federal Government has inaugurated its 16-member team tasked with renegotiating the 2009 agreement with unions in Nigerian universities, headed by Wale Babalakin.
Speaking at a ceremony held in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said: “The inauguration of the Renegotiating Team is significant as it confirms to the unions that government is committed to keeping to its own side of the promise and in ensuring that an environment that is conducive for teaching, learning, research and community service is engendered through lasting industrial harmony in all our tertiary education institutions.”
Assuring the renegotiating team of the full support of government, the minister charged the members to “undertake this important responsibility with patriotism, dedication, mutual trust and selflessness, considering that the future and stake of the university system will be affected by its success or otherwise.”
The Chairman of the Team, Wale Babalakin, responded by saying: “We want to thank the government for considering us worthy of this enormous assignment.”
He noted that the setting up and inauguration of the team bore testimony to the education minister’s commitment to the actualisation of the vision of the 2009 Agreement.
“We want to also assure you that we intend to rise even beyond your expectations for the furtherance of tertiary education in Nigeria. This task should not be underestimated but with the commitment of all, we will provide a very serious enhancement for education in Nigeria,” Mr. Babalakin declared.
Giving his remarks on behalf of the unions was Biodun Ogunyemi, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. He said: “This is a dream come true, and we only hope it does not end up at the level of dream.”
The ASUU President expressed his appreciation to government, saying, “We want to thank you for this platform, and hope for a useful engagement.”
Mr. Adamu assured that: “The administration does not consider the unions enemies.”
He further observed that the unions are patriotic people whose struggle is not for their own personal gain.
In a statement to the press, Mr. Babalakin noted that: “A conducive environment in the tertiary institution is the bedrock for the development of a nation’s intelligentsia. A nation’s development can be seriously enhanced by the active participation of the intelligence in the pursuit of the country’s developmental goals.”
The team signalled its readiness for the task ahead and hit the ground running by holding a meeting straight after the inauguration ceremony.
The first full meeting of the FG Team for Renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU Agreement is scheduled for March 6.