The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it would negotiate the 2009 agreement with the team set up by the Federal Government.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said the agreement was the principle of collective bargaining made with staff unions in universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
He said ASUU will criticize President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign medical trips.
Ogunyemi said ASUU will also disagree with the Federal Government, if what they offer does not satisfy the demands of the university lecturers.
He said, “We are anxiously waiting for the government to inaugurate its negotiating team because it is going to be a full regime of renegotiation. They will invite is when they do that. We believe that they are still perfecting their procedures.”
He added, “Like I said, we don’t want to jump the process by expressing opinions that will look prejudicial. We want that process to commence. If they give us what we like, we will work together. But if they don’t give us what we like, we will take them on. We have our own procedure for engaging government. We have done it on a number of occasions, way back since 1992 when we signed the first agreement with government.
“So, the documents we are reviewing are products of this procedure. We always engage government because we believe in the principle of collective bargaining. So, it is the principle of collective bargaining that is guiding and driving us. We will see what they will bring to the table and we will also present our own position.”
On the President’s foreign medical trips, Prof. Ogunyemi said, “If you come to think of it, billions of naira are allocated to health facilities at the State House. It is rather unfortunate that with all that, he (the President) can still not get the best of healthcare here. He will not be the first public figure to seek treatment abroad. Other senior government officials have been flown out in recent times.
“So, we believe that the solution to this so-called medical tourism is for government to fix the facilities in the country, not just for the public, but also for themselves and we can save huge sums of money in the process. We have always observed in the educational sector that in the search for the best, we must be conscious of the fact that there was a time we were counted among the best.
“If you talk about education, there was a time when we attracted students who came to study in Nigerian universities. No school can do that now. We can also develop our health institutions such that our country can become a centre for medical tourism. We have what it takes. The only thing lacking is the political will. But ASUU will continue to engage government until they do the correct thing.’’