by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Dr. Karo Ogbinaka is the Chairman ASUU/UNILAG. He is also a member of the Department of Philosophy at the University of. Lagos, Nigeria with a specialty in analytic philosophy.
After his appearance on Y! TV’s Rubbin’ Minds last Sunday, YNaija had a quick chat with him on the whole ASUU episode.
What do you think about the federal government finally agreeing to ASUU’s terms?
I’d say the federal government is having a change of attitude and a change of approach. From the body language, I think it is very clear that the federal government is comitted the 2009 agreement with ASUU.
What issue has ASUU been trying to tackle since?
The problem has been a marrige of different things. There have been existing problems in the university such as poor standards, brain drain, dilapidation of equipment, etc. We met the federal government in 2009 and we discussed funding with them. We also looked at enabling laws to make the university system more efficient, especially the working conditions. Another aspect of it was to make academics more attractive to the younger ones and also to attracted young people into the sector
Why has it taken a while for them to implement this?
I think it had to do with political will and priority, especially the issue of integrity.
Why do you feel the government is ready to stick to that agreement now?
Well, the government might be having problems of trust and credibility with Nigerians generally, but if you look at other sectors, you can see they are making an effort. So I believe they are ready.
At what point will the strike go from being suspended to being called off?
If there is need to, it will die a natural death. You can’t just wake and call a meeting to call of a strike that has been suspended. The thing is that, when things are okay, you won’t even remember there was a strike. Let’s work towards that direction.
What is ASUU’s stance on the high tuition fees being paid in some institutions?
ASUU has always condemned that. It is government policy, not the policy of the ASUU. Another fact is that, whatever fee is charged cannot even run the university. That’s the basic truth.
In your opinion, what’s the way forward?
We need to work to encourage the government to fund the educaton. The private sector needs to also come in so we can have a good educational system.