The Academic Staff Union of Universities management has disclosed that the reason it has yet to call off its ongoing strike, is because it is waiting for the Nigerian government to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
UTAS is the brain-child of ASUU, and it’s a payment platform created by ASUU in place of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
According to the ASSU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi in an interview with The PUNCH Nigeria, disclosed that the federal government needed to give clearance to the National Information Technology Development Agency to conduct an integrity test on UTAS.
Here’s his exact word on the integrity test that needs to be conducted on UTAS before the strike will be called off:
“The integrity test will be handled by NITDA, it is government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government, agency and unless you get clearance from the government that test cannot be conducted.”
When asked if the Nigerian government had accepted UTAS, Ogunyemi said, he replied and said: “We are still talking with the education minister, representing the federal government, we have given them the position of our members, and we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans.
However, the meeting that was slated for Monday was postponed, due to the unrest in the Nation. Stating the government stance on this issue, he said that in principal, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process. We had presented UTAS at three levels, and they are as follows:
- Starting with the Ministry of Education,
- Senate President and members of his team,
- Officials of Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation,
where all other stakeholders were present, including NITDA, all stakeholders have witnessed the presentation and the next stage of integrity test is what we are moving in to.
However, if the federal government of Nigeria facilitates it, it is not something that should drag for too long at all. We don’t foresee any problem with UTAS; it also depends on how early the government makes it possible for the integrity test to be conducted, so we can know the outcome, and the government’s approach to this matter will determine the longetivity of this strike.”
Ogunyemi further explained that ASUU was ready to resume academic activities if the government was ready to play its part.
Ogunyemi said that this and I quote below:
“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have issue with resuming full academic activities, but we want more sincerity on the side of government.
“We have not seen enough reasons to believe that they don’t mean what they are telling us but as soon as we see any sign to that effect. we will tell Nigerians.”
I’ve always been of the school of thought that Nigeria is yet to be called a home where Education is vital and important to the government, and the people. When the world was fighting aggressively against COVID-19, the Academic Staff Union of Universities were fighting a different fight.
Even though we are winning the fight against this COVID-19 virus, it seems that a bigger virus plagues Nigeria, far higher than any science or medicine can cure. While other sane countries and their government are fighting to ensure that they cover the syllabus of the remaining academic session left over by the savagery and ravage of COVID-19, we are still striking. Is the Nigerian future bright or bleak?
I don’t support the federal government or ASUU. Why? because the institution they seems to care about so much about, has nothing to do with their kids. I simply stand with the common man who can’t afford to send his kids abroad to study.