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Tertiary Education May Collapse Under Buhari, Health Workers Warn

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Professional healthcare providers under the auspices of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) have berated the Federal Government for failure to address the demands raised by unions within the university system.
The union said it was most heart-breaking watching the presidency feigning ignorance to the demands raised by the unions, while the political actors are busy squandering billions of Naira aspiring to occupy leadership positions.
In a joint statement, yesterday, signed by MHWUN’s National President, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah; and Acting Secretary General, Comrade Auwalu Yusuf Kiyawa; respectively, they insisted that the government must meet the demands of the unions, if it hopes to salvage tertiary education from imminent collapse.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), among other unions, have been on strike owing to alleged discrepancies in implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payrolls and Information System (IPPIS), including other issues bothering on infrastructural development.
The union insisted that they were in solidarity with the proposed national strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as their members have been put on red alert to hit the streets once a date was agreed on.
NLC had issued a notice to mobilise its affiliate unions for a nationwide solidarity strike with ASUU but was yet to carry out the threat.
Throwing its weight behind the struggle, MHWUN said, “We have followed with a keen interest the ongoing industrial impasse in the country’s public tertiary institutions, which had led to their closure since February 14, 2022, and the lethargic response of the government in addressing the problem.
“The ASUU, NASU, SAUTHRIAI, NAAT had been on strike for more than five months due to the apparent failure of government to sign the re-negotiated 2009 Agreement with ASUU, failure to honour the terms reached at the May, 2021, MoU signed with ASUU, and habitual failure of government to respect Collective Bargaining Agreements willingly signed with unions.
“Also in contention is the refusal of the government to adopt the home-grown innovative solutions provided by the unions in the payment of university workers’ salaries.
“It is equally disheartening to note that since the unfortunate strike started, government actions and response to such a huge national embarrassment had been more of ‘motion without movement’.
“If anything, government’s response has not gone beyond the watery statement of ‘we are meeting with the unions…’ or the usual out-dated tactics of blackmailing union leaders as in similar situations.
“No responsible government would close down its public tertiary institutions in this 21st Century because of patriotic demands for a better funding of its universities and good welfare for its teaching and non-teaching staff. This is shameful.
“The leadership of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria is particularly irked that the Federal Government and the political actors have abandoned the children of the poor masses at home to waste away, instead they are seen dissipating energy and resources that could have been used to resolve the issue to fund political tussle to occupy plum offices that previous occupiers have failed to use for the benefit of the masses.
“We are more worried with the development because the academic future of the citizenry is being disrupted whereas the politicians and top government officials have their children mostly in well-funded and equipped overseas schools or in relatively expensive private schools in Nigeria.
“Discerning minds will agree with us that the negative impact of the strike on the future of our children and Nigeria in general cannot be quantified. We call on people of goodwill to stand up in defense of the right and future of our children and Nigeria, by demanding government to do the right thing and bring back these children to the classroom.
“We condemn in strong terms the lethargic attitude of the government in resolving the issues in contention.
“In order to protect the future of our youths whose academic life is being disrupted, we call on the government to implement without further delay all the agreements it had entered with the unions. We urge the relevant MDAs to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier directive to resolve all outstanding issues with the unions is backed by immediate acceptable action that would end the stalemate.
“MHWUN wishes to use this medium to unequivocally state that we firmly stand behind the university based unions and the clear position of NLC leadership in this historic struggle.
“Our state councils have been put on a red alert, as we will not hesitate to declare a solidarity strike in support of the unions if the government fails to resolve the issue within a reasonable time”.
The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria also condemned in the strongest terms the spate of insecurity in the country, saying the rising orgies of killing, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and extreme agitation for secession have assumed a dangerous dimension.
According to MHWUN, “hardly any day passes by without reports of security challenges in some parts of the country. Human lives have become so cheap and without value”.
Josiah said Nigerian workers were no longer safe both at their homes and at work places, as many have lost their lives to these enemies of state.
“We, therefore, demand for a resolute action from the government to end this degrading assault on the sovereignty of our nation.
“We equally condemn the current scarcity of diesel, cooking gas, petrol and aviation fuel, and the rising wave of arbitrary prices all over the country.
“This pathetic development has further exposed workers whose salaries and income has already been eroded by inflation, to greater hardship. The situation reinforced the earlier call by the organised labour for a resolute action on domestic refining of petroleum.
“According to its 2021 OPEC report, Nigeria export petroleum products worth $27.73billion, but imported refined products of $71.28billion, leaving a deficit of $43.46billion. (OPEC Report: March 21, 2022).
“To our union, there is no better time to end the madness of petrol importation than now.
“Finally, as political activities are hitting up, it has become obvious that the same political actors that have brought us anguish, hunger, pains, death, social and economic woes are seriously preparing to return to power. We wish to state that it will no longer be business as usual.
“We wish to reiterate our earlier call to all our members across the country to ensure they register and obtain their PVCs and wait for further directive from the leadership of the union as Nigerian workers’ are prepared to take back their country from the economic buccaneers,” the statement added.

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Inflation: Govs Meet Buhari Over Economic Woes, Insecurity, Today

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Worried by the economic woes in the country, the 36 governors would, today, meet at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, to discuss the way forward.
In a statement, yesterday, the Director, Media and Public Affairs of Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, declared that the state of the nation’s economy would dominate conversations during the meeting.
According to the statement, “several governors reasoned that it is high time to tell each other the bare truth by confronting each other on the situation and brainstorming on it.”
The statement noted that: “This formed the basis for resorting to an in-person meeting which since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has been relegated by the states’ executives.
“Two things will feature prominently in the conversation: the economy and security. This will be the first time in the year, contrary to media reports that governors had collectively advised the president on the weeding of fifty-year-olds from the federal civil service and other spurious suggestions meant to impose further hardship on the people, that governors will collectively meet to consider a total overhaul of the nation’s economy.
“The meeting which, according to the invitation issued by the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Asishana Bayo Okauru, will commence at 2pm. It begins with the launch of the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund, followed by the launch of the World Bank SFTAS charter before the real conversation on the state of the economy begins.
“There will also be such regular updates as the CARES programme and the chairman’s remarks. All governors are warmly welcome.”

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2023: Momodu Urges Atiku To Sign Peace Pact With Rivers Gov …Says Fear Of Wike, Beginning Of Wisdom In PDP

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A former presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dele Momodu, has suggested a solution to the rift between the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Momodu suggested that a close-door dialogue between Atiku and Wike would resolve the rift between the two politicians.
There has been a rift between the pair after the PDP presidential primaries in Abuja.
Weighing in on the face-off, the veteran journalist said both politicians should possibly sign a pact and agree on deliverables.
Momodu said the fallout of the PDP post-national convention crisis has shown that Wike was a force to reckon with in the party ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
According to Momodu: “What I would advise Atiku Abubakar to do today is to sit down one-on-one without no other person present with Governor Wike and agree on deliverables, if possible, sign an agreement.
“The situation in PDP shows what Wike is in the equation of things in Nigeria. If you have a man who is your best governor across the board, across party lines, Wike stands out as a fantastic performer.
“Today, the fear of Wike is the beginning of wisdom in PDP, there is no question about that. Wike is smart, he knows the game he’s playing, and what he wants to do is to force a deal with the party. That’s my own reading of the situation.”

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Wike Labels Disgruntled Elders As Traitors …Says He’s A Fulfilled Leader …He Was Best Performing LG Chairman In Rivers -Odili

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused some elders of ganging up against him because they did not scale through the primary to be the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The governor explained that some of them, on his 2021 birthday, who indicated interest to fly the ticket, but failed at their bid to clenching it are now in Abuja plotting against him.
Wike spoke, last Monday, during the 74th birthday reception organised to honour the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, at the private residence built and donated to him by the state government in Old Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
The governor said those elders came to him in their own accord and showed a commitment that they would stay to see through what they came to convince him about.
“On my last birthday, 12midnight, some of our elders called me that they want to see me. They came to me and said they came to wish me happy birthday.
“Then, they presented me a letter that I should run for president. All of them including Dr. Abiye (Sekibo) signed the document.
“I say okay, you people too should go and give me someone who will be governor after me. They all sat there, looking left and right.
“I asked them, those of you who are interested to be governor should raise your hands. Everybody raised his hand. One person didn’t raise his hand, Senator Bari Mpigi. I asked why he was not interested, he replied, sir, let me hold what God has given me. I don’t want to lose the two.”
Wike noted that the elders also signed to a document that they would abide by whatever becomes the outcome of the governorship primary.
But governor expressed the regrets that since they were not successful, they have turned around now to allege that he was pursuing a third term bid.
“Some persons don’t know the history. They go and tell all kinds of story. But the truth is this; all of them (elders) signed the document prepared by O.C.J. Okocha that whoever I will bring, they will abide by it.
“But now, they went to Abuja that I must not be vice president. I also read, yesterday, when I was in Paris, one of them saying that I told him that if they do to me what they did to Dr. Peter Odili; that I will collapse the system.
“I am not an ungrateful person; and I will never be ungrateful in my life. What’s important is that I have done well as a governor. I am happy and I am leaving office a happy man.”
The Rivers State governor recalled that when Dr. Peter Odili was to run for the office of the president, he had a large crowd following, happily.
He noted that when the issue of governorship of Rivers State was to be decided and he did not give those who wanted it, they all left him, ran to Abuja to thwart his presidential ambition.
Wike, however, said he has been holding on to the advise of the former governor, hence he was not surprised at the turn of events and the outcome of the PDP presidential primary.
He described Dr. Peter Odili a true leader of men, who groomed many, and supported a lot of persons to political lamplight, particularly in Rivers State and across the country.
“There was a time every political class abandoned Odili. This is a man who gave us everything. Some people called him ‘Mr. Donatus’. There was no abuse he did not get. Everybody he tried to help their families, at the end of the day, all betrayed him.
“For us, we have used him as a school, and we thank him for making himself available for us to use him to learn so that we won’t be shocked of whatever that is going to happen.”
Wike expressed delight at the opportunity to have known Odili and being able to celebrate him.
He pointed to the several support and the gains from the political tutelage under Odili that had made him accomplish his political successes.
He reiterated that Odili’s benevolence made it possible for Ikwerre sons to emerge governors of Rivers State.
In his response, the former Governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili said, himself and his wife, Hon. Justice Mary Odili (rtd) were overwhelmed by the birthday gift, courtesy of the state government.
Odili explained that during his tenure as governor, Wike was the best performing council chairman in the state.
He lauded Wike for investing in human capacity development, infrastructure and building the best law school campus in Port Harcourt.
In his goodwill message, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, harped on the need for all Nigerians to work together to enthrone fairness, justice and equity in all facet of society, which Odili has always stood for.
Also speaking, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, noted that Odili was a great leader who had impacted on many lives across the country.
Similarly, former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, commended Odili for being a role model and comporting himself very well after leaving office.
In his homely at the thanksgiving mass, Monsignor Pius Kii, said Nigeria missed the opportunity of having Dr. Peter Odili as their president because he would have used his farsighted ability, courage and adaptive capacities to solve Nigeria’s many problems.
Similarly, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, felicitated with Dr. Peter Odili, as he celebrated his 74th Birthday, last Monday.
In her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, Banigo said as the father of the modern Rivers State, Odili has continued to be a great leadership icon, whose leadership style impacted positively on the lives of Rivers people and beyond during his tenure as the governor of Rivers State.
Banigo, who expressed gratitude to Odili for his support to the Wike-led administration, described him as a philanthropist per excellence, a great patriot and astute statesman.
The deputy governor while wising him many happy returns, prayed the Almighty God to continue to bless and keep Odili in good health.

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