By Chidiebere

Varsity teachers remained adamant last night, saying their strike would go on, despite the government’s shifting of its position. The strike has been on for four months.

More cash has been pledged for projects on the campuses. Besides, the earned allowances due to the teachers have been increased from the initial N30 billion offer, which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) rejected. The teachers are insisting on the 2009 agreement, which they say President Goodluck Jonathan was part of. Besides, they say, they do not trust the government.

According to a circular by the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, to the staff of the school, quoted yesterday by the news website, Sahara Reporters, the government has pledged to spend N200 billion on the universities in the 2014 budget and the same amount annually for the next three to four years.

This is in addition to the N100 billion already made available this year, but which ASUU has rejected.

The government has also increased to N40 billion, as a first installment, funds for the payment of earned allowances to the striking lecturers – an improvement from the N30 billion previously released.

On the earned allowances, Aluko said: “Government will top it up with further releases once universities are through with the disbursement of this new figure of N40 million. So, Vice-Chancellors are urged to expedite this disbursement within the shortest possible time using guiding templates that have been sent by the CVC,” the circular said.

Aluko said the latest development followed meetings on September 19 and Oct 11 of representatives of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, led by its Chairman, Prof. Hamisu of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and ASUU representatives led by its President, Dr.Nasir Fagge, with Vice-President Namadi Sambo and Minister of Education Nyesome Wike.
A source in the Ministry of Education last night also confirmed that the meeting took place.
“But the government decided to leave the announcement of the decision to the ASUU chiefs,” the source said.

It was gathered that Sambo urged ASUU to call off the strike, as he apologised for the “take-it-or-leave-it” comments credited to Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the beginning of the strike. The Minister did not seem to have been involved in either meeting, perhaps as the government’s way of soothing the feelings of the university teachers.
Other points of agreement at the meetings include:

•Project Prioritisation: Universities will now be allowed to determine their priorities and not be “rail-roaded” into implementing a pre-determined set of projects with respect to the NEEDS assessment. Decisions are not to be centralized;

•TETFund Intervention: The government assured the teachers that the operations of the TETFund will not be impaired, and that the regular TETFund intervention disbursement to universities will continue, unaffected. So the NEEDS assessment capital outlays are in addition to regular TETFund intervention;

•Project Monitoring: A new Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) for the NEEDS Assessment intervention for universities has been set up to take over from the Suswam Committee. The new one is under the Federal Ministry of Education and chaired by the Minister of Education. In addition, to build confidence and ensure faithful implementation and prevent any relapse as before, the Vice President will meet quarterly with the implementors to monitor progress.

Blueprint: ASUU was mandated to submit a blueprint for revitalising the universities to the Vice President.

Prof. Aluko stated that a signed document will soon be issued to itemise the full issues on which the consensus was reached.
But ASUU last night was unimpressed with the new offer. National Treasurer Dr. Ademola Aremu said the offer failed to meet the teachers’ expectations.

He said the offer falls short of the agreement signed with ASUU by the government.
Aremu insisted that ASUU would not end the strike until the 2009 agreement is fully implemented by injecting N500 billion into the universities yearly to shore up the system’s quality.

Aremu, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said any offer below what is contained in the signed agreement, would amount to unilateral repudiation of an agreement the government willingly signed in 2009.

According to the unionist, ASUU is not making any new demand, but a mere implementation of an agreement. He pointed out that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by both parties in 2009 stated that the government would commit N1.5 trillion to the system in three years.

He said: “ Even if the Federal Government made that promise, it would be a unilateral repudiation of the 2009 agreement. By now, the government should have injected N500 billion. That amounts to N100 billion in 2012 and N400 billion in the current year.

“As a matter of fact, any new commitment from the Federal Government is belated. Implementation of the agreement ought to have started before this year. I don’t think there is any way we can trust this government, going by its past behaviour on this issue.

“The mandate from our principal as at the last time we met was that we won’t end the strike until the agreement is fully implemented.
“We do not need promises again. What we need now is actual implementation. What if they do not release the funds again after making the promise?

“It was this same Mr President that mid-wifed the agreement in 2009 when he was the Vice President. The MoU was in his custody. He studied the agreement well before asking then President Umaru Yar’Adua to sign it. We can’t trust this government.

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INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)

This piece of literature inspIred and changed a man’s life, transforming his beliefs, fears and weakness to strength even in the moment when nothing, including life, matters most.
I do not know your condition right now, but I am pretty sure you know the name “Dr. Nelson Madiba Mandela” of The Republic of South Africa.
This written words to his existence changed his life, I hope it changes your today, happy reading…


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Okereke Chidiebere Jp.

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WICKEDNESS!!! Bodies Of Students Shot In Yobe School On Sunday.

Scores of students have been killed in yet another attack by terrorist group, Boko Haram, in Yobe state.
The insurgents attacked the College of Agriculture Gujba, 50 KM south of Damaturu, the state capital yesterday night and killed several students.
A staff of the school who confirmed the attack to Channels Television said several dead bodies are still being recovered from bushes, hostels and classes in and around the school as scores were killed in the attack.
The source also revealed that surviving students are at the moment making efforts to re unite with their families in fear of further attacks by the insurgents.
The security agencies are yet to confirm the
More details soon…

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“Nigeria is chasing away its best resources” Obinze’s mother said, resignedly” in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah” (page 100). As I pondered on this very line in the light of the context in which it was used, I recall my childhood friend, way back in my Junior Secondary School days at Milly International Academy, Rivers State who called to inform me that he was going to start afresh at a university in Ukraine. A genius who was already in his 2nd year in Uniport…. guess his reason must have been “Even if I have to start from the beginning, at least, I know when I will graduate”. I am certain he isn’t the only Nigerian student who is tired of incessant strike actions by ASUU and the Federal Governments knack for betrayal of trust and disregard for agreements.

Personally, I surf the internet tirelessly in search of scholarship opportunities and essay writing contests that would potentially take to a place where education and the welfare of teachers are valued. Another friend of mine from Government Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, had to apply admission in a Ghanaian University after several failed attempts here in Nigeria. She was extremely intelligent and still is, but was never admitted in her own country. Thousands out there have faced and are still facing similar issues. Just yesterday, I was rejoicing for Emerald, my younger sister who just got admitted into Unizik after three years… as if it was a favor Unizik did her. Years later, when the current crop of leaders and intellectuals are all dead and gone, these illtrained students will be saddled with responsibilities they were never prepared to undertake and their own children and children’s children will curse and blame them. There is no way on earth you can train students with yesterday’s tools and strategys and expect them to perform magic in today’s world.

We complain of brain drain. Secondary school leavers longer bother with Admissions into Nigerian universities because it has become a dead end and graduates seek post graduate degrees abroad and when they come back, they are easily employed in companies and government parastatals because they are believed to have learned well. who then will employ the graduates whose potentials ASUU and FG have killed?

It’s clear that the students are on their own in this matter as the Federal Governments is obviously busy trying to secure his second term ticket from his Fractious Partizan political roommates and ASUU is sleeping and getting paid. And when eventually ASUU succeeds in subjecting the FG into obedience, we’ll resume school for another one week or so and then Non Academic Staff Union of Universities will embark on another strike, opposing the disparity in pay; as usual, we go back home once again…. for another long long holiday…. the cycle will only repeat itself.

No wonder Loyola Jesuit Students never study in Nigerian institutions after graduation…. It’s a pitiable bisma bisma.


It baffles me most at times when certain tales of immorality among church brethren finds its way into my ears. those who know me personally would testify to the fact that I’m not even much of a religious person. As always, I love my back seat in the church from where I sit and monitor the activities going on. sometimes, I criticise the preachers, and at other times, are busy myself watching pretty ladies and fine wives of pastors and etc. (I know what you are thinking, drop it) church for me was a routine (maybe still is) but I’ve never found hope therein.

sometimes during Sunday school, I’d engage my teachers in heated arguements about the true nature of God, the origin of evil, the sin of Satan etc… often throwing them off balance. I’d question the idea of pastors making money off their poor members and church owned institutions of learning being too expensive for the members whose tithes and offerings helped build it. I was an advocate of the devil, or so it seemed. I made enemies of unlikely friends.

Today, a new question bothers me. pastors sleeping with church members, choirs making out with themselves, politics within the ranks of pastors and deacons, suggestive dresscodes among church youths etc. anger and hatred brewing in the hearts of members, terrible addictions enslaving the leaders and members alike. it scares me how difficult it seems leading a sound Christian life. the affair doesn’t seem attractive to me and the whole churchroom theatrics appears more and more deceptive antics to exchange money for the promise of hope. I wish God would see me, just me…. the peace and happiness I seek I couldn’t find. and each time I settle for a bottle of Guineas, I sense that feeling of ecstacy dawn on me. I’d feel calmer, safer, careless, hopeful and glad so much so that I’m mostly forced to want to think God lives in the beer Parlor other than the church.

Guess, I need a philosophic kind of gospel….one without condemnation, one without tradition… kus even the fear of hell had been entirely unable to deter me from sin, and the church doesnt seem to be headed down the right path….
Udenyi Michael.
TASA Unibuja.

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