Students under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Sunday threatened not to allow the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) hold the national conventions for electing their presidential candidates.
The students insisted that none of the two political parties would have its primary election scheduled to hold in Abuja, the nation’s capital this May unless the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is resolved and the striking lecturers return to work soon.
In a statement entitled ‘End ASUU Strike or Forget Political Activities in Abuja,’ the NANS National President, Sunday Asefon, expressed anger on the prolonged strike that has started since February 14, 2022.
The students condemned the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Chris Ngige; for picking up the “outrageous N100 million” presidential forms of their party when the ASUU strike remain unresolved and students are kept at home indefinitely.
The statement partly read:“We have also in the past weeks seen those saddled with great responsibility in the education sector and those saddled with responsibilities of resolving labour crises declaring interest to contest for the seat of the President come 2023.
“We are surprised by their effrontery and total disrespect to the Nigerian people for having the courage to even mute the idea of contesting talkless of picking up the 100million naira presidential form while students languish at home because of their collective failures.
“Politicians have shown no concern to the plight of the students but are only busy in their selfish and inordinate ambitions to become the next President.
“Let me say without mincing words, the two major political parties should forget any political gathering in Abuja who elsewhere except there is a solution to the lingering ASUU strike.
“We will frustrate all the activities leading to the selection of party candidates if we remain on strike. We also want to advise the government and the politicians who are busy campaigning to be President to either resolve the ASUU crises or give direct orders to the security operative to shoot us at the site during party conventions to select a presidential candidate. If we remain on strike, they should just forget it.”
It would be recalled that the ASUU had embarked on a 9-month strike in 2020 before it was called off in December of that year and resumed a 4-week warning strike again on Monday February 14, 2022 when its demands are not met by the Federal Government (FG).
Also by extending the warning strike on its expiration on March 14, 2022 again by two months, the union’s leader, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the extension was to give the FG time to meet the body’s lingering demands.