Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria has yesterday said that university lecturers stampeded the government into signing the 2009 agreement which has been a source of incessant strikes by the teachers.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is currently on strike over the failure of the government to implement the agreement.
Speaking at a book presentation yesterday at the University of Ibadan, he said the government allowed itself to be pushed into signing agreement without full consultation within government.
However, he added that regardless of that, the government was bound to implement whatever agreement reached with workers’ unions.
He said: “Government allows itself to be stampeded into signing the agreement particularly when one group or the other withdraws their service and go on strike. After the agreement has been signed, without full consultation within government and implementation becomes an issue.
“But an agreement is an agreement whoever the agent is that signed that agreement on your behalf, you are bound by it. You may now have to renegotiate to have a new agreement but the agreement earlier signed remains an agreement.
“The university teachers go on strike, there is an agreement; doctors go on strike, there will be a special agreement. And when the university teachers see that the agreement reached with the doctors is different from theirs, they again go on strike and this is bad for our economy.
“The way we are going about spending all our revenue to pay overhead, we will not develop. And we will have ourselves to blame. Ninety per cent of revenue is used to pay overhead, allowances, salaries and not much is left for capital development.
“In a situation like that, we have to rethink.
“It is even worse for the National Assembly. They will abuse me again but I will never stop talking about them. They are a bunch of unarmed robbers.
“They are one of the highest paid in the world where we have 75 per cent of our people living in abject poverty. They will abuse me tomorrow and if they don’t, maybe they are sleeping. The behaviour and character of the National Assembly should be condemned and roundly condemned.”
The book presented by Prof. Mark Nwagwu is titled: “I am Kagara, I Weave the Sands of Sahara”.
Obasanjo as the chief host while a former Minister of Education Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, was chair person.
Ezekwesili described the 289-page book as a tool for Nigeria to examine the extent to which she had lost her values and culture.
She decried the loss of community spirit, warning that Nigeria must never negotiate her values.
According to her, the world was currently such that humanity tried to figure out what happened to morality.
Book reviewer Mr Nwachukwu Egbunike, noted the theme of feminism and how women navigate life intricacies towards achieving success in life.
Egbunike also lauded the author’s ability to weave around different concepts in both the spirit and natural world.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, University of Ibadan, Professor Olanike Adeyemo remarked that Nwagwu’s book was a veritable instrument to help the younger generation keep touch with culture.