21st May, 2010
The National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, has argued that for a free, fair and credible electoral process to take place in the country,Â there must be a systematic and holistic sanitisation of the electoral system recommended by the Justice Uwais report.
Prof. Awuzie, who stated this while briefing newsmen in Makurdi at the end of the 16th Delegates Conference of the union, also lamented that inadequate funding of the nationâ€™s universities by the Federal Government has made youths to leave the country in droves to study in other countries.
The ASUU President maintained that in as much as the recent removal of the immediate past INEC chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu, was a welcome development, the sanitization of INEC must include the removal and replacement of all the commissioners in the country since they are co-conspirators in the electoral fraud that has characterised the system
He also condemned the statement credited to the Senate President, David Mark, that the UWAIS report is neither a Qu’ran nor a Bible, charging him to come to terms that the report was a product of consultation amongst a wide range of Nigerians, thus, commands more credibility than whatever tinkering the National Assembly might want to do.
The union, therefore, called on all public officers to always show some restraints in their public utterances. He said it’s unfortunate when such is coming from a number three citizen of the country, who is supposed to be critical about the collective yearning of the people.
Speaking further on the inadequate funding of the university system, Awuzie lamented that over 70, 000 Nigerian students are paying $1 billion (N150 billion) as tuition fees in Ghanaian universities for education.
He regretted that budgetary allocation to the entire educationÂ sector has declined between 1995 and 2008.
â€œBudgetary allocation to education has remained grossly below the accepted minimum of 26% for education,â€ he said.
Commenting on the 22 October , 2009 agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU,Â Awuzie, who argued that the agreement recommends a progressive funding of education by both federal and state governments until the benchmark of 26% annual budgetary allocation to education is attained, expressed regret over the slow pace of implementation by the government.
He stressed that there is no evidence given in the 2010 budget that the various governments are willing to honour that partof the agreement.