The campaign organisation for the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has knocked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, over his comments on the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
Atiku had, on Friday, at a youth programme to commemorate the International Youth Day 2022, stated that he took an exception to the ongoing ASUU strike, condemning the inability of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to resolve the lingering strike, which is in its sixth month since February 14, 2022. He noted that it would never happen under his administration or a Peoples Democratic Party government.
Atiku, in the video posted via his verified Twitter handle, @atiku, on Friday, said, “I take very strong exception to the strike by ASUU and the government’s inability to resolve the crisis. It will never happen under a PDP government or under my administration.
Atiku noted that he had “been investing in education for the past 30 years,” from Primary to Secondary and to tertiary education, noting that “we have never gone on strike for even one day.”
“I pledge I will work with university authorities to end these incessant strikes that are causing unacceptable harm to the ability of our children to get an education.
“I believe the PDP provides the best platform for you to actualise your individual, collective aspirations, Atiku said.
Reacting in a statement late Saturday, signed by the Spokesperson for Sowore 2023 Presidential Campaign organisation, Onyinye-Gandhi Chukwunyere, the organisation noted that Atiku’s claim that such ASUU strike would never happen under his administration or a PDP government was a “reflection of Atiku’s dishonesty with the Nigerian people.”
The group stated that education was grossly underfunded under the PDP government where Atiku was Vice President.
“We wish to remind Mr. Atiku that under the PDP government, with him as Vice President from 1999 to 2007, the nation’s education sector was woefully neglected and grossly under-funded. Indeed, the seeds of the current crisis in the sector were sown by that administration, and it was under its watch that the shameful trend of incessant ASUU strikes began.
“Atiku and his PDP oversaw about seven industrial actions by ASUU, including a major strike in 2003 which kept Nigerian students at home for about six months.
“The PDP’s disdain for the education of Nigerians was so pronounced that its budgetary allocations to education consistently remained below nine per cent of the national budget, and significantly off the 25% recommendation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation.
The group said Sowore was ready to boost the education sector with robust plans of adequate funding for teaching, learning, and research infrastructure, as well as staff welfare.
“Sowore will make the aggressive investment in education necessary to propel the nation into the ambitious future we envisage,” the statement said.