APC lacks interest in education, allows ASUU strike to fester —PDP

•Tinubu has blueprint on education —Spokesman

IF the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, is elected president, the industrial dispute in the education sector which is festering under the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will become a thing of the past. 

The National Publicity Secretary of the main opposition party, Debo Ologunagba, gave this assurance in an interview with Saturday Tribune. 

This is just as Atiku’s major opponent and candidate of the ruling APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, promised that the protracted face-off between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would be a thing of the past if he is elected the president next year. 

Tinubu spoke through one of the spokespersons of his presidential campaign organisation, Festus Keyamo. 

The PDP spokesman, Ologunagba, told Saturday Tribune that as someone who knows the value of education and has invested heavily in the sector, Atiku would approach the sector in a way that ensures industrial harmony. 

He said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had been unable to resolve the strike embarked upon by the university-based unions led by ASUU, now in its sixth month, because the president does not appreciate the value of education. 

According to the PDP spokesman, beyond the setting up of committees, the administration has been lethargic in its approach to resolving the strike. 

He stated that the presidential candidate of the PDP had investments in educational institutions from nursery to university level and is therefore equipped with the rudiments of running a functional education system. 

Ologunagba observed that Atiku’s educational institutions had never gone on strike for one day and the former vice president would replicate the situation if he assumes power in 2023. On what Atiku will do differently on ASUU strike, he said: “It has to do with whether you think education is important for national development or not and our candidate believes that it is. “He is a beneficiary of what education means. 

Because of his interest in education, he has a nursery school, he has a primary school, he has a secondary school and he has a university, and not for one day, not for one minute have they ever gone on strike because he understands the importance of education and he understands the need to have industrial harmony in the educational sector. 

“For any country to do well, it must educate its people and it is a fundamental right of citizens to have education. 

“From that premise alone, he has bias, he has the attitude of someone who knows that education is important. Therefore, he would do all that is necessary to ensure that all the industrial disputes are laid to rest. 

“In contrast, Buhari has no emotional attachment to education and therefore the attention required cannot be there. 

“Committees after committees without the physical consent of engagement with the president will not deliver the results that we expect.” 

Ologunagba added: “What will be different with Atiku is that he is a man with passion for education, a beneficiary, and he understands the importance of education. 

“So, the approach will be different. It will be a constructive discussion, engagement, understanding the issues and showing that the resolution is completely away from the lethargic attitude of the APC government. 

“Education will be given the pride of place that it deserves. 

“So, the PDP government will be different. His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, is a person who has passion for education, who recognizes the importance of education, having invested in it because he knows the value in the life of the individual, in the life of the community, in the life of a nation.” 

Also, Tinubu, in promising to end incessant strikes by ASUU, said he had prepared a workable document to address the challenges in the education sector and bring about the needed reforms. 

The Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Keyamo, who spoke for the former Lagos State governor, said: “We have a policy document on that. We have a blueprint which we are going to unveil very soon. I can’t give the details now but it will go a long way to put an end to the ASUU-FG misunderstanding.” 

Asked when that will be done, he said: “I can’t give you a specific date now.”

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