Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in power in 2009 was responsible for the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
ASUU has been on strike since February 14.
Speaking on Trust TV’s ‘Daily Politics’ on Monday, Keyamo said that the 2009 agreement the PDP-led government had with ASUU was the bone of contention.
Keyamo, who is the spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, said it was irresponsible of the PDP government to have signed an agreement which conditions it could not fulfill.
He noted that there were 12 ASUU strikes amounting to 900 days between 1999 and 2015, when the PDP handed over to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The ASUU thing you are talking about. What is the problem of ASUU now? It’s the 2009 agreement signed by PDP government. They signed agreements with ASUU (that) they couldn’t fulfill. We had to inherit those agreements and now struggling to renegotiate those agreements.
“Imagine how irresponsible a government can be when they went into agreements with ASUU and signed conditions that they couldn’t fulfill and that is why ASUU is on strike; so let us tell Nigerians that ASUU is not on strike because APC signed an agreement with them. It was the PDP that signed the agreement.
“We are not shifting blame; we are going to tackle the problem. Between 1999 and 2015 when they handed over to the APC, ASUU was on strike 12 times. I have the statistics amounting to 900 days,” he said.
Responding, Keyamo’s counterpart on the PDP presidential campaign council, Daniel Bwala said that the PDP government during the mentioned ASUU strikes always constructively engaged the union.
He said that ASUU has always accused this present government of insincerity.
“Ask Adams Oshiomhole who was the Lord Lugard of labour unionism of that time. He was very blunt, strong and constant on that.
“In all of those periods when they were on strike either by ASUU or any of the labour unions around the time of PDP, there were constructive engagements, which means all parties were honest, and realistic.
“The argument ASUU is making on all occasions when they were on strike: this present government shifts the goal post.”