The National Industrial Court last week ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its seven-month-old strike.
This and four other stories dominated public discourse last week.
1. Court’s ruling on ASUU strike
On September 21, Justice Polycarp Hamman ordered varsity lecturers to suspend their ongoing strike and return to classrooms.
The judge, who gave the order while ruling on the Federal Government’s application for an interlocutory injunction against the strike, said: “The ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has done irreparable damage to the lives of the affected students and the country’s education system.
“This industrial action contravenes Section 18(1)(2) of the Trade Disputes Act.”
Why it matters
The court’s ruling suggests arm-twisting of the varsity lecturers by the federal government after failing to honour an agreement signed by both parties.
The development could mean there is no end in sight to the crisis that has crippled the country’s university system for more than 200 days, with the government and ASUU not willing to shift grounds on their positions.
This does not bode well for a country that has fallen behind its peers in various development indexes and relies on education to drive its future aspirations.
2. Wike-backed rumblings in PDP campaign council
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyal to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on September 21 announced their withdrawal from the party’s presidential campaign council over the continued retention of Iyorchia Ayu as national chairman.
The members announced the decision in a communique issued at the end of their meeting held at the Rivers State Government House in Port Harcourt and read by the party’s former Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Bode George.
It read: “The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before the horse, the pertinent issue remains the Ayu leadership.
“We, therefore, resolve that Senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the National Chairman for an acting chairman of southern Nigeria extraction.
“We resolved not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr Iyorchia Ayu.”
Why it matter
The development may have sounded a death knell on the PDP’s 2023 aspiration with all parties appearing to have reached a point of no return in their frosty relationship.
Unless a miracle happens, the party is in danger of serious implosion as the clock ticks towards the 2023 elections and this may be the beginning of the end of a party that once prided itself as Africa’s biggest political organisation.
Disagreement among members and leaders of a political party and associations is a common feature of a democratic system and how this is handled determines the longevity and survival of such a set up. This is the time for PDP to put its house in order.
3. Lamido’s bid to quash fraud charges
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on September 20 dismissed a no-case submission filed by former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, in his trial for alleged N712 million fraud.
In her ruling on the application, the judge ruled that the ex-governor has a case to answer and asked him to enter his defence on the charges.
She said: “The former governor’s application lacked merit and is hereby dismissed. He should enter his defence on the fraud charges proffered against him by the prosecution.”
Why it matters
The ruling reinforces the position of law in the conduct of men. It also shows that people cannot always get away with bad conduct if agencies saddled with the task of holding people accountable for their actions carry out their duties diligently and are able to discharge their burden of proof.
It, therefore, reinforces the call for the strengthening of the anti-graft agencies to carry out their functions effectively when the need arises and check public office holders from abusing their positions.
4. Buhari’s anti-graft crusade in Africa
President Muhammadu Buhari on September 24 challenged African leaders to fight tirelessly against corruption in their various countries.
The president, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made the call at a High-Level side event in New York, the United States.
He said: “Over the years, we came to the painful realization of how deeply embedded corruption has become in our countries and continent as well as how corrosive it can be.
“Corruption has dwarfed our growth and tainted our nations and continent.
”Africa remains at the far end of the development index and concerted efforts made in the last few years need to be sustained, deepened by good governance and accountability that are guided by the rule of law.”
Why it matters
The president’s call speaks to the magnitude of corruption in most countries on the continent, especially among the leaders.
It is no brainer that corruption remains the continent’s most deadly pandemic and has continued to perpetuate poverty, skews decisions and diverts scarce funds and resources required by the citizens to improve their livelihoods.
Buhari may well be speaking to himself and the administration he leads. And, the pertinent questions to answer are whether his leadership has done much to address the issues he highlighted or, indeed, reinforces the general feeling that Africa lacks visionary leaders.
5. Supreme Court’s ruling on PDP’s presidential ticket
The Supreme Court on September 23 dismissed a suit which sought to compel the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its presidential ticket to the South-East.
PDP presidential aspirant, Cosmos Ndukwe, filed the suit in April to challenge the party’s decision to throw open its presidential ticket to all the six geopolitical zones in the country.
Justice Adamu Jauro, who delivered the ruling, dismissed the application for lack of jurisdiction.
He said: “This suit is not justiciable because the nomination of candidates for election is an internal affair of political parties.
“The application is hereby dismissed.”
Why it matters
The ruling affirms the inalienable right of a party to take decisions it deemed best for its aspiration, including the nomination of candidates for elective positions.
It may also propel Nigerians to drop the emphasis on primordial considerations including ethnicity and religion in the country’s leadership recruitment process.
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