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QuickRead: Registration of ASUU splinter groups. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The Federal Government last week registered two breakaway factions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), and National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) as trade unions in the universities.

This and four other stories were among the highlights of national events last week.

1.    Registration of ASUU splinter groups

On October 4, the federal government presented certificates of registration to CONUA and NAMDA in Abuja.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who presented the certificates to the two unions, later told journalists that ASUU had outlived its relevance.

He said: “The CONUA people have been accusing me of being a friend to ASUU. I was doing the right thing. They submitted their application in 2019, accusing ASUU of being undemocratic in its activities…
“So they put more pressure on me. I exercised my power under the Trade Union Act. ASUU can go to court if angered by the new development. The new unions were registered because of their peculiarities. And they have said they’re no strikers and that they would improve the system with a new approach.”

Why it matters

The move speaks to the determination of the federal government to arm-twist the varsity teachers into dropping their agitations and return to the classrooms.

The registration of the breakaway factions is an orchestrated plan by Aso Rock to further break the rank of ASUU and reduce its influence in the nation’s university system.

It, however, remains to be seen if the decision will stand as the union has declared its intention to challenge the move in court.

For ASUU, Nigerians are waiting to see if the union would back down on its agitation and end the eight-month-old strike that has crippled the universities after losing for the second time in court.

2. Release of remaining 23 Kaduna train hostages

Terrorists on October 5 released the remaining 23 passengers of the Abuja-Kaduna train abducted on March 28. The Secretary, Chief of Defense Staff Action Committee, Prof. Usman Yusuf, confirmed the release of the hostages in a statement in Abuja.

He said, among others: “I am pleased to announce to the nation and the world that at 4:00 p.m. today, Wednesday, October 5, 2022, the seven-man Presidential Committee assembled by the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train on March 28, 2022…”

Why it matters

Although the release of the remaining hostages is a welcome development, the claim in some quarters about a prisoner swap with Boko Haram if proven to be true, may diminish hopes in the government’s readiness to tackle terrorism and other security challenges head-on.

It will also cast into doubt the government’s claim on the recent success recorded by troops against the terrorists who may be bidding their time before striking again in a more devastating fashion.

3. Adeboye the raises alarm on Nigeria

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on October 3 urged Nigerians to embark on prayers and fasting for the nation.

Adeboye, who made the call at the RCCG’s monthly thanksgiving service, said: “Nigerians should stop deceiving themselves and come to terms with the fact that there is no peace in the country.
“A whole nation can be in a storm. If a governor cannot go to his farm and feel safe, despite the security guards, He has to thank God that he returned safely, despite the bodyguard…”

Why it matters

The cleric’s remark is an illustration of the state of disorderliness in Nigeria, with Boko Haram insurgents and bandits turning the Northern part of Nigeria into a killing field, and rest of the country in seeming state of anarchy.

The current administration’s action or inaction has emboldened the insurgents and other criminals in their heinous crimes so much that nobody or anywhere is safe in the country again.

With a gradual descent into a failed state, the onus is, therefore, on the government to wake up to its responsibility of protecting Nigerians before leaving the stage next May.

READ ALSO: QuickRead: Akeredolu’s call for devolution of power. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

4.  Allegations of corruption against Ayu

The Forum of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on October 4 accused the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, and other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) of corruption.

Other persons mentioned by the group are the National Secretary, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu, and Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagum.

In a communique issued at the end of their meeting held in Abuja, the forum demanded the resignation of the three men within 48 hours or face legal action that would forcefully remove them from office.

The communique read: “We demand the immediate resignation of the three men and appointment of Acting National Chairman before the allegation against the officials can be investigated…”

Why it matters

With the dust yet to settle on the alleged bribery of PDP NWC members by certain individuals and the return of N122.5 million to the party’s coffers, the latest claim by the party’s candidates points to the culture of impunity in the party.

The perceived rot in PDP may just be a general pointer to the integrity deficit in most of the country’s political parties where adherence to basic processes and transparency is in acute short supply.

This, therefore, suggests that the country’s major opposition party, and, indeed, others have not weaned themselves of the character flaws that were the hallmarks of party politics the fourth republic.

5.    NASS to pass Electoral Offences Commission bill

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Kabir Gaya, said on October 6 the National Assembly would pass the bill on the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission before the 2023 general elections.

Gaya, who disclosed in a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, said the Senate had forwarded its own version of the bill to the House of Representatives, and was waiting for the House’s agreement on it.

He said: “It’s on the drawing table. Already the Senate has done its own, and it’s now left to the House to concur and agree with that. It will be ready before the 2023 elections, and we are working on that. We want to use it for the 2023 elections.”

Why it matters

The electoral offences commission may go a long way in checking the conduct of candidates and their supporters in the 2023 elections.

However, hopes of a radical change may be dimmed given the manipulative tendencies of the state, the incurable appetite of the ruling class to indulge in anti democratic ventures, and the inherent weaknesses of the institutions of governance.

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