For the umpteenth time, the Home of Representatives’ management, spurred by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila final week started one other intervention train, aimed toward resolving the virtually seven months strike motion by the Tutorial Employees Union of Universities ASUU) over disagreements with the Federal Authorities. JOSHUA EGBODO writes on the discordance and uncertainties surrounding the engagements
A repeat intervention
The continued intervention by management of the Home of Representatives within the lingering strike by ASUU wouldn’t be the primary time Gbajabiamila is main a decision transfer. Throughout the industrial motion of the union earlier than the continuing, his intervention and engagement with key stakeholders of each events largely contributed to the top of the rift.
This time, nonetheless, the Speaker within the opinion of followers of the developments, gave the impression to be extra targeted on seeing a semblance of permanence within the anticipated decision, and for this objective, he had prolonged invitation to all authorities companies that had something factor to do with the problems at stake.
At his first assembly with ASUU, and the Federal Ministry of Training on Tuesday twentieth September, 2022, the Speaker made it clear that it was not time to beat concerning the points, however discovering options.
“We’re not right here to rehearse the issues. We’re to not be asking what occurred, or why are we the place we’re? Everyone knows the problems, and we have now to resolve the problems as soon as and for all, for our youngsters to return to courses.
Based on him, the best way to resolving the problems was for each events to shift grounds within the curiosity of the scholars, urging ASUU to make it identified, its minimal acceptable situations. “My curiosity of dialog is with the ASUU. Most individuals are with you. We’re with you”, the speaker acknowledged, and appealed that feelings be put apart in order that the wanted resolution may very well be arrived at.
Court docket confirms ASUU’s fears
On the opening of the assembly, ASUU by way of its Nationwide President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke accused the Federal Authorities of choosing punishment of its members, fairly than addressing the problems that led to the strike motion. He additionally drew consideration of the Home’s management to a pending courtroom case instituted by the federal government with the intent to compel lecturers again to work, declaring nonetheless that the transfer will probably be counterproductive.
He argued that if finally his members are requested by the courtroom to renew work, “what sort of instructing will they do? It’s like forcing a medical physician to go and deal with a affected person”, including that it was misguided to see the strike as the issue, as a result of if the strike is known as off with out addressing the problems, the colleges will turn into like public major colleges. “As a substitute of fixing the issue, we’re being punished”, he had lamented.
True to his fears within the notion of analysts, the Nationwide Industrial Court docket earlier than which the case was instituted, the next day ordered ASUU to name off its nationwide strike, pending the willpower of a swimsuit filed by the Federal Authorities. The federal government an utility for an interlocutory injunction, looking for an order restraining ASUU from persevering with with the strike.
On the ruling delivered by Justice Polycarp Hamman, the courtroom restrained ASUU from persevering with with the strike and ordered that the case file must be returned to the president of the Industrial Court docket for reassignment to a different decide, as he’s a trip decide.
He additional opined that the strike is detrimental to public college college students who can not afford to attend non-public tertiary establishments, and that the Commerce Dispute Act mandate employees to not embark on strike from the second a difficulty has been referred to it the Court docket. ASUU has filed an enchantment, citing its grounds of doing so, leaving the strike nonetheless in pressure.
The problems, amidst contemporary revelations
Speaker Gbajabiamila continued with the engagement final Thursday, as extra revelations emerged. In continuation of the efforts alongside his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase and different leaders of the Home, he met with Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, Chairman of the Nationwide Salaries, Incomes and Wages Fee, Mr. Ekpo Nta, amongst different authorities officers. The assembly was a observe as much as that of Tuesday.
At Thursday’s assembly, the Nationwide Info Expertise Improvement Company (NITDA) revealed to the Home’s management that the Built-in Payroll Personnel Info System (IPPIS), the College Transparency Accountability Resolution (UTAS) and the College Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) failed its integrity exams relating to the college payroll, which the company carried out between March and June this 12 months. The usage of as workers cost platform by the federal authorities had been one of many contending points by ASSU, which later beneficial the the opposite choices.
NITDA’s Director Info know-how and Infrastructure Resolution, Usman Abdullahi instructed the Home management that the IPPIS, UTAS and the College Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) all failed its integrity exams relating to the college payroll, which the company carried out between March and June this 12 months. He acknowledged that the Minister of Communication and Digital Financial system, Professor Isa Pantami has suggested his counterparts on the failed IPPIS cost platform, including that Pantami, after the audit of varied cost platforms directed NITDA to topic the three options to the exams.
“On the difficulty of advising authorities, NITDA is just not ready to advise authorities. Honourable Minister has been advising that this resolution is a cost techniques, significantly which can be utilized by authorities haven’t gone by way of NITDA’s due diligence course of. He (Minister) has been saying that and naturally he has been mentioning that to his colleagues….”, he stated. The official of NITDA defined that authorities directed the company to check UTAS in October, 2020, and that the platform failed the 2 integrity exams carried out on it, including that following the primary check, ASUU was requested to return and assessment, which it did, “but, the platform didn’t meet NITDA’s necessities the second time”.
Curiously too, when the clearly not happy Speaker Gbajabiamila requested if NITDA as an company, had at any time suggested the federal government to take any motion on the found lapses on IPPIS, which has been in utility since 2011, the NITDA official stated they weren’t ready to do this. Gbajabiamila additionally requested if NITDA queried the IPPIS platform, to which the official responded within the unfavorable. Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase additionally expressed reservations at NITDA’s dealing with of the matter, saying it should have suggested the federal government on the suitable motion to tackle the IPPIS, after discovering the lapses within the system.
The Head of Service in her submissions nonetheless defined that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Financial system, had at a time written her workplace, following observations famous by NITDA on the IPPIS, suggesting a must take a holistic assessment of the platform, after which she stated a committee was raised for that objective. She defined additional that IPPIS isn’t just a cost platform, but in addition has a human useful resource part, which all authorities companies have been directed to activate, noting that every one departments instantly below her supervision have absolutely complied.
A twist by the Accountant Common
A contemporary twist was up when Performing Accountant Common of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh in apparent reference to ASUU’s insistence on the use College Tertiary and Accountability Resolution (UTAS) for its members, posited that there shouldn’t be any circumstance below which workers dictate to their employers how they need to be paid. The IPPIS, which the federal authorities presently use as cost platform is domiciled within the workplace of the Accountant Common of the Federation.
Even with the IPPIS in place, there had been reported incidences of frauds within the cost of employees, which pundits felt its adoption was but to deal with the problems it was dropped at treatment. Referencing the current discovery of 1000’s of payroll scams and different frauds even below the system, Gbajabiamila stated “It signifies that the problems we had within the Accountant Common’s workplace, it means that there’s a drawback with IPPIS itself in any other case, we wouldn’t have that quantum and humongous deficiency…”.
Will the intervention pay?
With the plethora of points occasioned by the continuing intervention by the Home of Representatives, many are doubting the potential of identical producing the constructive end result as was the case prior to now. Extra worrisome to many was a directive, by way of the Nationwide Universities Fee (NUC) that Vice Chancellors of the federal government-owned universities reopen the establishments, and start lectures. A dramatic flip was to return later that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed a maintain again on the directive.
And because it appeared from the final engagement of Speaker Gbajabiamila and his colleagues, one other assembly will probably be holding this week, because the Minister of Labour and productiveness, Chris Ngige, Secretary to the Authorities of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Accountant Common of the Federation, Director Common, salaries, revenue and wages fee, Director Common of the Price range Workplace amongst others, have been named as invitees to the anticipated assembly.
However between the Home of Representatives’ operating intervention, and the pending Federal Authorities’s instituted courtroom case, which ASUU has appealed, there have been questions on which can yield the a lot wanted decision, which solely time can present solutions to.