It is not true that Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, has taken over the Federal Government negotiating team with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), his office has said.
The rebuttal has punctured hopes of early re-opening of public universities. Many analysts had been optimistic that with the headship of the government’s negotiating team by the second in command in the presidency, ASUU would be more comfortable and be willing to shift grounds.
Some others had however feared that getting the presidency involved at the level of the Vice President could mean there was no level to climb if negotiations broke down.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande said in a statement on Friday: “News reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, is now leading Federal Government negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU is inaccurate.
“Media reports seemed to have misrepresented what Labor & Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige meant when he spoke with reporters about the negotiations after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
“The Vice President had a discussion after FEC with both the Labour Minister and Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu around the issues, but has not taken over the negotiations as widely reported. Both Ministers will continue to lead the FG- ASUU talks.
“The Federal Government continues to diligently pursue a prompt resolution of this dispute and is confident the matter would be resolved.
ASUU had during the week shunned a meeting with the government, and brought in new demands forcing the teachers’ strike and closure of universities’lecture theaters into its fourth week.