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ASUU holds Nat’l Executive Committee meeting, mum on outcome

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National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke

*We’ll let you know, says president

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, held its National Executive Committee meeting, Saturday, to review the progress of meetings held with zonal affiliate bodies following the recent expiration of its deadline to the federal government to meet its demands.

The meeting which was held at the union’s national secretariate, located inside the University of Abuja main campus, Vanguard gathered, took far-reaching decisions.

The meeting which was also said to have started some few minutes past 3 pm, ended at about 8:30 pm.

But the union which had last week said Nigerians would know its next line of action immediately, following the expiration of its ultimatum and the inability of the government to accede to its demands, decided to keep mum on the outcome of Saturday’s meeting.

National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, who was called to speak on the outcome of their deliberations, told Vanguard on the telephone, Sunday, that the union’s decision would be communicated to the public. He, however, declined to state when the decisions would be to the public.

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“Asked to state when the communication would be made, he said, “We will let you know”, refusing to say anything further.

Also contacted to speak on the outcome of the Saturday meeting, the University of Abuja ASUU chairman, Dr Kasim Umar, declined comments, directing Vanguard to the national president of the body.

“It is only the national president of ASUU that can talk on the outcome of our meeting,” he told Vanguard.

There are concerns that the lecturers’ body may have resolved in the meeting to call out a nationwide industrial action to press home its demands.

Recall that a fortnight ago, Prof Osodeke had hinted that a meeting of the principal officers of the union held earlier, resolved that a consultation meeting be held with branches, saying the National Executive Committee meeting would come up short.

Recall also that the body had claimed that the federal government met only one out of the demands of the union.

According to ASUU, the demand met was only the revitalisation funds of N30bn which it claimed only N20 billion was paid to the universities.

Recall also that ASUU had on November 15, 2021, given the government a three-week ultimatum to accede to its demands or face another industrial action.

It had accused the federal government of failing to implement the Memorandum of Action, MoA, agreed upon.

The body had called on parents and all patriotic Nigerians to hold the government responsible if it failed to address the issues within three weeks.

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Prof. Osokede had claimed that the government was yet to live up to expectations in spite of ASUU’s meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige on October 14, on major outstanding issues which include, funding for revitalisation of public universities and earned academic allowances.

Other outstanding issues, he said, were University Transparency Accountability Solution,UTAS, promotion arrears, renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, and the inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, which up till now had not been addressed.

“ASUU is fully committed to upholding academic integrity in the universities and is working to make them more globally competitive. We are equally committed to promoting industrial harmony in the Nigerian university system for as long as all stakeholders are willing and committed to play their part.

“We call on all vice-chancellors, as the main drivers of the system to join us in this mission to safeguard the waning image of our universities.

“They have no business trading honorary degrees and academic positions for personal and immediate gains; thereby smearing the collective integrity of committed scholars and other patriots who are working day and night to uplift the system that produced them.

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“Our union shall not shy away from taking the fight to administrators of Nigerian universities as well as internal and external agents who are bent on compromising the standards ASUU has consistently laboured to protect and improve. The government of Nigeria should be held responsible should ASUU be forced to activate the strike it patriotically suspended.

“We call on all patriotic Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria to prevail on the federal and state governments to act fast to prevent another round of industrial crisis in Nigeria’s public universities,” he had added.

Vanguard

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Meet Eruani, youngest Nigerian to receive CFR national honours

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President Muhammadu Buhari is set to confer a national honour award of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic on a 48-year-old medical doctor, industrialist and celebrated entrepreneur, Dr Eruani Azibapu, becoming the youngest Nigerian to receive the CFR award.

Eruani, who is the chief executive officer of Azikel Refinery, is to get the award for his immense contributions to Nigeria’s economic growth, employment and national development, according to the letter conveying the national award to him.

At 35, he had set a record, buying his first helicopter, having turned a billionaire at 34. Graduating as a medical doctor at 27, he later became the youngest commissioner for health (Bayelsa) in the country.

The CFR award, according to the letter, will be formally conferred on him at a ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Born on December 25, 1973 to the royal family of King Allwell Eruani, Aguda IX, the Obenema of Emadike Kingdom in Bayelsa State, the philanthropist obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Port Harcourt in 1999.

In preparation for business conquest, he studied at the Lagos Business School where he obtained certification in the Owner Management Programme (OMP). He also studied at the London Business School and the University of Pennsylvania and obtained the Senior Executive Programme (SEP) and Advance Management Programme (AMP) certifications respectively.

Eruani pioneered the establishment of in-country petroleum refining by setting up the first private Hydroskimming Refinery in Nigeria.

With an output of 25,000 barrels per day, Azikel Refinery brings to reality President Buhari’s Modular Refinery Regime launched in 2015.

His business interests, which started with dredging and sandfilling, include power, aviation, oil and gas and technology.

On graduation, he worked as a medical officer in the civil service and some private clinics in Port Harcourt,  and later sought further education and specialisation, starting in surgery at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, then travelled to the United States (US) and took interest in family medicine and later became a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Azibapu also worked in Bayelsa State as a medical officer. But when he became a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, he secured employment in Nigerian Agip Oil Company as an expatriate, basically providing occupational health services. He rose to the level of a deputy chief industrial doctor.

Then, there was clamour for him to come back, as the government of Bayelsa State needed some experienced doctors to revive its health sector.

The then governor, and later President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, appointed him as adviser on HIV/AIDS and Community Health and he was appointed commissioner of Health by Chief Timipre Sylvia, who took over from Jonathan.

After serving as adviser for about two years and commissioner for about five years, he went into an area that was considered not befitting, the business of sand selling.

At the outset, not many people wanted to work with him. In fact, when he told his mother that he wanted to go into selling sand, she wept, that her son and only child, a medical doctor of international repute and commissioner was going to start selling sand.

But Azibapu had always known that one could actually make a good business from what many people didn’t like. And he found encouragement in his father, who said he believed in whatever he wanted to do.

He said, “I looked at the critical drivers of that business – I needed to have land and a dredging machine. I couldn’t afford to buy a dredging machine, because it costs millions of dollars. The cheapest dredging machine as at that time was nothing less than $10 million.

“I needed to get land by the riverside. I could go to a community to get land and even if I cannot pay at once, I can pay overtime, and that was what I did. I went and discussed with the Otuogori community and they agreed. That is where my operation is based, more so, it was a vacant land then, as it was always submerged under water.”

Solving the problem of dredging machine was more challenging, as he didn’t have the money to rent a dredging machine, let alone buy one. “So, I approached someone I know has a dredging machine, who remains very famous in my history, called Akpe. I asked if he could pump some sand for me, and he agreed to do so if I was willing to pay.

“From the bill he gave me, I needed an initial deposit of about N80million. I didn’t even have up to N10million. I tried to bargain as much as I could, but it wasn’t forthcoming, so I accepted it, despite not having the money.

“But I said since he wouldn’t need the whole N80 million at once, we should have a payment plan and I proposed N80 million to dredge about 100 feet of sand and offered to pay him N5 million deposit to mobilise a dredging machine to the site.

“I was able to muster about N10 million, so while he was there, I could pay him another N5 million. So, when he pumped the sand and we quantified that it was worth N10 million, I paid another N10 million,” he recalled.”

Asked how he hit it at an early age, Azibapu explained: “It is influence, largely environmental influence. The environment is not where you grow up; it is the people that you meet, your perception and the people that are around you. When you are purposeful and you have success written around you, you are likely to succeed.”

Today, Azikel operates in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states. The business soon evolved into a multinational industry and there was the quest to diversify, this time into the aviation sector, starting with a small aircraft.

Other prominent Nigerians to receive the CFR national award are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajaiamila; his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retired); former CEO/Managing Director/Founder of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia; Chairman, Body of Benchers, Chief Oluwole Olanipekun SAN; economist, and philanthropist, Mr Tony Elumelu, along with a number of serving and retired military officers, Justices of the Supreme Court, business executives and traditional rulers.

-Additional report by the Guardian

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Just in: NECO releases 2022 SSCE results, 60.7% candidates pass

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The National Examination Council (NECO) has released the results of the 2022 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) conducted nationwide in July, with over 60 per cent of the candidates scoring credit in five subjects including English and Mathmatics.

NECO Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Dantali Wushishi, disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Minna, Niger State capital, on Thursday.

He said 1,209,703, candidates sat for the examination, with 60.74 per cent (727,864) having five credits and above including English Language and Mathematics.

He said compared to 2021 SSCE figure of 878,925 (71.64%) pass in English and Maths, there is a decrease of 10.9 per cent.

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Strike: Court strikes out NANS suit on ASUU/FG dispute

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The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, struck out a suit the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, filed to compel the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government to call off the ongoing strike action.

Justice Polycarp Hamman terminated further proceedings in the matter, after it was withdrawn by factional President of NANS, Umar Faruk Lawal.

Lawal had told the court that he filed the suit marked NICN/ABJ/273/2022, for himself and on behalf of NANS.

Aside from ASUU which was cited as the 1st Respondent, the Minister of Education and the Attorney-General of the Federation were listed as 2nd and 3rd Respondents, respectively.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, Lawal told the court that he had filed a motion for discontinuance.

He said the decision to withdraw the suit was on account of the challenge by the student body which contested his standing.

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