The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, has appealed to the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to exercise caution in their disagreements and protect the future of Nigerian students.
The monarch’s plea came following the protests embarked upon by students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.
The students blocked the Ife-Ibadan expressway and prevented vehicles from moving for some hours.
Oba Akanbi, through his press secretary, Alli Ibrahim, expressed concerns over the country’s educational destiny, saying the recurring industrial action in the sector posed a great threat, not only to academic excellence, but also to the economic and political strengths of the nation.
He, therefore, appealed to the warring parties to embrace dialogue, even as he called for the inclusion and input of reputable traditional rulers who could hold the government and ASUU by their words and ensure that agreements were respected.
“I’m appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari’s led government to address the industrial disagreement with the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in the interest of the nation. The delicacy and security fragility of the nation calls for rigid handling of the education sector as a failure to do so will unavoidably magnify the tense security challenge in the nation. I extend my appeal to the ASUU to prioritise students’ interests and be soft in their demands from the federal government.
“I beseech the duo to include traditional rulers in mediation and arbitration to have a formidable, lasting solution in the epileptic academic calendar in the educational institution,” he said.