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ASUU Lashes Out At Govt Over UTAS, Challenges Pantami, Inuwa To Public Debate

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Speaker Gbajabiamila Never Promised University Lecturers Payment Of Salary Arrears - Reps

One of the disagreements between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is far from being resolved.

There has been a new dimension to the disagreement over the declaration of the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) created by the ASUU in lieu of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System for the payment of university lecturers had failed an integrity test.

In a statement which ASUU released on Sunday in Abuja, it accused Inuwa of deliberately misinforming the public and had therefore invited the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami and Inuwa to a public debate over the integrity of UTAS.

The statement signed by the national president, ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, partly read: “The one-month roll-over strike by our union on 14th February 2022, has entered its 4th week. During this period we have been having engagements with the government over the contending issues that necessitated the action.

“One of the contending issues is the deployment of the UTAS which is a robust software created by ASUU technical group to manage personnel and payroll in the university system.

“The Federal Government had referred UTAS to NITDA to conduct user acceptance test and vulnerability test assessment and penetration test prior to the final deployment. The process, which commenced on Thursday, March 3 is still ongoing.

“This press statement is necessitated by the need for ASUU to put the records straight on the grounds already covered in our patriotic struggle to get the government to deploy UTAS as a suitable solution for salary payment.

READ ALSO: University Lecturers’ Contaminated And Adulterated Remunerations (2)

“Of special concern is the statement credited to both the minister of communications and digital economy and the Director General of NITDA, to the effect that UTAS had failed integrity test.

“Let us put it on record that an integrity test was carried out by NITDA on August 10, 2021 in NUC where relevant government agencies and all the end-users in the university system were present.

At the end of the exercise, all without exception expressed satisfaction with UTAS. This was attested to the effect that UTAS scored 85 percent in User Acceptance Test.”

ASUU, in the statement also added that it was worried that while engagement was still going on in the second round of testing, the minister and the DG, NITDA, “went to press after the FEC meeting of Wednesday, 9th March 2022, to mislead the nation that UTAS failed the integrity test.

“Clearly, 85 percent and 77 percent are high class grades in any known evaluation. In their desperation to justify their false assertion, they threw up issues such as data centre and hosting of UTAS software which are clearly outside the rubrics of ASUU’s responsibilities in the deployment of UTAS.”

The union further cautioned the minister and the DG, NITDA against “making comments that are capable of jeopardising the joint ongoing testing of UTAS between the NITDA technical team and its counterpart in our union.

“However, if this behavior continues, we will have no choice but to demand that the report on UTAS be made public in order to shed more light on the ongoing controversies without further waste of time. The DG NITDA, and the minister superintending the agency are challenged to a public discussion on any national media to put all matters to rest for the benefit of our students, union members, and the Nigerian public in general.”

 

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Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage

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BREAKING: Dogara, Babachir Lead Northern Christians Against Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim Ticket

By John Michael Ojo

The Federal Government on Thursday, pegged the new national minimum wage at N70,000.

This was made known by Mr Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers with promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

“President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.

“President Tinubu announced the decisions at the meeting held with leaders of TUC and NLC on Thursday in Abuja, the second time the parties met in 7 days,” the statement read.

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Olaopa Urges Youths To Shun Japa Syndrome, Prepare For Leadership

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Prof. Tunji Olaopa flanked by Hon Abike Dabiri (left )and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi , former Head of Service of the Federation ( right) at the event on Thursday.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has urged youths to prepare for leadership positions early in life instead of travelling overseas to seek opportunities, a development that is popularly known as the Japa syndrome.

The seasoned bureaucrat and former federal permanent secretary said that opportunities abound for youths but that they could only access them when they begin early .

According to Olaopa who spoke on Thursday during the 2023/2024 graduation of KIA Lakeside Academy in Abuja, these opportunities will elude the youths if they opt to go and wander on the streets of foreign countries. He said : ” In the civil service I am very familiar with, people grow old and retire every day. We need youths to fill such vacancies that the old people leave behind . If all the youths go abroad to be doing menial jobs, do we go to Ghana and other neighbouring countries to employ their youths?

Prof. Tunji Olaopa and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, former Head of Service of the Federation at the event.

He said that under his leadership of the Federal Civil Service, there is so  much hope for youths to access federal jobs. He said he had decided to maintain a policy of transparency and equity in making jobs in the civil service available for all eligible Nigerian youths through open advertisement.

He said in the area of political leadership, the older generation could not keep on dominating the sector. He said that the youths would be need to replace the old political leaders as they quit the scene.

According to him, the ability to prepare early for leadership goes hand in hand with a clear vision. He said nobody could prepare for anything if there is no clear vision of where they are going or what they want.

He said people who reach great heights in life always have a clear vision of where they are going early in life and they work towards it. He gave the example of former United States President Bill Clinton who as a youth had a clear vision of being his nation’s leader.

According to Olaopa, past and current leaders in Nigeria have had early in their youths clear visions of what they want in life. He said it was this clear visions early in life that made them trailblazers in different areas of life. In politics he cited Chief Obafemi Awolowo , Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others. He said that these were trailblazers in their youth. He said in business, young people have become trailblazers.

He said that because of the opportunities the current world offers, youths do not need to become old people before reaching great heights in life. According to him, youths have become trailblazers in technology . He mentioned the examples of Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk and a younger Bill Gates.

Talking about breaking the glass ceiling, Olaopa said that no gender barrier should stop anyone from reaching the summit of life. He said many women in the past and the present have been trailblazers. He mentioned Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Dora Akunyili,l and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said unlike in the past , many bank CEOs in Nigeria are currently women.

However, Olaopa said that nobody could be a trailblazer without preparation. He said this preparation comes in the form of education. He quoted Nelson Mandela who once observed that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He said if in the past people we regard as great today could get education despite the huge barriers they were faced with, youths of today have no excuse. He said Awolowo was faced with a huge educational disadvantage which he overcame by studying at home . He said Azikiwe had to find his way overseas where he suffered to educate himself. According to him, one of the greatest lawyers today in Nigeria is Chief Afe Babalola. He said Babalola overcame his challenges by studying at home and that today he owns one of the best universities in the country.

According to him, youths who lack the opportunity of going to formal university classrooms can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the open university system that the Federal Government supports .

He said that in fact President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated his interest in the education of the less-privileged through his government’s Student loan scheme. He said that youths who desire to acquire university education but have no sponsors can use that scheme.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Service As Yemi-Esan Retires

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Walson-Jack

As the current Head of Service Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, is due to retire on August 13, 2024, President Bola Tinubu has approved her replacement. She is Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack.

Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

While thanking Yemi-Esan  for her stewardship, President Tinubu tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.

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