Saturday, 7 December 2013

Strike update: Why ASUU members booed Catholic priest at commendation service for Iyayi



The members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), were provoked to anger yesterday, by a Catholic priest, Andrew Obiyan, during the commendation service held for the late former ASUU president, Festus Iyayi, at the University of Benin. [READ: Ex-ASUU president, Festus Iyayi to be buried in December ]
The ASUU members became angry when Obiyan appealed to them to call off the ongoing strike action and trust the federal government on meeting their demands.
They interrupted the priest and refused to say amen to his prayers, as he was booed and shouted on to leave the podium.
According to reports: Obiyan advised ASUU not to give the Federal Government the privilege of satisfaction of fighting and defeating them, stating that he discovered that many ASUU members were retreating, as well as collapsing their structures. Rev. Obiyan urged ASUU to trust the Federal Government to keep to its promise by calling-off the strike.
According to him, “My appeal is to request you to make surrender the tool of power. Do not give the FG the privilege of satisfaction of fighting and defeating you. We rely on that voice. We believe in that voice. I humbly request you to surrender first in this fight. You have made your point eloquently and clear enough. I know the Federal Government cannot be trusted because of their antecedent, but I request you to please trust them now” “ASUU will never lose by it. They will gain by it. Be assured of our prayers. We are at the receiving end. Many of your foot soldiers are collapsing. Some are retreating”, the priest said.
But when the shouting by ASUU members was becoming deafening, Obinyan said, “Christ will not tell you to fight on. He will tell you to forgive and forget. My appeal is because of the sufferers.”
Speaking with the media, President of ASUU, Nasir Isa- Fagge, said the Reverend Father spoke for himself, and that ASUU members were steadfast in their demand. He said they would not call-off the strike until the Federal Government meet the four-point demand in their letter.

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