• FG Ready to Jettison IPPIS, Embrace UTAS, If…
  • My Perception of ASUU Has Changed Now
  • Advices Northern Elites to Invest in Education
  • BUK Management Acknowledges His Support for Education


By Waziri Isa Adam


The Accountant General of the Federation and one of the leading advocates of the ASUU-Must-Join-Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Mr Ahmed Idris, has challenged the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities to prove the workability and accuracy of its proposed University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS)

The Accountant General who is better known among members of the Universities academic body vowed that if ASUU is able to prove that UTAS is a better option for IPPIS and can help in bringing about the needed transparency in the civil service, he is ready to persuade the federal government to dump IPPIS, which is a foreign concept, and, instead, embrace UTAS which is an indigenous concept

Mr Ahmed gave the assurance while speaking during a courtesy call on him by the Management Team of Education Monitor Newspaper, at his Treasury House office in Abuja, recently.

The Accountant General regretted that ASUU which was giving ample time to convince the federal government to accept its proposed UTAS initiative, has up to now, failed to do so, either because they themselves are not sure of its effectiveness or do not even have any alternative on ground

The Accountant General who at the beginning of the courtesy call bared his mind about his knowledge of ASUU which he said the only thing he knows about the Union is their stubbornness and anti- government stand on almost every policy. He said he also knows the union as a butter and bread kind union which is always fighting for salary increase and allowances of members and no more no less; and that is why and where he had always disagreed with the union.

He said what he had always expected the Union to champion in Nigeria is development of research driven knowledge and discoveries; the result of which should be applied in developing the country.

Our Universities are supposed to be epicentres of generating different kinds of solutions to all the problems that have long bedeviled or hampered our development for centuries.

However, the Accountant General asked the visiting Management Team of Education Monitor Newspaper, who incidentally also happened to be ASUU activists, to respond or educate him on his perception of the union, its impact to the country and in the sector generally, which he said was ready to listen and accept any superior argument, as a realist.

Responding, the Editor of Education Monitor, Professor MK Aliyu, who initially was not keen in responding to the attacks of the MR. IPPIS’s wrong perception of the Union, started by narrating to him history of the Union and its struggles with successive regimes, poor state of funding of public universities then, and the challenges ASUU members confronted which, were it not for the members’ resilience and spirit of sacrifice, our Universities and higher institutions generally would have been mere centres of certificate generation, but not centres of scholarship and knowledge generation today.

He referred the Accountant General to the list of ASUU’s demands captured in the lingering 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, to see all the demands of the union, 98% of which bother on upgrading standard of our Universities by providing enabling learning environment, provision of quality academic training to lecturers and provision of state- of- the- art facilities or infrastructures as obtainable in other world class universities.

Prof Aliyu told the Accountant General that there is no labour union or Government at any level that is as transparent and accountable and that loves Nigeria, like ASUU.

He said even as ASUU is not the only stakeholder on education in Nigeria, it remains the only union whose members have sacrificed their personal comfort, desire for wealth accumulation, like their counterparts in government or politics, and lives fighting for the development of education which is the key to the development of any nation, like ASUU.

He said all the academic and infrastrutural developments taking place in Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions today are courtesy of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) or NEEDS Assessment Fund, which were all given birth to, as a result of ASUU’s dogged fight.

He told the Mr IPPIS that in 1992, it was ASUU, that while asking for more funding on education in general, suggested to the Babangida administration to task companies operating in Nigeria to pay 2% of their annual profit as education tax. It was this education tax that metamorphosed into Education Tax Fund which later became Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)

Prof Aliyu told the AGF that without TETFund today, there wont be a single functional federal or state university, polytechnic or college of education in Nigeria.

“90% of all infrastructures, staff trainings, conference attendance etc. in all the nation’s tertiary institutions are today sponsored by no other agency than TETFund.” He clarified.

At a particular stage of what was meant to be a brief courtesy call, but turned into a dialogue or some kind of debate between the Accountant General of the Federation defending government’s position on one hand and the editorial team of Education Monitor defending ASUU on the other hand.

The Accountant General however later admitted that prior to this unorganized media visit, he never knew that ASUU was instrumental in the evolution of TETFund and NEEDS Assessment Fund. He therefore said as a realist, his perception of ASUU has changed from today.

However, the Accountant General who said, as someone who has passion for education and educational development of the north, he has always called on northern elites to invest in education through setting foundations to give scholarships to gifted indigent students who are found in every part of the north, build schools for these class of students and support them with enough capital to be self-employed and reliant after graduation.

In a related development, Education Monitor stumbled on an appreciation letter written to the Accountant General’s owned foundation – Al-Ihsan Social Intervention Foundation, by the Management of Bayero University, Kano, acknowledging the receipt of handsome financial donation of N10m to their university out of which N300,000 will be awarded annually to the best graduating female student in the university for the period of 20 years; whereas N4m will be awarded as scholarship to 40 indigent students with each getting N50,000 for the period of two years.

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