"We are not part of INEC, therefore, INEC can look elsewhere for ad-hoc staff to conduct the election," the Chairman of Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) in the University of Ibadan (UI), Dr. Deji Omole, said on Thursday amidst tension that the strike of the union could affect the conduct of the general election that is less than 44 days away. 

It is a response coming days after the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakub Mahmood, said it would be great if the Federal government would resolve its issues with ASUU before the election. 

INEC has always used professors and other top officials from universities as its returning officers in elections and it may not be able to reach them or bring them together except the strike that started on November 4 is called off. 

But ASUU is saying it will not be distracted by the 2019 elections in its struggle to revitalise public varsities. 

Dr. Omole told reporters in Ibadan that the union was ready to pursue the strike to a logical conclusion irrespective of whether there would be election or not. 

Demand Is Sacrosanct 

He added that INEC could recruit ad-hoc staff from eligible Nigerians “who are in their millions’’. 

"What Nigerians are only interested in is credible election and not participation of lecturers.

"Even when we were not on strike, not all our members are interested in participating in the elections, because it is a voluntary thing.

"Whoever that feels like participating in the elections can go ahead to participate.

"If you check in the letter addressed to individuals that have participated in the election in the past, the letter is addressed to individuals and not to ASUU,” the UI ASUU Chairman said.

He also emphasised that the demand of the union that the MoU of 2017 be implemented was sacrosanct. 

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Omole said that once the union saw the commitment of the government, the leadership would bring it back to them at chapters, where it would be taken to their congresses and redirect to national for necessary action. 

The UI ASUU chairman urged Nigerians to continue to put pressure on the government to do the needful by investing more in funding education.

He said that private education was not an alternative to public schools and called on all Nigerians to support the strike to salvage the university system in Nigeria. 

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