ASUU Suspends National Executive Council Meeting Over Prof. Festus Iyayi’s Death

LEADERS of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday, suspended indefinitely the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting planned to hold in Kano over the tragic auto-crash that claimed the life of ASUU former President, Professor Festus Iyayi, on Tuesday morning.

Thousands of students who had kept vigil, waiting for the outcome of ASUU NEC meeting, therefore went home disappointed following the announcement of the suspension of the meeting.

The accident which involved the convoy of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State on Lokoja-Abuja Road also left two other officials of ASUU – Dr. Ngozi Ilo, National Welfare Officer, University of Benin, UNIBEN; branch chairman, Dr. Anthony Emina, and their driver, critically injured.

President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, who announced the suspension of the NEC meeting in Kano, explained that the union had to suspend the meeting following the sudden and tragic death of Professor Festus Iyayi.
The NEC meeting was widely expected to make a decisive statement on the five-month old ASUU strike that has crippled academic activities in the public university system.

At a briefing, Fagge told reporters in Kano that “we are compelled to postpone this meeting in the light of the sudden death of one of our strongest pillars who died yesterday (Tuesday).

“As you can see for yourself, we are mourning the departure of this great scholar and you would agree with me that in this circumstance we cannot look at issues objectively.”
The ASUU President who looked visibly shocked by the unfortunate development, described Iyayi “as a strong pillar of the union,’ stressing that “this is a great loss to the entire country.”
Over 50 universities were represented at the botched Kano NEC meeting which was to deliberate on the outcome of the branch meetings held recently that was key to the decision on suspension of the strike.
No new date has been fixed for the NEC meeting.

However, labour watchers are of the opinion that ASUU may not reschedule the NEC meeting until after the burial of the late professor.

Thousands of students that had kept vigil waiting for the outcome went home disappointed following the announcement of the suspension of the NEC meeting.

A student who spoke with Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said, “this is a clear indication that we have more days to spend at home because the figure that passed on was an icon and a respected voice.”
He expressed disappointment that the Federal Government had not arrested those that caused the fatal accident, stressing that “the only thing that can cool frayed nerves is to put on trial all those that played infamous roles in the accident.”

Meantime, more Nigerians have continued to mourn late Professor Festus Iyayi, former President of ASUU, who died Tuesday.

Reacting to the unfortunate incident, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and Joint Action Front, JAF, among others, described him as a true and committed Nigerian who gave up his personal comfort and joined the masses in the trenches in the fight for a better society.

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