The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday said it would not succumb to blackmail over the 2019 elections.
ASUU said Nigerians were only interested in credible elections and not the participation of lecturers in the conduct of polls.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday in Ibadan, the ASUU chairman, University of Ibadan chapter, Dr Deji Omole, said the union would not be distracted by the business of 2019 elections in its struggle to have revitalized public universities.
The union asked Nigerians to put pressure on the federal and state governments to do the needful by investing in public funded education in 2019.
According to him, private universities or schools are not alternative to public schools which take care of the majority of the underprivileged Nigerians.
Omole, who advised Nigerians to continue to support the strike, added that the action was necessary to mitigate the impending doom being planned by the ruling class to befall public education.
On the 2019 elections, the ASUU boss maintained that it was not ready to be distracted by polls, saying as patriots, it would not be disturbed in its struggle by the business of elections.
Omole added that the Independent National Electoral Commission could recruit ad hoc staff from eligible Nigerians.
“Whoever feels he wants to participate in the elections can go and participate. If you check the letters addressed to individuals who have participated in the past, the letters were addressed to individuals and not to ASUU. We would not be disturbed by the business of elections. We are ready to pursue this struggle to a logical conclusion irrespective of whether there is election or not.
“We are not part of INEC. INEC can look elsewhere for ad hoc staff to conduct the elections. What Nigerians are only interested in is will those elections be credible or not? Even when we were not on strike, not all our members were interested in participating in the elections. So it is a voluntary thing. Our demand is sacrosanct to us. The demand is that the Memorandum of Action of 2017 should be implemented and once we see the commitment of government, our leadership will bring it back to us at chapters and we would take it to our congresses and redirect to national leadership of ASUU for necessary action.
“Nigerians should continue to put pressure on the Federal Government to do the needful by investing more in publicly funded education. Private education or schools is not an alternative to public schools. And we should all support this struggle to salvage the university system in Nigeria,” Omole advised.