WHY ASUU IS ON STRIKE.
ASUU and its demands from the FG. As the saying goes, “when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.” It is quite alarming that the majority of Nigeria Students doesn’t know what ASUU stands for and why they went on strike. This has become a matter of urgent concerns and the reason needs to be disseminated as succinct as possible.
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) is a body that was formed in 1978, a successor to the Nigerian Association of University Teachers formed in 1965 and supposedly to cover academic staff in all the Federal and State Universities in the country. In the era of military dictatorship in Nigeria, the freedom of citizens where greatly eroded and Academic freedom and university autonomy were not left out because the then government didn’t really care about the education of its citizens and renege in its duty. The funding of education and of universities grew poorer and poorer. This became a major concern of the academic staff and the orientation of ASUU became radical as they stood firmly against the domineering undemocratic policies of the government.
The assault on academic freedom was a major resistance by ASUU in the 1980’s and this made the then government result to a usurpation of union members without the right of fair hearing. Its foremost demands included an appeal to the federal government to immediately increase funding to all universities, as the amount they receive yearly from the government to run the universities is not enough, also increase in their salaries by 15%.
In the 1980s, ASUU continues its struggle and made autonomy a major issue to the then government. So as at December 1980, President Shehu Shagari directed the council of the University of Lagos to relief six senior academic staff members from their jobs but ASUU protested and continued to press that they should be reinstated. A few years later, In 1986, the Supreme Court’s Judgement given at the University of Lagos was in favour of ASUU’s position. The struggle of ASUU continued of which its major concerns were autonomy and academic freedom, funding, salaries, as well as the survival of the university system whose state continue to debilitate.
Throughout the military era, ASUU waged its struggles around relentless and continued to fight for the survival of the university system you and I have enjoyed till this day. You can read more >>>
Over the years, ASUU has continually embarked on nationwide strike because of failure of federal government to meet her demands which are the retirement age for professors from 65years to 70years; approve funding to the revitalisation of the university system; increase the budgetary allocations to the education sector by 26%, and among other demands. The very struggle of ASUU that started many years ago hasn’t been resolved over the years and even on August 17, 2017, ASUU again declared an indefinite strike over unresolved and contentious issues with the Federal Government, though the strike was called off in September. And now on November 4, 2018, ASUU again declared a nationwide strike due to the failure of the Federal government to meet her lingering demands after their National Executive Council meeting held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State.
Currently, according to Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, several meetings have been held with the Federal Government in a view to ending the ongoing nationwide strike but all to no avail as the federal government has continued on their habits of making unsubstantial promises(dribbling the union). ASUU members have noted that the government promised to pay the earned academic allowances within the mainstream budgets in 2018, yet they didn’t do it and now in 2019, ASUU is saying, enough is enough with the Federal Government unrealistic promises and said they want to see money paid into their accounts and not evidence of approval on paper as usual.
It is evident that so many Nigerian students want to return to school but it would not be fair if Nigerians are not properly updated of the reason ASUU is on strike. The strike may not be very favourable to students or the school system alike but it is much better than letting the FG ruin the school system indirectly which on the long run will have an adverse effect on the graduates produce hereby affecting the economy of the country.
In summary, ASUU members are insisting that they go beyond writing anything on paper, but have to see substantial evidence of payment and a realistic timeline of how Federal Government will meet her demands, otherwise, the strike continues.