by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Since 7 December, 2011, students of public tertiary institutions in the country have been at home due to a strike called by ASUU. According to Professor Ruquyyatu Rufai, the Minister of Education, N106 billion was required to meet the demands of ASUU. The details of the settlement are unclear.
However, this chain of events mirror the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike cycle over the past many year.
According to ASUU’s website, “In 2001, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) entered into an agreement with ASUU that is aimed at resuscitating the University System in Nigeria and saving the system from total collapse.
“In that Agreement, it is provided that there shall be a renegotiation of the Agreement every three years in order to assess the impact of the intervention on the sector, review the implementation strategy, and to update the document to make it even more relevant towards achieving the original goal of revitalization of the University System. By this provision, the 2001 Agreement was due for review by 2004. However the renegotiation did not start until 2007 and was dragged up to 2009 before an Agreement was reached, five years late, due to government’s dilly-dallying and reticence.
“It took over 50 letters, series of warning strikes, a total and indefinite strike, over 200 meetings, and five years to achieve this (something we believe could have been accomplished in a couple of weeks). Again, over two years after the signing of the 2009 Agreement, the government is yet to work out the modalities and commence a sincere process of its implementation.”
This Sunday, we will be taking a critical look at the vicious cycle of these strikes – will this “suspension” stop the cycle in its tracks or is it temporary band-aid until the next action is called, led on by the dysfunctional nature of the relationship between the lecturers union and the Nigerian government? Will we soon be back to the spot of yet another ASUU strike? And how can we avoid it once and for all?
Our guests are Jide Olukuga, Special Adviser to the Lagos Governor on Education; Dr. Karo Ogbinaku, Chairperson of ASUU’s Unilag chaper; Tosin Otitoju, a university lecturer; Salawu Olajide, a student union leader, and Kelechi Ewuzie, an education reporter with BusinessDay.
Rubbin’ Minds shows on Channels TV on terrestrial television and DSTV Channel 134 on cable. It can also be watched online via https://ynaija.com/rubbin-minds/ or www.channelstv.com and there is a repeat broadcast at 4am on Monday. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook through @YNaija and the #RubbinMinds hashtag. More information is on www.ynaija.com.