ASUU: What happens when Bulls lock horns?

‘ASUU strike’ is a household concept. From high school, an average Nigerian student already understands the concept and is set for it to become reality. Unless the student attends a private institution, experiencing a strike action, that disturbs academic activities, is inevitable.

Coming out of a two-day meeting, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced a four-week “total and comprehensive” strike.

ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, made the declaration at a news conference in Lagos saying, the strike, which takes effect from Monday, February 14, 2022, would last for an initial period of four weeks.

He said, “NEC resolved to embark on the four-week roll-over total and comprehensive strike as government has failed to implement the Memorandum of Action it signed with the ASUU in December 2020.”

He said the union also resolved to embark on the strike over the forceful payment of ASUU members’ salaries and emoluments with the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS).

According to him, the non-adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution(UTAS) has continued to shortchange the union members.

Osodeke said the union loathed disruption of academic activities and was not insensitive to concerns of stable academic calendar in public universities.

He, however, sought the understanding and support of stakeholders to make the government more responsive to issues of health and education.

The issue

ASUU strikes started in the 1970s, and 52 years later have become an annual cultural event.

The main cause of the current strike is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), reached between the Federal Government and the union in 2008 which has not been implemented. This caused one of ASUU’s most protracted strikes in March 2020, just before the pandemic lockdowns.

The strike was called off in December 2021 after the unimplemented MOU was renamed Memorandum of Action (MOA). 14 months after, the Federal Government has released only ₦55 billion to partially address the issues of Earned Allowances and the Universities Revitalisation.

The demands of the lecturers’ union have barely changed since the signing of the ASUU/FG 2008 agreement.

They include the sustainability of the university autonomy, which the union said the introduction of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) for the payment of its emoluments violates. The union seeks its replacement with its own University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

Other demands include the endorsement of the renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, which it said was concluded in May, 2021; release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities and distortions in salary payment challenges.

ASUU also demands funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowance, improved funding of state universities and promotion arrears.

The problem

Education has remained an afterthought for successive governments. Less than half of what is budgeted for security is the average budget for education. The cries for education to be in the spotlight has fallen to blind eyes and deaf ears.

When these strikes happen, planned futures are compromised, students dropout, academic calendars are disrupted which, in turn, affect other tied systems – Pre-school exam bodies get the axe, NYSC calendars cause confusion.

The whole circus play is usually trivialised and made to look like just another effect of failed leadership. But, we experience the adverse effects of these strikes and should be very worried instead.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail