Opinion: What they did not tell us about the ASUU strike

by Adeola Adelabu

asuu-strike

Where was ASUU when Governor Fashola successfully commercialized education in Lagos State University? Who rents out their Boys Quaters to students who are not connected enough to get accommodation in the Halls of residence at outrageous prices (even though it’s illegal)?

Nigerians were once reputed to be the happiest people in the world. This isn’t because life is good, but because most Nigerians make jokes of their problems. Thus when students decided to toe this line in the light of the ongoing ASUU strike, it was not unprecedented. Jokes about ASUU strike have been viral on social media. Definitions of ASUU strikes (supposedly to foreigners who inquired) include a self-imposed extra leave for all lecturers; and an annual festival during which university students are not allowed to go to school.

The aim of this piece is neither to discuss the necessity or frequency of strike action nor to apportion blame. Rather, I write to highlight the latent hypocrisy of ASUU, and state my view about how lecturers have exploited an unfortunate situation for their gains, at the extent of the Nigerian students.

Asides the ‘Police is Your Friend slogan’, the progressives in  PDP and APC and lately, Governor Obi’s open letter to the president, I wonder if there could be any greater hypocrisy than ASUU’s claim to be fighting to save the education sector from collapse, in light of recent revelations.

Let me quickly state that I’m not against the strike. As I wrote in a previous article, there is a tendency for every employee whose employers defaults on agreement to go on strike. However, while we criticize our politicians for shielding the truth from the public, our lecturers have toed the same line. ASUU never mentioned to students and the public that their priority was allowances, which is no crime anyway. When medical doctors go on strike, it is stated that they want improves salary and working conditions. They never pretend to want better hospital beds or new ward clothing for patients. They are straight to the point and no one has ever blamed them for wanting better lives.

However, ASUU say they are after increased funding for education. They say they are protecting the future. They want generation unborn to be grateful to them for revitalizing the education sector, while still getting better pay (in order words; they want reward on earth and in the heavens).

While declaring the strike, ASUU President said it was all about funding. They said government has gone back on its promise to inject 100 billion to Education. They even claimed that the highest a lecturer will get in the allowances they are demanding is N12,500 per month, or N150,000 per annum. Lots of people berated the government and praised ASUU. That was before Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala revealed that Govt needs N92 billion to meet ASUU’s demand.

As the Yoruba adage goes, the wind has blown and the fowl’s anus is visible. Government set up a committee and agreed to invest N300 billion into Education with N100 billion already approved. This ecstasy made the committee chair, Gov. Suswam say that the strike would be called off in less than a week (After all, money has been injected to address infrastructural decay). However, rather than end the crisis, it brought to the fore, ASUU’s priority for going on strike; their bogus allowances. ASUU’s claim of requesting just N87 billion is laughable and uncharitable to the students whose academic progress have been halted due to the impasse.

To ASUU, increased funding only means infrastructure to aid their research and promotion (better lecture rooms, air conditioned offices, equipped laboratories etc), more research grants (so that they won’t have to spend their salary on research), better pay (that some of them hardly justify), outrageous extra or earned allowances (that make you wonder what exactly they are paid for in the first place). Among other things, they have also insisted that a high percentage of funds must be reserved for universities, who only make up less than 20% of or less of entire Nigerian students in tertiary institutions (of course to the detriment of polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education)

In their selfishness, they neglected primary and secondary education, forgetting that the aforementioned will determine the quality of intakes and graduates of the universities. They forget that other tertiary institutions are important (strengthening them will reduce pressure on universities). They are insensitive to the fact that their pay demand (if paid in full) could trigger other Unions to demand more outrageous allowances (thus increasing recurrent expenditure and reducing amount left for federal capital expenditure).

But wait, there are many posers for ASUU, the self-acclaimed defender of public education who claim love students more than themselves. Do they really care about students? I doubt it. What is their official position on the Oronsaye-led committee report that proposed tuition for tertiary institutions? Have they ever demanded payment of bursaries and scholarships, which most of them benefited from (with N15 billion annually, each varsity student will receive 10,000 and ASUU is demanding N87 billion). Do local branches they take official positions when school managements make obnoxious policies? Where was ASUU when Governor Fashola successfully commercialized education in Lagos State University? Who rents out their boys quarters to students who are not connected enough to get accommodation in the halls of residence at outrageous prices (even though it’s illegal)? How many professors, earning over N500,000 can dedicate 5% of their pay, about N300,000 or more to pay the fees of 10 students in the University of Ibadan? Why have they refused to be assessed by students as it is been done in countries they make reference to while demanding better pay. Are they not the same people who constitute committees that victimize students?

Let me reiterate that I am not against a Union fighting for its members. However, they should be man enough to admit it (instead of brainwashing students with a saviour posture), and should be sensitive enough to align it with the realities of the day, particularly when humans are involved (in this case, students).

While the strike is ongoing, final year law students in University of Ibadan and University of Lagos have written exams, in order to meet up with Law School admission. Is this a case of Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than the others? I didn’t say lecturers have children in those classes. I wish ASUU and the government can reach an agreement soon, so that the children of the helpless can progress.

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Adeola Adelabu was a presidential aspirant at the 2012 NANS election.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (44)

  1. It’s unfortunate none of the critics of this article has addressed the issues raised. I bear no grudges with ASUU, but plenty with the government. However, govt has approved 30 billion to be given to governing councils (afterall, they have autonomy) to address allowances, after 100 billion for infrastructure. Yet the strikes remain. . .

  2. If okonjo is saying she needs to spend N92b on educationh,what is wrong with that, for a country that is already far behind schedule technologically.In the midst of so called inadequate funds, politicians and their cronies are swimming in plenty of public funds.

  3. Oh pls!!! If u didn’t get the memo pls go and find out, how can a govt hold out on a deal it agreed on since 2011?! And asuu had to wait all this years, see how selfish u re? Talking about their reward in heaven? Is there really an amount one can pay for receiving a good education frm someone who takes his or her time to give one? Bad funding was what killed our public schs (pry and sec) now the same bad funding is killing our universities then we have this leaders of ours opening private uni for their personal profits after they have made sure the public sectors doesn’t work well then we have to find solace in their private schools… Ur write up is so baised and u re so short sighted that u can’t see the bigger picture…. Nonsense!!!!

  4. Sincerely, asuu is a disgrace to our education. If u are not ok with d job get to somwhere else and stop injuring students incessantly. Wicked bunch of individuals, sadists. It takes a graduate to understand how bad asuu is. Sincerely, we need an organized protest against asuu for the sake of helpless common men. Asuu will never be students friendly, all dey do is put fear in students, take advantage of girls, etc. I hate dem.

  5. If u disagree with any aspect of the article, extend ur disagreement with a superior argument and be more logical, stop advertising your uncivility by posting comments like ‘stupid article’ (as if an article can be stupid), ‘this is rubbish’ without substantiating your uncouted and malicious position. That’s not how educated individuals disagree. Shalom!

  6. the logic of this article exudes the quality of education we have in naija….crap!1

  7. Ha! This one article which I am very proud of. Yes, open ya eyes, Nigerians, and look. Don’t be deceived by the politicians, neither be deceived by those who say they are not politicians but who are worse.

  8. Rubbish article, writer wanting recognition. We know ASUU want more pay, but wasn’t it the FG that agreed to their demands in 2009. As for them wanting quality education in Nigeria, let’s wait and see. If it improves, excellent. If it doesn’t then as usual we keep complaining. Why can’t we students rise against the Governement and ASUU instead of always being the victims.

  9. Fowosire, the author is right. The main crux of the ASUU strike is their 15% earned allowance for overtime. Which unfortunately amounts to about 90 billion naira. If govt pays that, the strike is over tomorrow. Even if govt implements increased funding for education (which should be across board anyway, not just to universities) and don’t pay the 15%, the strike will continue. Ask your local ASUU chairman for clarification.

  10. It was obvious from d beginnin. Does d chairman/pres or woteva he calls imsef think he can fool us students? Asuu av bin fightin 4 dia pockets bt thinkin up a coverup plan is a big nono. Wot pains me more is dat most of dese so called lecturas dnt deserve 2 b 1 at all cuz mst of dem r satisfied makin students lives livin hells in one form or d other. I am so disappointed @ dia poor plans 2 hoodwink us nigerians.

  11. Great write up….we just hope they reach an agreement soon so we can go back 2 skul

  12. We always love to demonize our politicians even when we show similar traits. ASUU points to the fact children of politicians school abroad and in private Universities. Well I also know that many senior lecturer, who can afford it, send their kids to those same schools that they refer to. Who is decieving who?

    Where was ASUU when Gov Fashola hiked LASU fees?

    1. Check the cost of education worldwide, you will see that it is not cheap. If you want quality,you have to pay for it! Yes the students have the short end of the stick in this strike issue but the end justifies the means. If the sector will greatly improve with the strike, then so be it.
      Mind you, while I was schooling in ABU. I had a cumulative of 4 years of strike.

  13. All comments seen and noted

    What I have written is my opinion based on my little experience. I have heard from both sides and blamed both ASUU and the government. However, we seem to forget that there is a 3rd party to this crisis; the students who are at the receiving end.
    To those who still think I’m ignorant and myopic. Pls enlighten me and the readers. No one is an island of knowledge
    Would ASUU have ever mentioned the financial implication of their demands? I can authoritatively say that many students, after hearing of ASUU’s huge demands, now see lecturers as greedy. Like I wrote, I don’t have issues with ASUU negotiating pay (as it’s the right of every Union). What I have problem is hiding under request for funding to negotiate bogus pay for themselves.
    Good morning Nigeria

  14. God will bless u Mr writer, Nigeria in the hands of the dis lions in human form will head no where.May GOD help dis generation. GOD will PUNISH everybody involved in wastin ma tym. Fuk both asuu and fg. fuk dem all. they both form association of mad brethren.

  15. I THINK DIS STRIKE HAS REALY HELP A LOT NF STUDENTS TO READ AND CATCH UP WITH THOSE AHEAD OF DEM. Q

  16. With utmost candidness and sincere heart devoid of all prejudice,I knew from the onset that this struggle isn’t for the student but rather for my dear lecturers but I wonder the skeleton behind the pretence,I mean why do they have to pretend or disguise so to say wearing the garment of struggle for the helpless when all they are doing in the real sense aint nothing but a self struggle.I could remember vividly telling a room mate during the first few weeks of this strike that if by the slightest chance federal government agrees to embark on some rehabilitation project in our knowledge factories,the truth of the matter would unveil itself and there we go.May the lord save this country..our problem is compounded

  17. your write-up shows how ignorant you are…I am very indifferent but you spat out gibberish.

  18. We all tend to blame †̥̥h̶̲̥̅̊ǝ̩̩̩̥ government on everything that goes wrong in Nigeria. Ȋ̝̊̅̄ guess politics is †̥̥h̶̲̥̅̊ǝ̩̩̩̥ main problem Nigeria has today. Every sector is politicised and then ♈̷̴̩O̶̲̥̅̊U̲̅ begin to wonder about who’s right, who’s not; who’s honest, who’s not.
    Our leaders have failed us.
    Looking at †̥̥h̶̲̥̅̊ǝ̩̩̩̥ issue critically, it may ˚ B̶̲̥̅̊ǝ̩̩̩̥ difficult to judge either party right or wrong.
    We only plead that they resolve †̥̥h̶̲̥̅̊ǝ̩̩̩̥ matter so that students can go back to school.

  19. We keep remonstrating wiv both parties as students because we r tired of staying at home, thereby blinding ourselves to d salient truth…education is underfunded in dis country. Like it or not, ASUU has a point, n if they have to stress dat point to fatten d linings of their pockets while bettering their output, y should we complain? Afterall, our legislators earn more than their counterparts d world over, wiv zero commensurate output, yet they r demi-gods. Let ASUU alone!

  20. Rubbish article. The crux of the strike as we all know borders on the need to reposition universities in nigeria. Have you ever bothered to ask yourself why politicians send their children abroad to study? I believe the answer is very obvious. You made mention of professors earning 500 thousand naira. Do u know how long it takes to attain the rank of a professor? Please kindly compare the legimate salary of a professor with that of a politically elected individual in the country. Just so you know, an assistant lecturer with a master degree earns 124,000 naira, whereas, a police ASP with just a first degree earns 160,000 naira, same with a civil defence cadet. Please, spare us the crap! Lecturers need to paid well.kudos to ASUU!

  21. The writer is very myopic in his views and is just trying to get recognition for himself. The proposed funding for education will benefit the lecturers no doubt but will definitely improve the quality of education in the country as well. Let him write about the jumbo pay the legislators take home monthly then I might listen to him!

  22. May God bless this writer….first n formost…i realy miss OBJ as a president of this country..if Goodluck shld implement, No work, no pay then by nw lectures wld ve gone bck to classes..

  23. As if they like students that much. God bless the writer of this article.

  24. U ar right sir, i c Asuu members as greedy n evil homo sapien esp d chief boss.

  25. Please check go check what ASUU means again,maybe then you will stop complaining…

  26. May God bless u jor. Afterall d issue of funding z settled, dy should av cal off d strike nah if dy r truely fightn 4us, asuu president refuse 2 speak afta d last meetn on tues when he knws dat d issue dat concerns dm haz nt been addressed, nau Fg z offern 30bl instead of 87bl dy demanded 4 telln dm 2sacrifice bcoz of d student, let wait nd c mayb dy wud agree or nt dn we wil knw wot z on dia mind tomao.

  27. Hmm,wat a world….!
    9c write-ups sir…..
    Just incase d whole Asuu strike has put u 2ru a rough an unkind face of life and u wanna laff&smile till u 4get d whole tin……
    Its comedy unlimited wt Mc DeeBoie D comedian……
    Add now&strt laughing * 239ECABE or on FB facebook.com/mcdeeboie

  28. Mr writer, u wrote well. I keep wondering, when did our lecturers fall in love with the students, to the extend of fighting for our future. ASUU should not be deceiving student, because I can’t remember when our lecturers started being concern for us. We don’t want the love pls

  29. I meant their children. All the same
    F**c em, we Ball

  30. All I’ll say abt this strike is F**k ASUU and Federal Government! Anyhow they do it, we and there children will dfntly be out of the school system someday. F**k all of em

  31. i love dis guy. If u look at this so called asuu demands u will be suprised to see that only one of like 10 of their demand talks about infrastucture the rest is basically on a way to favour them and not the students. I must tell u that Nans is not even representing us since it is mostly their Boys that they can control they put in office. SUG is a mess now and Nigeria student have little say in all this setup. We are just been directed and we cannot even talk because our reps are ashamed and corrupt.. Here in uniben u only wonder if SuG is there for us or against us and am also aware tht it is so in most of our university. Asuu officials is shouting that our politicians children schools abroad. Have u asked your lecturers where their children are? They skul abroad so dey dont care iif we dont go to skul for ever they are happy bcos they want their children to b beta off. But by Gods grace we shall bee victorious

  32. hw i wish dis article will be sent to d so called "ASUU EXCO''

  33. their response to fg’s offer of 30bl as earned allowances wil justify wether their are actually fighting 4 student. We are watching

  34. God bless you for this write-up. I have always said it that ASUU’s priority has always been their pockets (which is not bad), but they should come clean and stop hoodwinking us with the “improved funding of education” story. Since ASUU have been going on strike, the end result has always been, ASUU gets increased salaries and allowances, including the ones for the period they were on strike, the infrastructure at the universities remain the same, and the poor students have their academic calendars extended further. Lecturers get paid for work they never did, but nobody compensates the students for the time they lost!

    1. @ Tunde: Tanx broda,I alwz feel sad for some us that still have somthing in our medulla to write when it comes to issues like this. Though tertiary education is in a dilapidated state which in-turn has affected most graduates produced.

  35. Hmmm… May he who pretends to weild the sword for me just to own my head be put to shame! Nice piece

  36. Hmmm… May he who pretends to weild the sword for me just to own my head be put to shame! Nice piece

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