ASUU Strike 2013 Latest News Update: Nigerian Student Appeals To University Lecturers To Agree With FG

asuu strike news update

August 26, 2013 – ASUU Strike 2013 Latest News Update: Nigerian Student Appeals To University Lecturers To Agree With FG

The threat to academic stability in the nation’s ivory towers because of the current strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has attracted headlines in the dailies. The media has also been awashed by many criticisms, most of which have been directed at the Federal Government in which President Jonathan is the representational character. However, it appears many of the critics have failed to consider the other side of the coin, which is one of the essentials in a debate on such a controversial issue.

Therefore, the focus of this piece is to examine the purpose of the present ASUU’s strike and their sympathizers’ rage against the FG. Firstly, ASUU came up with the issue of autonomy for universities. The FG approved the idea of autonomy so long as the universities would generate internal revenue to offset their expenditure, including salaries and allowances. This government’s position provoked ASUU members.

They poured venom on the government for merely supporting the idea of autonomy – existence as an independent body! Having realized the illusion surrounding university autonomy, members of the academic union played down their demand. This raises a question on the sincerity of ASUU’S demands.

On the issue of Federal Government’s assistance to state universities, this writer supports the idea of assisting the state universities. But must the Federal Government be compelled to render support to universities established and owned by state governments? Methink helping state universities should be as necessary as the state governments are required to support the federal institution located in their domain. Needless to say that state governments collect tenement tax from federal institutions sited in their states.

The idea of compelling the federal government to offer help to state-owned universities is borne out of the fact that academic staff from state universities are also part of ASUU. The truth must, however, be told. The Visitors to state universities are the state governors. Academic and non-academic staff of state-owned universities are employees of the state governments. Compelling the FG to assist state universities no doubt negates the principle of federalism. It only brings to fore the over dependence of constituents on the government at the centre.

The progressive increase of education budget to 26% between 2009 and 2020 is another contentious issue in the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement. The agitation for increase to 26% in budgetary allocation, as recommended by UNESCO for developing nations, is a legitimate one. So there is need to improve the current 8% total budget to education by the FG.

However, while the FG should be chastised for its current 8% budget to education, one needs to remind discerning readers that in nations where huge budgetary allocations are committed to education, members of the academia engage in scholarly research that help to solve societal needs. Only a few of our academics engage in fruitful research capable of solving the needs of our society. Most of the university teachers set their target in journal publication that would help them gain promotion in their academic career even when such is far from rendering solution to our societal needs.

Akin to increase in budgetary allocation is the issue of earned academic allowances for university teachers. Allowances are stimulants that reinforce positive inclination towards work. While government is working out modalities to pay earned academic allowances to deserving university teachers, the Dr. Fagie led ASUU is kicking against such, insisting that allowances should be paid across board, even when not all lecturers merit such allowances.

My experience as an undergraduate and post-graduate student in one of the first generation universities showed that not all university lecturers deserve mention in the earned allowance, particularly the absentees. It is an open secret that some of the lecturers who are fulltime employees in the federal universities abandon their duty posts to shuttle between federal and private universities. They stagger their responsibilities in multiple roles as lecturers–in-charge in both public and private universities sacrificing quality of delivery in the process, at the expense of unsuspecting students in public universities.

These ‘abroad’ lecturers hardly attend classes to teach in the public universities. When they return, mostly towards the end of the semester, they engage the students in lengthy, patchy lecture hours in a bid to cover a course work that ought to have been concluded before the time of exams. Any student who dare challenges lecturer’s absenteeism in public universities are often victimized with a threat of carry-over of the course handled by the lecturer or delay in graduation.

At the post-graduate level, the situation is even more unpalatable. Many post-graduate students fail to complete their programmes in line with the academic calendar due to lecturers’ negligence. They hardly spend quality time to guide and mentor their students in their long essays. With this domineering posture, a percentage of the students either incur extra year(s) or abandon their programmes out of frustration. If you would not grow grey hair while undertaking a Ph.D degree as a student, you have to not only be hard working in your research pursuit, but also be willing to worship the deified characters in lecturer’s garb! Let me add here that a considerable number of the lecturers have passion for their calling. Those ones always act right by performing their duties without compromising standard; they deserve their earned allowances and should be rightly rewarded.

The influx of private universities became more pronounced during the regime of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. Yet, thousands of university applicants seeking admission could not either gain admission into the universities or afford the luxury of high fee demands of the private universities. In fulfilling his campaign promises in 2011, President Jonathan established nine federal universities and further established three to make it twelve. The establishment of federal universities provided succour to admission seeking candidates. Besides providing admission to deserving applicants, it also signaled a massive employment into the education sector. Jonathan will go into the history books as one whose regime established most federal universities in a single tenure.

The prolonged quagmire and the sit tight approach of ASUU members are having devastating effects on Nigerian students, undergraduates and post-graduates. The rot in the education sector as claimed by ASUU should not be further fertilized by ASUU’s hard-line posture. The standstill caused by ASUU/FG impasse could have been resolved if only ASUU and FG would shift ground and make concession, at least for the sake of the students who bear the brunt of the face-off.

Already, the Federal Government has made a spirited effort to get the striking lecturers back to work. The government recently released a whopping 130billion naira in response to ASUU’s demand for infrastructural development in public universities.

According to the Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim, 100billion naira is for infrastructural development, while the remaining 30billion naira has also been disbursed as part of FG’s attempt to defray the backlog of the earned allowances.

That means the federal government has shifted ground in this regard, so what is ASUU waiting for?

About the author: Felix Festus is a PhD student in one of Nigerian federal universities.

65 thoughts on “ASUU Strike 2013 Latest News Update: Nigerian Student Appeals To University Lecturers To Agree With FG

  1. great nigerian students …if i wer asked on my opinion about dis strike…brodas nd sistarz i wuld say let asuu accept d said money given to dem by d federal government nd reopen skuls cuz bliv it or nt d strike is affectin a lot of people in a terrible way.it is affectin our goals nd aims as students.think of dose wu dier parents av struggled to put dem in mst of dese skuls wit d mindset dat in a couple of yrz tym they wuld bcm useful citizens nd cater fr dier various family.wit dis strike dnt they think they re takin away hope frm dis people?2mao wen d people bcum bad citizens dey wuld say he or she refused education nd embraced crime wich wuld lead to certain punishments…nigerian leaders nd reputable asuu members make una think o

  2. the politicians are spending much more than asuu demanded in their die hard political ambition, and the senators are earning wonders too, so why won’t FG give asuu the money, asuu who pretends to be working and the legislators who are not working at all, all these at the expence of the students who are truely working.

  3. From the comments so far, my observation is that we are still far from appreciating the problem ASUU is trying to solve. For many who do not know, there is this joke made of Nigerian graduates as being unemployable. Have we ever asked ourselves this question, “at what point did this start? Why is it that in my school we do not have people from other countries studying with us as it used to be in the past? These are some of the problems ASUU is trying to solve. Remember that when my product is not marketable, I the maker has been indicted. This time around ASUU is not talking about its welfare alone but the students’ welfare. Take a look at the newly established private universities. Who own them? Our rulers! Check out the infrastructures in those universities. They even advertise on CNN for admissions. Some of you who are saying that the strike should be called off what will happen to you if you are given such learning environment? What will be your joy? That you have rushed through the 4 years and then spend the rest of your life looking for job you were never properly prepared for? I think it is better to suffer now and get it right than to always thinking and hoping for a miracle. The Ghana example should be a lesson for us all. Teachers in Ghana closed down the universities for two years. Today, Ghana has become the toast for Nigerians at the expense of our economy.
    Nothing good comes easy! The government reneged on its agreement because should they do what they are suppose to do, you will be better educated and become independent minded. And by so doing, they will not have as many election riggers come any election in the country.
    Nigerian students be wiser!!!
    This agreement took 3 years to arrive at before each party felt satisfied. It was signed in 2009 more than 3 years ago. From that time till now the government never implemented the key components of the agreement after many reminders from ASUU. In life, agreements must be adhered to honorably, period. ASUU is not negotiating any new agreement what it is asking for is implement our agreement.

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