14th September, 2017
Hope that the strike action embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is about to come to an end appears dashed as congresses of universities met across the country to deliberate on the recent agreements reached between the leadership of the union and the Federal Government.
Feelers from the congresses that have met indicate that the unions were not ready to call of the strike because the government is yet to show the necessary commitment to their plights. For instance, in congresses held yesterday at the University of Ibadan, UI, and Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, EKSU, members of the union decided to continue with the strike action on the ground that the Federal Government’s offers are not acceptable to them.
According to reliable sources, the staff are not comfortable with the fact that only about one of the seven demands, which is the issue of staff schools of the universities was convincingly addressed by the government. Government only made promises as regards the other demands which do not show any difference from what was on ground before the strike.
As at the time of filing this report, UI was devoid of activities as all unions on campus both academic and non academic have embarked on indefinite strike.
A lecturer from EKSU said, “We have agreed that the strike must continue until the Federal Government is ready to grant our demands in practical way not in promissory act”.
In one of the interaction with the media after the last meeting the union had with the government, ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi said that he could not determine when the union would call off its strike adding that calling off the strike would be determined by the entire members of the union.
However, the effects of the strike has began to manifest as some students who have secured employments have decided to abandon their academic programmes.
A Master’s Degree student of UI who did not want his name mentioned said, “I have been looking for a job for a while now. Because I don’t want to be sitting at home, I obtained a postgraduate form and I was admitted. We were about to start our exam when the strike action began. Now I have a job. I can’t trade the job with the Master’s prpogramme. If I decide to leave the job and go back to school when the strike action is over, what gives me the impression that I will get a job as soon as I am through with the Master’s programme? I will do the Master’s programme when it is more convenient”.
Another student said, “I am considering private university, maybe BABCOCK or Lead City University. Government universities in Nigeria are becoming a problem and time waster. Unfortunately, we don’t have responsible government who will be ready to do what the unions are asking for. First, people in government will chose to embezzle people’s money or mismanage it rather than using it for public good. Since Nigeria has been in recession, have you heard political office holders reducing their salaries and allowances? Go to the National Assembly, and see the exotic cars they are buying. Their salaries are been paid as at when due. Under the nose of President Muhammadu Buhari, those in the executive are also stealing. How many thieves will Buhari catch? Except the system is working, nothing good can come from Nigeria”.
To some female students, the strike action is a blessing to them as some pregnant female students delivered babies. One of them said, “I thank God because I don’t know how I would have coped. I gave birth within two weeks the strike action commenced. That means that I would have given birth to my child while my first semester examination is on-going. This means that I might have not been able to write all my papers. So you can see now that it is a blessing for me. If the strike action is called off now, at least I can sit for my exam and graduate when my mates are graduating”.