By: Rwang Patrick Stephen
- The strike started on a warning note on the 9th of March,2020. Due to Government failure to act, a total strike commenced.
- Total, comprehensive and definite strike started on 23rd March 2020.
- The plan to end the strike was taken after the 9th meeting between ASUU-FG on 22nd December.
- The strike was called off on 23rd December 2020.
- The strike started on 23rd of March and ended on 23rd of December 2020 respectively. Pay attention to the figures, 23/23.
- Many academic staffers enrolled in IPPIS on the following gathered reasons: Some did that in solidarity to the Buhari led FG, some were compelled to enrolled by SSANU and NASU members, some did that out of fear of losing their jobs, some enrolled in solidarity with the school authorities(VC boys and girls category), some did because the can’t trust ASUU, others enrolled because of hunger and the final category did that willingly and due to the fear of the unknown.
- Committed ASUU members passed through huge difficulties. The price was supreme.
- Many comrades died while the struggle was on. Some were buried the same day the strike was called off(23rd December,2020). May their souls rest in peace amen.
- Many lecturers collected loans to survive. The hardship was much and massive.
- Many who can’t access loan borrowed and beg to pull through the 6 months of hardship withheld salaries phase 2 (July- December). It was daunting experience.
- The strike lasted for a total of 276 days with the following breakdown by months;
August= 31 days
October= 31 days
- This is the longest strike since 1999 or since the inception of ASUU in 1975.
- The difficult aspect of the strike was, lecturers weren’t paid during lockdown.
The States were lockdown and lecturers suffer with their families without payment.
There was no movement for the lecturers to do other odd jobs to survive because of Covid19 scourge that started from endemic, epidemic to global pandemic accordingly.
This strike was difficult, strenuous and rigorous because of Covid19.
During previous strikes, lecturers move around to make ends meet. But this strike was done in lockdown and facemask era were everything was on standstill.
- Many Professors betrayed ASUU by writing rubbish articles to paint the union black.
ASUU suffered from the hands of three categories of saboteurs as put by a certain Professor in one of his writings: Intermediate saboteurs, internal saboteurs and external saboteurs. The fight was very serious.
- Seasoned Professors stood shoulder to shoulder with ASUU. Through their writings, the send message to the Government that they are indeed intellectuals and won’t be taken for granted.
- Primetime institutions , outstanding citadel of knowledge, reputable centres of knowledge, well known academic communities or the first, second, third and fourth generation Universities remain committed to the struggle.
- Despite Government blackmail to ASUU, the union wasn’t deterred at all. ASUU NEC did a good job.
- Sister Unions in the Universities like NASU, JAAT and SSANU worked with Government to label ASUU as the problem of the Universities. But ASUU was committed and focused to the end.
- Media houses like TVC, Channels, Arise and AIT etc stood with ASUU. In their own ways, the send messages to the Government daily, weekly, monthly and often. Worthy of mention include: journalists hangout (TVC) and Politics Today (Channels).
- Many Students were Pro-Government and anti ASUU. The insult lecturers on all social media handles available to them like; Tweeter, Instagram, Smart Chat, telegram, Facebook etc.
- Most Parents weren’t involved in the struggle. They saw ASUU as wicked and unbecoming of teachers. To them, ASUU is overbearing and delaying their wards unnecessarily by shutting down the Universities.
- The town (the public) were divided. Some were for Government while some were pro ASUU. The Pro-Government were very sentimental. They did that because of Political sentiment. While the Pro-ASUU believed the condition of lecturers must be reviewed.
- Government had no reason to stop ASUU members salaries because, they shutdown the schools too due to the scourge of the Covid19. They were paying others staffers who were also at home due to the Presidential directives to close the schools.
SUCCINCT SUMMARY OF WHY ASUU WENT ON STRIKE IN 2020.
- FG failed to honor the agreement entered with the Union in 2019( this agreement back dates to the popular 2009 agreement).
- Government failures to implement either the memorandum of Understanding and memorandum of Action respectively.
- Lack of state of the arts facilities in the Universities.
- Lack of internet access to Lecturers and Students on campuses.
- Lecturers not having offices to work in or walk in. Very saddened.
- Salaries of Lecturers has remained the same without review for 11 years.
- Lack of Laboratories, Lavatory or lavatories and standard halls to lecture in. Students seating on the floor to receive lectures.
- Lack of well equipped halls with standard facilities like public address etc. to enable Lecturers lecture, teach and manage the crowd or army of Students conveniently.
- Failure of Government to set up a visitation team to the Universities.
- IPPIS, Government insistence to enrolled lecturers into the payroll system that couldn’t capture all the peculiarities of the University system.
- Revitalization of Universities quest and increase funding respectively.
The struggle of ASUU has often been selfless and public friendly. ASUU as union put interest of it members last and that of the students first.
During the just concluded strike, members of ASUU asked the leadership to focus from now on staffers welfare not just the issue of revamping and revitalization of the Universities as the case has always been