It’s easier for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to embark on strike, same with their non academic counterparts, Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU). Nigerians have been made to swallow the belief that these workers embark on strike because they want to rest. This is however too crude to believe.
ASUU has been on strike for five weeks. ASUU strike has become a yearly anniversary since 1999 wasting precious years of students. Many have asked, should strike be the first approach? The Unions always claim that they notify the government before embarking on any strike but it is unbelievable that these so called “learned” don’t understand the effect of beurocracy in a democratic system. Maybe that isn’t the problem, but there’s no effective public involvement. Should there be uproar before the strike, the meetings that are called during the strike would have been done earlier and both the federal government and Unions would have reached a common ground. This is not always the case. One beautiful morning, students would just get stranded not knowing why, until after some time before getting to know that our universities scholars have started their “usual anniversary.”
For 18 years, strike couldn’t solve the problem. Shouldn’t these universities workers come to a resolution of resigning instead of disturbing the academic calendars? Should they not seek for greener pastures and leave the “rotten sector” for those who could endure? One would be forced to believe that education in Nigeria isn’t as badly funded as claimed by these Unions. Across many federal Universities, there are many ongoing projects of the federal government. It is unfair of these Unions to solely blame the federal government for the rot in these universities.
These unions claim that the Federal government is not doing what is expected of them. The students return the questions and ask, “are they doing what is expected of them?” Is it the lecturers that don’t teach but set exam questions that have the students at heart? The main effect of these strike actions is the closure of schools. The same way Nigerians are the electricity distributors by owning Generators, the students are their own lecturers too. It is unfair for these lecturers to keep collecting salaries for what they are not doing.
The latter might not be applicable to all lecturers in the Universities, but however not untrue. It would be a funny but reasonable decision if Nigerian Students claim to also embark on strike for being “under-taught.”
The education sector needs funding, but things wouldn’t get better if the government is the only source of funds. In Nigeria, quite a number of unions would embark on industrial strike actions in a week and make life unbearable for many Nigerians.
If these unions can not seek for whatever they are asking for without abandoning their work and still expect pay, I suggest that all schools be shut down, privatised and let us know that the poor don’t have the right to education. ASUU and other universities unions are only infringing on the rights of students by employing a wrong approach for the right course.
It is saddening how a 4 year course turned 8 years because of ASUU strike. It is heart breaking for a student expected to graduate 21 years graduate 27 years.
I am not saying they shouldn’t fight for what is theirs, but the power of dialogue and active public involvement can not be undermined