Abdulrasheed Akere Abdulkareem writes,
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) announced to hold a national meeting on Monday, 14th February 2022 to declare its final decision on the emerging strike action and It has been glaring that another indefinite, sad holiday is around the corner owing to the intensity of threats blown out by the academic body. On Tuesday, 8th February 2022, a meeting was held with leaders of ASUU-UDUS at the university’s ASUU secretariat. The outcome of the discussion proved more than the average percentage that ASUU to embark on strike is hugely feasible. Also, a lecturer from the University of Calabar pasted a poster that reads thus; “Federal Government (FG) declared a strike, ASUU obeyed. So, if ASUU strikes, blame FG, not ASUU.”
While ASUU often says the federal government has yet to fulfil the 2009 ASUU/Government memorandum of agreement, nevertheless, ASUU should not embark on this coming strike if truly the union is fighting for us (students) as they claim. The disadvantages of the strike are more than its advantages to students, so there should be other means to fight the government rather than strike. It’s obvious that none of this government has children in public universities, so there’s no way they can feel the strike, rather the problems will still only rain on us, the students, who ASUU claim they are fighting for.
A solid reason why ASUU should not embark on the strike is because of the academic calendar. The university academic calendar of the university has been disrupted due to Covid 19 and the union’s long strike in 2020, it’s ridiculous that we are in 2022, and the current academic session is 2020/2021, yet the union is threatening to embark on another indefinite strike. If truly ASUU wants the education system to be well-refined, then the strike is not even the next option.
Insecurity is enough to call ASUU kind eyes to avert the looming strike, in the sense that if ASUU declares a strike, students will have no choice but to go back to their father’s house; many students are schooling in a far place from their residence. What if they get into kidnappers, Boko haram, and bandits’ hands in the course of touring back home? In another, similar vein, ASUU should deter the strike to also save students from being involved in accidents while travelling back to their domiciles. Recently, Fatima Zahra Saliu, a 200-level student of human medicine from UDUS lost her life in an accident on her way home to Kebbi from Sokoto.
Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is not hesitating to conduct the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for secondary school graduates; while some graduates also haven’t gotten admission into higher institutions despite that they pass UTME because of the delays in universities’ academic calendars. If issues aren’t being handled sympathetically by the union, there will not be only confusion in the academic settings but also resulted in a dilemma in which O’level holders will practically have nowhere to study top or their desired courses.
It’s absurd that since 1978, the union (ASUU) has established their belief that strike is the only language the government understands, whereas alternative mediums for fighting the government are supposed to have been invented as it’s obvious that the strike is no longer the music government listens and dance to. If ASUU cannot sue the federal government to court as alleged by UDUS ASUU Chairperson, then the constitution should be amended to ban every politician from sending their children abroad to study. If each of them from local to federal tiers has children in public universities, they will also feel the pain of using eight years to study just a four-year course.
Instead of a strike, ASUU can seek assistance from strong international organizations such as UNESCO, USAID, UNICEF, COL, Ford Foundation, British Council, just to mention a few. These institutions can provide the financial aid that the system needs rather than strike at all times.
Alternatively, so far so good, 2023 election is approaching and ASUU members are major government’s elements used in birthing successful conduction of the election. ASUU, thus, can use this to threaten FG that they won’t help in the coming election if their demands are not met. In addition to that, ASUU also has the authority to prevent the corp members from partaking in the election program.
Rather than strike, a well-structured academic ground can still be attained, if truly ASUU members are not fighting for their own selfish interests, they then should consider the students who weather the annual pains and tortures that comes with the nauseating breaks and adopt another, more fair and objective styles to threaten and convince the government in the course of achieving their old goals and fighting for their recent growing needs.