August 16, 2017
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has called on the Federal Government to as matter of urgency address the circumstances that has culminated into the freshly declared indefinite strike by the Association of Staff Union of Universities, ASUU
“We are of the view that the present scenario could have been avoided if government (past and present) had been responsible enough to abide with the agreement it had with ASUU since 2009. If this had been done this precarious situation which has the cancerous tendency of ruining education not just at the tertiary level but the education sector generally would have been avoided through dialogue, sincere and genuine negotiations. And this would have added up to the continuous improvement in the education system basically.” Mr. Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL said in response to the strike declared by ASUU as at enters its third day.
“It is time for government to abandon the same rhetoric of the old which downplays the prominence need to ensure that incessant strikes are abated in the education sector. The usual reactionary response from government has already begun with the appeal to ASUU to consider students who are currently writing degree and promotion examination to call off the strike.”
“Yet government has in face of obvious and imperative necessity adamantly failed to reduce their stupendous and undeserved remunerations, allowances, estacodes, salaries etc while it finds ‘difficult’ to fund education, the backbone of societal advancement. Apparently, the interest of the students they want to use as excuse for their determined position to destroy the education sector is not tenable any longer.”
“The crux of the matter is that government (past and present) has failed in its responsibility and constitutional role to ensure that qualitative and accessible education is guaranteed for all. Education is a fundamental human right that should be guaranteed and accessible to all. Whichever policy or policies government deploys must ensure that this end is fulfilled without discrimination.”
ASUU commenced a nationwide indefinite strike to protest against the failure of the Federal Government to implement the terms of the agreement reached between the union and the government in 2009 on Monday. The Union explained that it opted for a strike after the FG failed to implement the 2009 agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding it signed with ASUU in 2013, among others. The contentious issues in the current industrial action listed by the Union to include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company and pension matters, fractionalisation and non-payment of salaries and the issue of universities staff schools. The current strike was called because the Federal Government in particular failed to fulfill its promises in spite of the November 16, 2016 warning strike that the Union embarked upon but later called off.
Adeniran continuing said “The Honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and the government he serves under must now use their discretion in this scenario in engaging the present crisis. As for the Minister, his conscience, we expect should guide him if he is a man of his words at all, because he penned article on November 15, 2013 in the Daily Trust Newspaper, where he stated as follows: ‘So, instead of hectoring ASUU to call of its strike, the nation should be praying for more of its kind in other sectors of the economy. Since the government has shown itself incapable of doing the right thing until it is forced, the nation should be thinking of organising the association of Nigerian farmers to go on strike to force the government to do for agriculture what ASUU has been struggling to make it do for education. Certainly, something drastic and dramatic is needed to force the government to stop the mindless destruction and degradation of our environment, to persuade it to change its neglect of agriculture and steer the nation towards agricultural self-sufficiency as ASUU has tried to steer it in the direction of educational excellence’. The situation right now, to us seem not to be different from what obtained way back, 2013.”
“We urge ASUU to also introspect and circumspect in its approach as the situation lingers. The contentious issues and consequences of inaction and procrastination in revamping the education sector must be explicitly made known to ordinary Nigerians and the government. Without doubts, Academics deserve their wages devoid of strains, but the issues of curriculum, autonomy, subventions, funding, qualitative teaching and so many others must be addressed to rescue the education sector.”
“The Union as stakeholders has a responsibility to ensure harmony in the education sector and must persevere in its commitment, sacrifices and self-denials for the benefit of the collective. There is always room for dialogue in industrial disputes and this should not be eschewed.”
“We call on government to act now, as the indefinite strike declared by ASUU spells more calamities for a sector that is already in jeopardy and distress.”