The Academic Staff Union of University is the body association of all academic staffs in all Universities across the Federation, although other unions exist, but ASUU remains dominant in the Nation, headed by Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi as the current union chairman with more than one thousand members across all Universities in Nigeria.
The pressure group can be associated with numerous Industrial actions previously embarked on, to press for collective demands of its union members and the student populace, a chronicle of the Union industrial actions is exhume. ASUU strike incepts from 1999 with a five months academic halt, immediately the Nation returned to democracy from the Military rule under the Government led by former president Olusegun Obasanjo; In 2001 the academic space also witnessed another disruption during which the Union demanded for the reinstatement of about 49 lecturers that were sacked in the University of Ilorin, lasting for 3 months; The 2002 strike, a strike that was resulting from breach of former agreement which lasted for two weeks; 2003, the union embarked on a 6 months industrial action due to the Government’s pervasiveness and poor funding of Education; 2005 strike lasted 2 weeks; In 2006 a 3 days strike purported a warning strike, eventually lasted a week; 2007, another strike lasted for 3 months; 2008, the union embarked on a week strike, agitating for underfunding and reinstatement of the 49 sacked union members in University of Ilorin; The birth of the ASUU/FG 2009 Memorandum of Understanding was preceded by the 4 moths strike the union embarked in the apparent year; In 2010, due to Non-implementation of the former agreement, the Union halted activities for 5 months; Again 2011 persistently witnessed a 59 days strike which lasted till the preceding year; One of the Union’s longest strike featured in the year 2013, it lasted for 5 months and 13 days; Again, on August 17, 2017 the body declared a strike which later ended on September; The academic atmosphere deemed purified until November 4, 2018 when the Union declared an Indefinite Nationwide strike, leaving almost all varsities closed till now, amounting to the 14th in the chronicle of the Academic disruption the Nation witnessed.
The reasons for the Union’s incessant and prospectively contingent industrial actions are not far-fetched. Documented agreements between the two parties reveal fairness and transparency in the Academic Union’s demands. The Union and the Federal Government entered into major agreements over the years of their contentious rumbles, beginning from 2009 when both parties entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, containing the highlighted issues as follows; Salary Structure for Academic Staff in Nigerian Universities; Amendment of the National Universities Commission Act 2004; Amendment of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) ACT 2004; Funding of Universities (N1,518,331,545,304) for the period of 2009-2011.
Nigeria’s educational system is in crisis, schools have been diminished and many of our universities and other tertiary institutions in general are places where functional illiterates are trained. Far too many Nigerian children are out of school. Nigeria’s once accomplished public school system is now a shadow of its former self. Schools are immensely underfunded. Whatever little funding exists is very often not judiciously utilized.
Meanwhile Omoyele Sowore, the Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, when asked about the Incessant ASUU strike bemoaned the obstinate reactions of previous and sitting governments towards meeting the demands of the Academic staff Union to revitalize public education. He reiterated that every Nigerian student would have equal access to academic loans; and our tertiary institutions would become centres of research where lecturers and students would partner to provide solutions to the problems in our dear country and also for Africa. He also promised to implement the 26% education budgetary allocation as recommended by UNESCO, stating that a country which fails to build schools is proportionally building prisons, and a country which fails to send its citizens to school is definitely breeding criminals.
He however obliged Nigerians to vote out all corrupt politicians come February 16th and March 2019 at the polls and vote in credible leaders who are really prepared to make a new Nigeria devoid of corruption and ineptitude.