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Analysis: ASUU And The Incessant Strikes In Nigeria, The Way Forward - Education - Nairaland

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Analysis: ASUU And The Incessant Strikes In Nigeria, The Way Forward by Nditoeka: 8:12am On May 09, 2022
For about three months, the federal government-owned universities and some state-owned universities in Nigeria have been shut down. This is due to the agitations of the university lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Well, this is not new in the Nigerian education system which is already on the verge of collapse due to the incessant strike by both teaching and non-teaching staff. This persistent industrial action is birthed by underfunding and a general lack of attention from the concerned party.

For almost two decades, ASUU has been involved in a constant and rigorous struggle with the federal government under different administrations, resulting in the continual disruption of academic activities. What for? The bone of contention has always been the state of the public universities, the welfare of the students in these institutions, and the salary structure of the lectures, among other things.

The Origin and the Foundation of ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was spawned out of the Nigerian Association of University Teachers (NAUT). In 1965, the NAUT was established to embody academic staff at the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Ife, and University of Lagos. The NAUT's major goal was to enhance the country's service conditions, as well as its socio-economic and political well-being.

While NAUT was more conservative and sympathetic to the post-colonial regime, it was deemed unfit to transform the academic standard of Nigeria Universities. Thus, ASUU was formed to be more radical about the state of the Nigerian education system.

ASUU was founded in 1978, during the start of the oil boom's fall, when the country was suffering the repercussions of its authorities' inability to employ the oil money to develop production and a social welfare system. The essential liberties in society had been severely weakened by the military regime. Military tyranny took away academic freedom and university autonomy. Education, and hence universities, received less financing. The causes necessitated a shift in the academic union's orientation beginning in 1980.

ASUU grew more radical, more concerned with large national concerns, and stood forcefully against the country's harsh and undemocratic policies.

ASUU and the Persistent Need for Struggle

Throughout the 1980s, ASUU fought back against attacks on academic freedom. The first struggle resulted from the infringement of the disciplinary functions of Governing Councils by the government who illegally dismissed some members of staff without the right of a hearing.

ASUU fought the Shagari government from 1980 to 1981. Its main concerns were finance, wages, academic autonomy, brain drain, and the sustainability of university system in Nigeria. Several industrial unions and NLC State Chapters collaborated with ASUU in this struggle. It addressed discussions about the course and framework of national economic, educational, and other policies.

The next struggle was during the Buhari-Idiagbon administration. During this time, ASUU's fights were founded on the union's moral resistance to military dictatorship and its position on the union's growth route. ASUU assessed the faults of the Nigerian economy and proposed solutions in its publication “How to Save Nigeria”, which came out of their conference on the State of the Economy in 1984.

Over the years, the union has faced several sanctions and prohibitions. The first was in 1988 when the union called a National Strike to demand equal pay and university autonomy. As a result, ASUU was declared illegal on August 7, 1988, and all of its assets were confiscated. It was permitted to recommence in 1990 but was prohibited again on August 23, 1992, following another walkout. On September 3, 1992, however, a deal was made that addressed some of the union's objectives, including the right of workers to collective bargaining. In 1994 and 1996, ASUU staged more strikes to protest the military administration of Sani Abacha's firing of personnel.

This struggle has since become more persistent and frequent in today’s Nigeria. This has continually disrupted academic activities, truncated students’ learning process, and make learning in public universities severely unbearable.

ASUU Strike Chart Since 1999

Following the Nigerian Fourth Republic's return to democracy in 1999, the union remained steadfast in its demands for university employees' rights, despite resistance from President Olusegun Obasanjo's government.

While the union continues to claim that it is fighting for Nigerian tertiary education and, by extension, Nigerian students, many Nigerians believe that the ostensible campaign, which has been distinguished by frequent strike actions, is malevolent and self-serving. This image has not been helped by ASUU, which continues to struggle to connect effectively with Nigerians without coming off as arrogant and condescending.

Let’s have a quick overview of the ASUU strike over the last two decades, how long each lasted, and what the bones of contention were.

1.      1999 – 5 Months

Read More: https://insidesource.ng/analysis-ASUU-and-the-incessant-strikes-in-nigeria.html

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