BN Hot Topic: What Can We Do About the ASUU Strike?

About 3 months ago a friend of mine lamented about the fact that her salary had not been paid for months and she was going to leave because she was frustrated. It wasn’t the first time I had heard it and I wrote about it, asking the readers if the solution was to quit working or to go on an organized strike action. {Read the piece and the ensuing discourse here}. Now, if you attended a Nigerian government university, you’re probably not a stranger to the words ‘ASUU Strike’.  Members of ASUU have constantly gone on strike when the terms of their agreement with the Federal government are not complied with.

For those of you who don’t know, ASUU is an acronym for Academic Staff Union of Universities. For as long as I can remember there has always been ASUU strike in the history of our universities. Some people who have opted for private universities have cited “finishing within the stipulated duration of study” as a reason for their choice. This is because there are NO guarantees that you’d finish a 5-year course in 5 years.  So you find that every time the government and ASUU get on a negotiation table, (usually after the commencement of a strike or the threat of a strike), both parties come out with an agreement. Fast forward a few years later (at most) and they’re back at the same place. Threat of strike, or strike – negotiation- back to work. At the butt of this vicious cycle is the student body.

Young men and women are forced to sit at home while the government and the trade union do their usual dance back and forth. I’ve been a ‘victim’ of the ASUU strike and I know what it feels like just waiting for godot. For the past 3 months, and counting, ASUU has been on strike. They’re demanding that the government honors the agreement that they came to at their last negotiation.

However, like all things in Nigeria, it appears we’ve become so used to ASUU strike that we’ve become numb. It’s one of those things that happens over and over and we just ‘accept’ it. Remember how we used to be really horrified at the Boko Haram attacks? Now it appears we’re just numb. ‘Oh those Boko Haram people are killing again. *shrug*‘ But the truth is, lives are being lost. And just like we should not allow ourselves to see the Boko Haram attacks as the norm we really shouldn’t see ASUU strikes as part of the framework of our lives.

So, what exactly is the ASUU situation? Is it funding? I asked my uncle who was one of the ‘Unilorin 44‘ what the real issue was. I asked if ASUU felt that the strikes were the only way to get their views heard. I noted that if they’ve been on this cycle of strikes and pointless negotiations that perhaps it was time to try other outlets of dispute resolution.  He responded that funding was the major problem. Recounting the glory days at University of Ibadan, access to laboratories and modern technology with which he taught in the 70s.  I asked about the funds that had been disbursed in the past to the universities. Who’s accountable for that?  Then he mentioned the corruption in the administrative offices of vice chancellors and university administrator. I sighed ‘Ah! Here it comes, the Nigerian factor’.

I believe that if we’re to find the change we desperately seek, then we have to do something drastic. I don’t believe that foreign universities rely solely on government funding. It’s a task the government cannot bear on its own if we’re to be perfectly honest. There’s room for private sector contribution and even alumni development.  There are usually endowment funds given by charitable bodies who believe in these causes.

The longer the ASUU strike remains, the longer we have young idle people roaming the streets. When I was a student and the ASUU strike met me at home, my father turned me into his investment secretary and I was basically working and trawling the streets of Marina and Lagos Island chasing unpaid dividends and bonus certificates. I felt I was being used but I’m better off for it today.

As a young person who’s affected by the ASUU strike, what are you doing to make sure you’re going to be a better person if and when the strike is called off. As a stakeholder in the Nigerian education system, what can we do to put an end to this recurring problem? Why is our education system in the pits? Why do people get sent to Education faculty if they score 153 in JAMB? What kind of teachers are we hoping to get?

We have smart people who read BellaNaija everyday, is there something we can do? Because, the truth is, this problem is killing us softly.

Let’s discuss!

Photo Credit: 123rf.com

49 Comments on BN Hot Topic: What Can We Do About the ASUU Strike?
  • #NAIJApose.com October 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    students should have a riot o, this is taking too long.

    • slice October 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      i’ve never heard of a Nigerian riot where at least one person didn’t die.we don’t do riots/demonstrations well. I’m assuming you meant a peaceful demonstration and not a riot in it’s true sense. Till we learn how to do peaceful demonstrations, please students should never demonstrate in naija. Naija police may not know how to kill boko haram but they sure seem to know how to kill demonstrating students.

      • ides of march October 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

        Sad but true :(

      • Okechukwu Ofili October 10, 2013 at 11:36 pm

        Peaceful demonstration sounds better.

  • Dolapo October 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I might be wrong. But believe if federal government had agreed to up ASUU’s salary or whatever they demanded for they last time, they probably had it signed. I think suing the government for breach of contract would be better than keeping kids at home.

  • frances October 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Students should have a riot? And what would that achieve
    really? Are students part of the negotiation committee? Will the
    riot force ASUU to call off the strike? I feel there are indeed
    better ways to make known your grieviances without going on strike
    but to ASUU,strike remains the only way foward.I still don’t even
    know what they are fighting for,infact a top lecturer also said he
    doesn’t know what they are even clamouring for. Or they want
    funding? Is it by going on strike,sitting at home and crippling
    academic activities dat d funding will come? Must strike be d only
    recourse in a sector as important as education? I guess they are
    all content with crippling Education in Nigeria,afterall its each
    man to his own in Naija,so as far as dey don’t get wat they
    want,students remain the pawn in their silly games. Nigerian youths
    shud take up courses,computer courses,etc,acquire some
    skills,catering,baking,cake decor,hall decor,whatever at all that
    can keep u busy and atleast get sometin useful into ur brain and
    not sit idle at home.help urself since ASUU and Fed Govt do not
    want to help u. http://imperfectlyperfect92.wordpress.com

  • Me2me October 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I totally agree with suing the government, if there is a signed agreement. I also feel the condition of our universities are not conducive for learning. Our graduates sound like they are just about to enter university.

    Just like a company, if the welfare of staff and the work environment is not conducive, the company will definitely crash. Most times, to get our rights met, something or someone must suffer, hence i am all in for the strike. If its going to take a year to make them politicians understand that the children own this country, then so be it.

    Then again, we Nigerians don’t get it, we are too quick to back out.

  • Usman yau shehu October 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Actually dis is d mst bored time of my lfy,i think d bst
    soluution to dis ASUU strike is let we d stdnts of nig.uni.go out
    in mass n hv a peaceful demostration let tell d world d situation
    we r in nigeia.

  • Mz Socially Awkward… October 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Privatise all the Universities? But there’s the nagging problem of how to transition already enrolled students from one form of school administration to another so maybe that’s not a great idea.

    Seriously though, Uni’s in Nigeria need to get handed their reins and the number of institutions should be reduced by merging or some other means. The government isn’t doing a wonderful job of running them and new methods should be looked into for the sake of these youngsters who’re wasting years of their lives trying to graduate.

    And it can’t be cheap to just be sitting at home with no school to go to (and therefore no pocket money being dispersed), it’s not like part-time jobs abound for non-graduates. I’m curious to know exactly what undergraduates are doing right now. Exploring vocational/professional training? Starting up new businesses? Investigating schorlarships opportunities at Universities in Ghana/Europe/Canada/Australia??

    • jcsgrl October 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      You said it! they should privatize the Unis, close and merge some. They can still have some joint private/govt owned school. I’m telling you the whole educational system needs a total overhaul. It is not globally competitive neither does it address the unique needs of our country’s human resource or intellectual capability. we need a creative educational system that address our growing population. Instead of churning out unemployable graduates, it should churn out entrepreneurs, social media innovators/activists, leaders, and technologists. I could go on and on. I wish God will give me opportunity to be Min of Education…gosh there’s so much I could do.

  • Gistyinka Blog October 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    If care is not talking to this issues the strike will reach the this year ending…

    • Person pikin October 10, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Kai, brother! Na wa oh.

  • bella October 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    usman u mean boring? we jus av to pray for Nigeria

  • tito October 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    A prayer for my beloved country naija, that my solution,so tired of all this strike things.now private uni r making money.it is well

  • Mimi October 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong here but just by reading these comments, you know who the nig. uni students are……..while you’re at home, why don’t you read some books, improve on your spellings and grammar.

    • Miss Anonymous October 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      My thoughts exactly.

    • zeee October 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      I’m telling you.

    • Josh October 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Err… Уσυ didn’t have to say that, we know already. It ain’t a matter of reading or not. Incessant abbreviations has damaged our students for real.

    • Josh October 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Err.. Уσυ didn’t have to say it. It’s well known amongst Nigerian Youths, not necessarily students. It’s not as if they’re not brilliant or loaded with good vocabularies. But уσυ see, as much as practice make perfection, non-practice brings about depletion. What was the ‘qwerty’ keypad cell phone made for? Yet students still abbreviate incessantly. Well, God bless Nigeria.

  • johnspeaks October 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Asuu has made us to believe that d govt is d problem behind educatn bt d fact is dat even if asuu is given 100trn, d money ll stil be stolen by asuu. Asuu is fighting for autonomy when they ve militarily destroyd SUG’S and made dem impotent. The govt shld declare no work, no pay lets see if they wil strike for 3mnths without pay.

  • Yep i said it, bite me October 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    @mimi well said, i cringe when i hear some Nigerian undergrads and even graduates speak english it is beyond shocking. They need to use this period in improving on their diction, grammar and spellings. it wont hurt, trust me.

    • Idak October 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Only when BB and Twitter go on strike can that happen.
      Dem never born ASUU to be able to effect such monumental change via their long strike.

  • Chinma Eke October 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I just discussed this issue today with my mom. The situation is pathetic, I studied at a Nigerian state uni $ have stories and skills for each session’s strike. So Iasked her what other option is open to ASUU besides strike actions, she mentioned the court option, but according to her; fed govt will probably acknowledge that they will pa all demands as soon as the funds are available, which will probably be never. She cited an instance where the state govt ministry where she works embarked on a strike action for fed scale pay, eventually the govt agreed, paid the workers fed scale, they returned to work. The next month they got the old salary scale, the governor appealed that the new scale has to be captured in the budget and as such they have to wait for a new year. Two years have gone, they are still on the old salary scale(their union leaders have probably been bought over).
    The rot in our academic system has its roots from the primary schools upwards, yes, the lecturers and their union also have their own failings and selfish interests.
    It’s not just about ASUU, resident doctors are also on strike, with many more unions threatning. It’s about a government that doesn’t care about its citizens, a government that steadily goes back on its promises, a government that believes in enriching a few at the expense of many. A goernment that won’t fund your schooling but demand that you serve it for a year when you are done and pay you pittance for slave labour. Government should be held accountable, made to face up to it’s resposibilities. I wish I believed this strike will end with better results, but I don’t. It’s the same people, playing and dancing to the same song on the same dance floor.

  • Dove October 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Its disheartening but….all is well. Just BELIEVE!

  • Kc October 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    my own is dat asuu are selfish.dia primary target is to get their allowances.they dont care about the students

  • D Dash n Blush Makeovers October 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Sad this is happening to Nigerian students, God help Nigeria and Nigerians.
    Don’t sit at home doing nothing whilst waiting for asuu to call off the strike, learn a skill in the interim. We are offering discounted maakeup training for students, location is lekki lagos. if you’re interestedsend us an email; ddashnblushmakeover@gmail.com, or call us on 08029997876.

  • Milly October 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    The government should not pay these striking thieves ! In America lecturers do not get paid during the summer holidays and they still attend to students. So they should not get a dime for the 3 months they have been on strike .

  • F.T baba October 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Some pple are jst saying out of point.dis site ask 2 suggest solution not complain.my own suggestion is dat Asuu shud make use of d little dey got,bcos if dey sue govt 2 court,F.G will still win coz all d lawyers in nigeria are nt indepnt.they are still being control by govt.or d students shud goto 2 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY @ ABUJA 4 peaceful protest I trust AMINU TAMBUWA ND DAVID MARK. They will listen 2 u and by den they will knw dat student are inpecient 2 resume back 2 skull.

  • boluse October 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    What do we do?
    The strike nearing its 4th month now
    FG still attributing strike to opposition,
    ASUU is just like a synonym for university strike.
    For us Abiodun wit the govt. we think d strike should cont. “the govt is really blind 2 our plight “.
    But 1 thing, as BN also has noted, i would dat as our lecturers have contested d national corruption, dat of d individual universities should b checked.

    on an option to d strike, i dont really c any. Taking court actions? The govt could negate court mandates, it has happens in history.
    i started d strike wt sleeping and cing movies. now being cautioned with d reality of time, Ive given my tym 2 download tutorials in support of my chosen field, do little work on my Proj and Stl have much tym 4 sleeping and filming. Thanks 2 ASUU

  • holy October 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Riot? No way. One should ever riot to kill itself because of Nigerian govt that does not care about its citizens. They don’t worth our tears and lives…

  • nene October 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    they are not serious yet. let them do everything in their hands to disrupt those useless people in charge of education. nigerian govt. seems not to heed to peaceful demonstrations, so the students should give them hell and war. my 2 cents

  • Middleman October 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    If ASUU likes they can remain on strike for all I care.
    Like you said it isn’t their first strike and it probably won’t be
    the last. I’m not trying to be pessimistic but it’s only obvious
    when you ASUU representatives that compare how much they earn to
    how much senators earn. The last time I checked, lecturers were not
    poor even though they genuinely need an increment in salary. If
    everybody demanded payment by going on protracted strikes, then how
    sad it’ll be for Nigeria.

  • Daughter of a King October 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    It’s pathetic that students academics are being put at stake as a result of irresponsible government. On a brighter note, it would be worthwhile to use one’s time wisely. My younger brother is being affected by this strike but has decided to pour his energy into something valuable- motivational speaking. This certainly isn’t everyones forte so discover your talent that can possibly take you unto greater heights. Is it art? culinary skills? teaching/mentoring/tutoring? etc Go for it! If the government continues to fail our young people, it is about to wake up and get moving! Discover your unique talent and begin to change your story. Shalom!

  • slice October 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    More private schools. More private schools and more private
    schools. the gov’t is broken and anything that depends on it is
    broken as well. fixing the gov’t will take a while. Fashola can do
    VGC, so i’m sure he can also encourage more private schools.
    Dangote, please we need you to start a couple more private schools.
    That other famous rich woman can start one too and we’ll name all
    the schools after you guys. what could be better than a Dangote
    school of medicine or Alakija school of law. Even Ofili school of
    women studies :)

    • jcsgrl October 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Lol @ Ofili School of Women Studies

  • Many people October 11, 2013 at 12:47 am

    All izz well…….Dear God pls let this strike not be
    called off till 31th December 2013.

  • donnee October 11, 2013 at 3:13 am

    where is boko haram wen we need dem? these asuu lecturers
    have to be dealt with. never for one minute shld u guys believe dis
    is for us.it isn’t.they hv succeeded in extending nysc n d students
    plans in general. they will not go scot-free!!!!!1

  • johnspeaks October 11, 2013 at 7:32 am

    @those calling for peaceful protest, if u protest, david mark ll only tel u guys to go hme dat they wil wade into d mata bt that wil just be mere words, if u decide to do violent protest so many ppl wil die cos i trust 9ja police. @those blaming d govt and refusing to blame asuu is bcos if u blame asuu nd they get ur name and mat number, u might nt graduate. how many of the lecturers knws how to lecture? we shld stp blaming the govt atleast for once and tel our greedy and selfish lecturers to go back to school.

  • johnspeaks October 11, 2013 at 7:38 am

    after all these deliberations, what is the conclusion of the whole matter?

  • Rynyx October 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    some of the comments here are so heart breaking. direct consequence of keeping students out of school for too long. now that the strike has refused to end, you as a student, are responsible for what you do with the time. my kid sis is in her final year and since the strike started, she has been learning how to sew. so by the time, she is ending NYSC( hopefully sometime in the near future0 ASUU being equal), she will have a business running and be paying people. same situation but a different response. what ASUU is doing is their problem, how you respond to it is yours. THINK.

  • fills October 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    If ASUU later accepts the #30b ,they are bastards..and if FG later agree 2 pay d #90b after this long strike,they are idiots..”first to tire na lazy girl

  • BUKOLA SAMUEL October 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Oh ASUU. One thing I’ve come to realise even when I ws still a pupil in secondary school is that, this Union is only heard of when there’s strike looming or there’s a strike action. You never hear ASUU doing something else like organising seminars for students or inviting international professionals or bodies to further boost the general situations of students and their Staffs alike. Is it me or the media that has decided to gate-keep every other activity by ASSU except going on strike? #just saying.

    Wanna read some Fiction? Go here – bukolasamuel.blogspot.com – Repping we students @ home ;)

  • Apev dom October 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    It is quite unfurtunate that up tii now the strike is still on, God own the solution, because is not that the FG don’t have the money , so whatever politics they want to. Use nigeriAn student play let they do, the truth is not far fetch that we must graduate insha allah, for asuu , I definitely think asuu problem startd before 2009 so as long as FG has shown commitment then let.themgo Back to there classes, as mr president have said we can not solve asuu problem over nigt but asuu refusal have proven to we nigerian student that asuu are looking for their selfish intrest not about universities again

  • Cor Amour October 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Personally, I don’t think the problem is the FG or ASUU, am not taking sides. Our problem in this country is corruption. Yes the government has not done enough for the education sector but look at the great job the lecturers have done….our graduates are world class. This is all about selfishness and greed. Let’s say the FG gives ASUU all she wants. What assurance do we have that things will change? How are we sure that the funds will not disappear into thin air without trace as usual? If all their demands are met will all the sorting in our universities stop? Will lecturers stop harassing students for bribe and …..? Will all the unqualified lecturers be sacked? Will the corrupt mindset of students and lecturers change? Will exam malpractice stop? For Nigeria to change and be better we all have to change. It has to start somewhere and it starts with you and me. People say the leaders are corrupt but we know deep down that we are all corrupt. I don’t know how this strike is going to be resolved but somehow, maybe by some miracle it will end. I love my country and I want it to be better. God bless Nigeria.

  • Hordunayor October 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Nice article,
    Well for me, ASUU Strike is a way of getting yourself those Personal Development skills(Attending Seminars,Conference,workshops,learning a vocation), Increasing your Knowledge and network-base. It has been a blessing in disguise… Even though we aint getting any younger.
    FG_ASUU!!!

  • Ofili October 16, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Can we do a sit of sorts. Like students congregate at one campus and do a sit in or protest and get international media coverage?

  • the mane captain (natural hair & beauty tips) October 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    i agree on privatizing the educational system. But the truth is, most Nigerians will be unable to afford it. I also agree that students should use that opportunity to develop themselves and learn how to talk and write properly. Nigerians are very innovative, so I trust you are able to see the opportunities in the ASUU problems.
    themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

  • GOODLUCK JONATHAN October 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    my name is goodluck jonathan,i have heard you all.i will do sometin abt it.thanks 4 ur advice.i appreciate.may GOD BLESS US ALL.ASUU VS GOVT.LETS SEE WHO WINS.

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