Support mounts for ASUU strike as split emerges in ranks

From left: Former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Nasir Isa; President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi; and the Vice President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, at a news conference on the state of the nation in Abuja on Monday (14/8/17). 04255/14/8/2017/Albert otu/JAU/NAN

The senator representing Kaduna Central District, Shehu Sani, has expressed support for the strike announced by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on Monday.

Mr. Sani, who was once a unionist before he became a lawmaker, expressed his support in a Facebook post.

Members of ASUU had publicly announced their decision to embark on an indefinite strike at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

In the post, shortly after the announcement by ASUU’s president, Biodun Ogunyemi, Mr. Sani urged the executive arm of government to accede to ASUU’s demands.

“First, I wholeheartedly support ASUU strike. Secondly, I call on the executive to dialogue and meet up the demands of the Union. Thirdly, the need to declare emergency on the state of public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education is now.”

He condemned leaders in Nigeria who send their children to schools abroad while ‘public high institutions in the country are left in bad state.’

“If you don’t see anything wrong when leaders flash the images of their children’s (wards) matriculation or graduation ceremonies in some of the world’s most prestigious or elitist universities, you shouldn’t see anything wrong with ASUU strike and demand for a better deal for Nigerian Universities,” the lawmaker said.

“Giving some children the best of education and denying some children same is aimed at entrenching and sustaining a political, social and economic dynasty of class order,” he added.

Also speaking on the ongoing strike, the president of National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Chinonso Obasi, expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the education sector.

He urged the federal government to do all it can to get ASUU back to the classrooms.

He said the demands of ASUU are reasonable and touch on the integrity of government, especially in the light of the fight against corruption.

NANS also gave the government a deadline to resolve the issues at stake.

“In the light of the foregoing we here give the federal government 21 days to resolve outstanding issues with ASUU in the interest of longsuffering Nigerian students who are forced to bear the brunt of government insensitivity.”

Meanwhile, the ASUU chapter in the University of Ilorin, UNILORIN said it will not be joining the national body in its industrial action aimed at pressing home its demands.

Its chairman, Uthman Abdulraheem, during an interview with Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise, Tuesday morning, said it would however benefit from whatever positive outcome emerges from the strike.

Giving reasons for the chapter’s position, Mr. Abdulraheem said, “We were not involved…the invitation to vote was not extended to us. We were not communicated.”

Mr. Abdularaheem, however, expressed sympathy for the action and blamed the government for “not respecting dialogues”.

UNILORIN is one of the nation’s premier institutions that rarely joins in strike actions since 2001 when over 49 lecturers of the school were sacked for participating in that year’s nationwide strike.

The Supreme Court later ordered the reinstatement of the sacked lecturers in 2009, but unionism has ebbed since then.

Also, a lecturer at the Bayero University, BUK, Kano, Muhsin Ibrahim, said lectures are ongoing despite the national strike.

Mr. Ibrahim told PREMIUM TIMES that BUK was not on strike.

“As I am talking to you now we are yet to receive directive from the leadership of ASUU in BUK to embark on strike. Lectures are ongoing at the university,” he said.

“What I received is a text message to attend congress meeting on Wednesday by 10 am to deliberate on reports from Abuja emergency NEC meeting,’’ he added.

He lamented the needless suffering meted on students by such strikes.

The branch chairman of the chapter, Ibrahim Barde, however contradicted the lecturer’s submission saying that the school would be joining the strike.

“BUK is solidly in support of the strike. It would be declared during congress meeting on Wednesday,” he said.

Bayero University has played a key role in past strike actions by the union.

The immediate past president of ASUU, Nasir Fagge, who led the union’s team during the 2009 negotiation with the federal government, is a member of staff in the institution.

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Azeezat Adedigba is an education reporter at PREMIUM TIMES.
She holds a degree in Mass communication from the University of Jos.  She loves music and arts.


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