The Nigerian Educational system especially its tertiary institution level is fast becoming a gallows for the various Nigerian youths with the aspirations of attending many of the prestigious states and federal universities which has produced many of the Nation’s elites and renowned figures who has gone on to lead the nation Nigeria, making a name for themselves within and outside the Country.
The incessant cases of industrial strikes which has become a culture, a major experience which students across all levels of the Nigerian academic set-up now braces up to experience. The average number of years expected of the Nigerian student is four years, however the usual four years duration as often been seen by many as a makeshift one as the sole determiner of the numbers of years which students are expected to spend in the University is mostly dependent on the numbers of industrial strike actions that are been encountered during the course of the student academic sojourn.
Just as the Nigerian nation battled the onslaught of Covid-19 in the nation as well as other nations of the world, it was also battling the month long industrial strike action which was embarked by the members of the Academic Staff Union [ASUU].
Coming on from the recent statement released by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi stated that the association is ready to stay true to its vow to sustain its ongoing strike action until the Federal government of Nigeria accedes to its demands, accepting and implanting them without leaving out one.
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this at the University of Port Harcourt on Saturday during its interactive session with critical stakeholders, meant to provide public enlightenment on the struggles of the union.
As reported on the Punch Newspaper, Ogunyemi stated that the association is not just bent on arranging strike whenever they feel like as the purpose of this strike is to demand from the Federal Government to implement its 2012 universities need
“Students who are our children and partners in progress should show understanding, what we are asking from the government is in their interest and the interest of the nation, good hostel accommodation, good classroom blocks that can engender effective learning, laboratories where cutting edge research can be carried out and offices that can drive the process of quality university education.”
“So, what we are asking of the government are not baseless things, but those things that in 2012, the government conducted during a needs assessment survey and found out that there are widespread rot and decay in the university system, we asking that the government implement its own report of 2012.”
Ogunyemi also added that it was saddening that Nigerian university lecturers were still receiving the same salary scale of 2009 in 2020, stressing that the sad reality must be addressed before ASUU would suspend its ongoing strike action.
“Salary issues are still there, we have not fully addressed that, it appears that some forces in government are bent on suffering our members by withholding their salaries. But we believe that once we sort out the issues of Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution, other issues will fall in place.”
“The 2009 agreement we had with government stipulates that that agreement would be reviewed every three years, but since then, we have not been able to review the salary scale and that is why we are saying that the negotiation we started with the government in 2017 ought to have been completed and with the completion of that negotiation process.”
“A new salary scale should be in place and we are insisting that the process is completed before this ongoing strike is suspended among other things.”
Examining the positions and demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, while many might have accused them of been inconsiderate with their various cases of ending strikes action, the members of the general public might come to realize their pans and their plight. Just like every other Nigerian worker, they deserve a good working condition in their various universities. These are individuals who have overcome various educational hurdles just to be where they are, even as they dedicate their lives to impacting knowledge to the younger and coming generation of Nigerians. The Federal government must see it a necessity to ensure that the welfare of this set of people are well taken care of and that they are working in a conducive environment.
Comparing the salary scale of university lecturers in the state to that of other nations around, and what it lawmakers earn. It is however important for the Federal government to see to it that the demands of the ASUU are met.
By Amudipe Marcus