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ASUU wins: eight month strike suspended

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By Timothy Akintola

FG’s complacency responsible for dragging the negotiations longer.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on a seven-month nationwide strike due to the noncompliance of the government to its agreement with the academic union that promised improved funding and better welfarism for its members. This industrial strike that commenced as a four-week warning strike on February 14, this has intensely affected many students of federal institutions, who are now collateral damages of the federal government’s series of failed meetings with the union. However, these tertiary institutions are set to resume after rounds of negotiations between both parties.

Prior to this resolution, different rigmaroles ensued which saw the Federal Government drag the academic union to court. The complacency of the Nigerian government and ASUU’s in and out of court antics were nothing short of surprising. This eight-month industrial strike, a battle with intense contestation of brains and brawls also witnessed recurring extensions by the National Executive Council of the Academic Union. Students have lived through this rigorous drama, being the ultimate collateral damage.

Court of Appeal had earlier denied ASUU’s application.

Despite the slim chances at the Court of Justice, the academic union were ready to risk it all, in a bid to reinvent itself, rather than survive under the harsh circumstances that it was fighting to change. The Federal Government continually promised and failed at reaching their own end of the bargain as regards the FG/ASUU Memorandum of Action and as these deliberations went on, it became uglier. It is paramount to articulate that the Federal Government were culpable for not reaching a settlement with the union earlier.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had earlier dismissed ASUU’s application for a stay of execution of the Industrial court ordering the union to commence work immediately. Femi Falana, the Council for the Academic Staff Union of Universities, whilst expressing his confidence at the union ending their seven-month industrial strike, urged the Federal Government to also hasten and finalize its negotiations with ASUU. He disclosed that the meeting with Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Presidency were pivotal to the peaceful resolution and decision to call off strike.

Academic union obeys court order to resume work immediately.

On the judicial ruling, the government is said to have so bastardized the judiciary, such that the court now opposes its own rulings. ASUU has been ordered to commence work with immediate effects, but the government still has not come to agreement with all the demands of the Academic Union. While ASUU has finally obeyed the court’s ruling to return back to class, it is imperative to understand the irony in ASUU’s win, as the FG continues to stall on some of their demands.

By resuming school activities, the academic body has illustrated its commitment to truth and agreement, as well as its sincerity to improving the educational system in the country. The Federal Government however has built a reputation of not fulfilling its own parts of the deal and by this, we can assert that unlike ASUU, the FG portrays a lackadaisical model of patriotism and honor. Gbajabiamila, while stating his pleasure at the union’s decision to end the strike, noted that though the strike was ended, the issues of funding, education standards and welfarism were yet to be resolved.

Crucial conversations about the future of tertiary institutions must hold.

Gbajabiamila further implored universities, unions and citizens to start having important conversations about the future of Nigerian Tertiary Institutions. The complacency of the government in handling this situation again shows the lackluster state. However, the Federal Government-ASUU drama is obviously not over. Soon enough, the union will again clamor about failed promises from the federal government. While the politicians continue to use the association and Nigerians as “tools and enemies”, ASUU will work collectively to win against all odds.

Related Link

ASUU: Website

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