ASUU vs FG Face-off: Why Are States Owned Varsities On Strike? By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
As Nigerian Students get set to celebrate amidst wailing, sniveling and gnashing of teeth, bowling and howling, wasted time, ruined future and delayed destinies, of the 100 days of the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), I wish to ask that why are lecturers on the payroll of states owned universities out of classroom? Why did they join the ongoing strike to wage war against the Federal Government leaving the states government that employed them out of the ongoing perpetual class struggle and battle of supremacy?
Why asking the question above? For the sake of clarity, the underneath are the major demands of ASUU from the Federal Government (FG).
ASUU is demanding from the FG for the payment of Earned and responsibilities Allowances totaling N87billions to her members. ASUU is agitating that all the landed properties in Public Universities nationwide should be allocated to her by government to be managed via a company called ASUU HOLDINGS. ASUU is advocating that the projects to be executed with the fund being released by FG should be managed by her via ASUU holdings.
Most importantly, ASUU is clamoring for conducive environment for teaching and learning, total implementation of UNESCO recommendation on education, etc. A total of N400billion is being demanded by ASUU for these.
Affirmatively, the FG has offered ASUU N30 billion for her earned and responsibilities allowances while the sum of N100billion has been disbursed for the provision of infrastructures in public universities with a vow to pay the rest for the next three years.
ASUU has however rejected all the offers tabled before her by the FG, alleging that they were deceitfully concocted.
On infrastructures, the Analyses of the distribution of the N100billion for the implementation of the identified NEEDS of nigerian Universities shows that both Federal and State Universities benefitted from the fund. Take for instance, the Benue State University, Makurdi got N950million, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti got over N1billion, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko got over N1 billion while the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, got over N3billion, i.e both States and FG owned universities are beneficiaries of the fund.
Now, I wish to ask that why are lecturers in states owned varsities still on strike? Constitutionally, legally and lawfully, are they suppose to benefit from the fund being released by the FG? What’s the business of the FG with the rout in infrastructures in states owned universities? Why are ASUU members in state owned universities fighting FG for the poor infrastructures in their institutions? Were they employed by the FG? Were they owned by the FG? Is President Goodluck Jonathan, the visitor to the FG owned Institutions also the visitor to the states owned universities? Are we still in a federation?
On the earned and responsibilities allowances, I wish to ask that why are ASUU members in States owned Universities waging war against the FG over these? Should it be the business of FG to pay lecturers in States owned institutions’ earned and responsibilities allowances? Is it the duty of the FG to pay those serving as Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments, supervisors of Masters and PhD Students, course advisers etc in states owned universities earned and responsibilities allowances? Are we no longer in a federation? Were they employed by the FG? Are they working for the FG?
My candid advise to ASUU members in state owned universities is to pull out of the ongoing strike like their counterparts from Adamawa State University and Rivers State Science and Technology with immediate effect, and start negotiating with their respective state Governors over the poor state of Infrastructures in their ivory towers; and for the payment of there earned and responsibilities allowances.
Furthermore, it is stated in the status update of the negotiation between FG and ASUU that lecturers from state universities are not going to benefit from the N87 billion being demanded for by ASUU for earned and responsibilities allowances. It is simply a matter between FG and its employees.
Consequent upon the foregoing, i hereby I urge the FG to, in respect of the principle of federalism, withdraw the fund already allocated to states owned universities for the provision of infrastructures and merge it with what had already been allocated to it’s own institutions. Let me submit by asserting that ASUU members in state varsities should go back to classroom NOW!!!
Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye writes via firstname.lastname@example.org from Magodo, Lagos
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