ASUU: When Strike Loses Its meaning and Essence

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By Eddy Odivwri

If care is not taken, when we ask the younger generation the full meaning of ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities), they will declare that it means ‘strike’.

Last Monday, the varsity union called out its members on a two-week “warning strike”. Who are they warning? Their employer!

Granted that over the years the federal and state governments have not paid sufficient attention to the welfare of teachers and quality of education in our universities, the truth remains that things are no longer as bad as they used to be, if the lecturers want to be honest.

But in the instant case, the lecturers have been unduly obstinate and cocky. Your employer says in order to track all salary payments and ensure accountability, all lecturers should register under the IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System) scheme. And then the employee claims that such registration will violate certain rights of the lecturers. How? How does registering under the scheme rob the lecturers of their rights? What right are they even talking about? They basically do not have respect for their employer simply because they can make noise and whip up wry sentiments.

How many of them having a private business, for instance, will tolerate what they are doing ,from their employees? It is like a lecturer fixes a test in a particular course and a student says it violates the time of his/her rest and so refuses to write the test. What kind of affront is that on constituted authority?

Good news is that over 90 per cent of the lecturers have registered under the IPPIS scheme. So it is the negligent less than 10 per cent lecturers that are causing the glitch, if not nuisance level.

ASUU, I dare say, by their frequent and needless recourse to strike actions, have done even more harm to the Nigerian system of education than the so-called negligence of the federal government. They are the reason why private universities are thriving despite the huge cost. They themselves did not attend private universities. They must be seen as partners in progress in nation building, NOT agents of destabilisation, all in the name of reckless “Aluta”.

This strike action is a perfect case of abuse of strike action. Strike ought to be a last resort in trade dispute. But with ASUU, if rain fails to fall early January, they are wont to call a strike. Surely, they have made strike action lose its meaning and essence.