ABEG ASUU CALL OF STRIKE

PART 1:
I have no problem with Unionism. Perhaps I
should say that any right thinking person
should and ought not to be exasperated by
an active and fair unionism. If anything,
it demands our collective support as
citizens and most especially among the
citizens of the ‘fourth estate of the
realm’.

With all their faults and imperfections,
trade unions have done more than
exceedingly for humanity than any other
organization of men that ever existed.
They have done more for decency, for
honesty, for education, for the
betterment of the human race, for the
development of character in man than any
other association of men.

In a democratic dispensation like ours, the
roles of trade unions cannot be
overemphasized. Apart from acting as a
tool by which the labor rights of employees
are not carelessly violated at the hands of
their employers, they have also served as a
watch-dog on the activities of
government, playing oversight functions
and being a constant check on the excesses
of the government as a result of the too-many powers reposed in their hands which
they are in the continuous pattern of
flouting. In this regard, a particular
incident that comes to mind, is the
January 2011 Fuel subsidy saga where we
saw the Abdulwaheed Omar’s led Nigerian
Labor Congress (NLC), ‘force’ the
government into reducing the price of the
Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) which had
been pecked at an alarming 155 naira down
to the considerable 97 naira -that is the
beauty of a well focused, unbiased and
objectivity-based unionism/activism.

However when members of certain unions,
ceasing the avalanche of the powers
conferred on them, ride on the high horse
of democracy and end up causing more
problem in the course of seeking to effect a
change, such a union deserve not the least
modicum of sympathy from a well-informed citizenry.

When Labor unions choose to act on the
psychology of unsuspecting and quite a
good number of illiterate and few
educated illiterates, to sabotage the
national peace, we should give no heed to
their tantrums as their actions to me,
speaks of a people who fail to understand
that the growth and development we all
crave as a people, is a journey where we do
not all get to the destination the same
way we had embarked upon them. While
some live to tell the story, others become
part of the story but there will be no story
to tell when the vehicle is completely
grinded to a halt.

And when university lecturers under the
aegis of the Academic Staff Union of
Universities (ASUU), threw spanners to the
work and downed tools on the 2nd of July
2013, little did we know as students that
we will be met with this level of harrowing
experience in the name of some unsigned
documents between the union and the
Federal government (FG). And so we left
for our various homes in the illusion that
our various classrooms and hostels will be
re-opened after a month or at most after
sixty working days as has been the case in
the last two occurrences but look where we
are today. It’s been a whopping 105 days
since our tertiary institutions became
deserted with academic and administrative
structures under lock and key; to
compound woes, there seems to be no
inkling of hope in sight even as the
yuletide season comes hurrying quickly.

I will not waste space recanting whatever
may have led to the strike as I presume
even the least interested man on the
streets knows at least if not in details, but
quite haphazardly why Nigerian students
have flooded the streets when they are
supposed to be in their respective
institutions. I am more concerned here with
showing why ASUU ought to have called-off this particular strike or why there
couldn’t have been another time to call-off
this particular strike but now as I am not
naïve enough to think that this will be the
last strike to be embarked upon by the
union as to them, strike actions have
become something close to a hobby.

Call it a ‘blame-game’, and you would be
just apt but it is also, yet another effort
into letting anybody who cares to know,
why ASUU should call-off this protracted
strike as a matter of urgency. In any
trouble-shooting mechanism, when parties
are not willing and open to make
concessions irrespective of whatever
transpired between them in the past, then
the party who fails to shift grounds
naturally must be seen as the one who
takes joy in the whole feud and wouldn’t
like to see to its end; such party
therefore, should not be deserving of our
collective sympathy as a people still
strapped and guided by our consciences-ASUU, is that such party in the current
FG/ASUU impasse. I will tell you why.

True, some documents were signed in the
past between ASUU/FG, but where is that
agreement in the whole of human history
that would not be subject to modifications
and amendments? It is both naturally and
legally true that agreements are meant to
be kept. Of course we were told in the Good
Book that God kept his covenant with
Abraham but then, not an agreement
where the party who is to enforce the
agreement suddenly lacks the wherewithal
to do so. ASUU has always told us how the
federal government freely entered into
some agreement in 2009, but let it be said
that president Umar Musa Yar’Adua must
have put pen to paper not ‘freely’ as ASUU
is quick to tell us, but rather, the
leadership of the union back then, ‘arm-twisted’ the government into biting more
than they can chew just for peace to reign.
We all know the late Yar’Adua as a man so
civil to a fault. No other president could
have granted amnesty to the Niger-Delta
militants, but his kind nature moved him to
doing that. And today, has oil-bunkering
stopped in the creeks?
Howbeit, those may have been in the past,
but had the Suswam led Committee (Now
Namadi Sambo) on Needs assessment of
Nigerian universities not approved the
immediate disbursement of 130 billion
which the striking lecturers haven’t come
out openly to dismiss or rubbish, then we
all will hold the government to ransom and
shout to the top of our voices to force
them into action. But since such amount
has been approved even though it begs for
consolidation to at least, half of the 400
billion naira demanded by ASUU, I see it as
a commitment on the part of government
however ‘little’ it may be. Even more, is
the truth that ASUU could call-off and
allow negotiation to continue and if need
be, seek for the presence of certain
distinguished individuals outside of
government and prominent civil society
organization to act as a privy to the
would-be signed agreement. That is the
way a union who claim to be fighting for
the cause of students should act and not
this current tone of greed which ASUU have
chosen to devise which has only aggravated
the problem and everyday rob them of the
public sympathy they before now, enjoyed
enormously.

Can ASUU ever quantify their so-called
academic Earned Allowance(AEA) which it is
now very clear they are after under the
veneer of infrastructural development with
the level of damage that has been suffered
by the Nigerian students who have been
idling away at home in the last 105 days?
While theirs is only but a partial crevice in
their pockets (as we all know many of them
have taken jobs at the numerous private
universities coupled with the fact that
they will be paid arrears of their salary
immediately after the strike is called off),
those of the student population is
financial, academic, physical, and
psychological and otherwise-is that what
unionism is or should be about?

How can ASUU, justify their strike action
In the long run when it is clear that they
will at the end of the day, still do what
even the birds of the air and the fishes of
the sea have always pleaded with them to
do-which is accepting what the government
has offered and returning back to the
classroom for the sake of the students and
posterity?

As it stands, the year is already spent.
How will ASUU, justify not to man but to
their consciences the reason for sabotaging
or dealing a blow to the entire second half
of the year which the strike has gulped as
even if they call-off the strike tomorrow,
academic activities will barely kick start
until the end of the X-mass season? Would
they see it as an end which has justified
the means?

Before the strike action, Professor Dibu
Ojerinde of the Joint Admission and
Matriculation Board (JAMB), had
admonished universities to wind up their
admission processes by October-but as it
stands, that vision is already dead. How
can ASUU answer to this? JAMB will be
ready to flag-off another UTME exam by
March next year, what then will be the
fate of the students who sat for the same
exam this years only for the current strike
to put paid to their lean chances of
securing admission in to the universities by
October this year?

How will they answer to the level of
disruption of academic calendars of the
various universities which have been under
lock and key since the commencement of
this latest strike? Do they even think about
that? The Nigerian University Games
(NUGA) which was scheduled for this month
has been either postponed or cancelled due
to the strike. Does the striking lecturers
even understand the level of integration
such sporting event allow students of its
opportunity? I do not think so.

They are more interested in profiting Naira
and pushing career aside. They are more
concerned in wearing the same grade of
‘agbada’ with the fools many call senators
and drive in the same posh cars with the
executive class, hence any means could be
taken to achieve this aim, it is not a cause
for any alarm.

This years Law School intake has suffered a
shortfall of candidates because of the
inability of the faculties of Law in the
different campuses to shortlist students
for the annual program. What then
becomes of the fate of these students
affected by this action? Would they ever
find a place in their hearts to forgive
ASUU? Is their future an article so trifle
enough, to be sacrificed on the altar of
unionism?

PART 2 LOADING........

Popular posts from this blog

Itoro Charis & Shekinah Johnson Celebrate Love

Cristiano Ronaldo new girl