It is no longer news that the ongoing strike embarked upon on the 1st of July, 2013 by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has witnessed various kind of negotiations, and one common thing with these negotiations is the outcome – it either hits a deadlock or stalemate, however we’ve remain hopeful. We are aware of the facts that the Academic Staff Union of Universities went on strike as a protest to compel the Federal Government to honour the agreement it entered into with the union in 2009, popularly known for the past four months as the pseudonym 2009 MoU. Painfully, this 2009 MoU has generated a lot of controversies on the issue of what it should stand for – this you already know too.
THE STORY WITHIN
Prior to the news that broke the hearts of many concerning the death of Dr. Festus Iyayi, this ongoing strike was thought to be seeing its end as Monday, 4th of November, 2013 would have it – a sitting President, for the first time met with the leadership of the union to resolve the impasse and also to show dedication, commitment and sincerity in granting the demands of the Union to further develop the University education system in Nigeria.
The outcome of the meeting which lasted 13 hours till the early hours of Tuesday 5th of November was not revealed to the public but from opinion polls and press releases, the meeting seemed to be fruitful and would result in the eventual suspension of the strike, why would it not be, considering the calibre of people that attended the power-packed meeting?
The big question now is: WHAT IS DELAYING ASUU?
As we all know, delay is denial, so goes the popular saying, with all due honour to the dead activist. In my opinion, the Federal government has done a lot to show the Union of its sincerity towards the settlement of the impasse and any further delay by ASUU may result in denial of resumption.
Here are some of the theories I put together as regards what might be delaying the union and mind you, THEY ARE JUST THEORIES! They cannot be totally correct.
1. ACCEDING TO THE OFFER: ASUU may have acceded to the offer of the Federal government of 220billion naira, as that is slightly above half of what they demanded for, which is 400billion naira. This is a win-win situation as they Federal government, who earlier stated categorically that it cannot meet the demands of ASUU shifted ground to grant more than 50% of this major aspect of their demands. The Federal government stuck to its guns of not granting the whole 400bn and ASUU too were able to squeeze more than half out of the funds. If this is the situation, I guess we should expect good news soon as there was NO VICTOR NO VANQUISHED!
2. PLAYING ‘OLIVER TWIST’: This could be detrimental to the whole struggle and not just that, to the university education system of the country as the strike would continue with the hope that they can get more from where the 220bn came from, thereby becoming an oliver twist, always asking for more, NEVER SATISFIED! I make bold to say that if ASUU goes through this path, the fight is lost as they would absolutely lose the trust of the people. I, however want to add that I do not blame them as our government in the past has a track record of paying lip-service to agreement reached with various unions in the country including ASUU. It is important to remind ASUU that THIS IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE STRUGGLE AND THE SYSTEM.
3. PUTTING ITS HOUSE IN ORDER: As we all know, a struggle of this magnitude doesn’t come with its prices the warriors have to pay both within and without their camp and that everybody has an elastic limit to which they can push and be pushed. During the heat of the struggle, there was information that some branches of ASUU wanted to pull out of the strike due to its detrimental effect on the students and staff, especially when the no-work-no-pay rule was enforced by the government. This might have caused some in-house misunderstanding within the union as the end-result of the struggle must have been doubted by some parties within the house. This misunderstanding should be resolved as a matter of urgency before the strike is suspended and all parties be reconciled to make sure that subsequent struggle….yes, you heard right, SUBSEQUENT STRUGGLE would be easily embarked upon.
*Pls note that this article was written on the 9th of November, 2013. Anything not included in this write up must have definitely after the date. However, some few amendments that couldn’t be ignored were set into this work.
Written by ‘Deji Balogun
…writing is beyond mere ideas, proudly instincts!