April 28, 2022

Despite House of Representatives Promise to initiate Mechanisms, perennial ASUU Strike continues

Whatever the issues, strikes cannot continue to be a perennial exercise. Strikes cannot be the tool we use at all times, but only when things finally break down. On the other hand, the government should also not go into agreements it cannot honor.

Abiola Durodola
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Last Updated
April 28, 2022
10
min read

The House of Representatives pledged to “initiate mechanisms that will address perennial strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU),” which would ultimately stabilize academic calendar and study period in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The Gbajabiamila-led House of Representatives had made this pledge as an intermediate legislative action its revised legislative agenda document.

According to Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the legislative agenda document is their contract with Nigerians. “…what we now have, is a contract with the Nigerian people, against which all our efforts will be measured,” he said in a statement made available on its website.

Over 2 decades now, ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria have always been at loggerhead with students been at the receiving end. Before the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, ASUU, organized body for lecturers in universities in Nigeria had embarked on industrial action for cumulative of 3 years between 1999 – 2018, an action which has hugely affected the already battered education sector. Hence, the significance of this proposed legislative action to the education sector.

Promise: Initiate mechanisms to address the perennial industrial actions by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other workers in tertiary institutions

The striking lecturers’ first strike action in the 4th republic was shortly after the inauguration of Obasanjo-led administration in1999, with the nationwide industrial action lasting for 5 months. Since then, ASUU has continued to press its demands home through strike. Most recent strike was announced in February 14, 2022 with the strike still lingering due to breakdown of dialogue between ASUU and the federal government.

Since the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, members of ASUU have gone strike for a cumulative 11 months. In 2020, the ASUU embarked on a strike action which lasted for 9 months. In abating the lingering strike then, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the HoR made an appeal to the striking lecture the strike during a meeting he had with them in March 2020.

“I want to appeal to you; we cannot go on like this. I know government is ready and willing to listen to you and I want you to be able to listen to the government as well,” Gbajabiamila said during a meeting with the lecturers in 2020.

In November 2021, Femi Gbajabiamila’s intervention averted an impending strike action by the university lecturers. The speaker ensured an agreement was reached between the stakeholders involved to temporarily stop the proposed strike action.

“Whatever the issues, strikes cannot continue to be a perennial exercise. Strikes cannot be the tool we use at all times, but only when things finally break down. On the other hand, the government should also not go into agreements it cannot honor,” said Gbajabiamila during the meeting in Abuja.

In February 2022, the HoR adopted a motion which was moved by Hon. Dozie Nwankwo and titled, ‘urgent need to address the frequent strike actions by ASUU’. Through the motion the HoR mandated that FG to adhere to the MoU it signed with ASUU. Despite wading in, the strike has not been called off.

While there have been temporary interventions, not much progress has been recorded on the mechanisms put in place by the HoR to permanently address future strike action. However, we will continue to monitor this pledge before the end of May 2022 deadline set by the HoR for the fulfilment of this pledge.

We rate this Promise in the Works.