Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The ongoing nationwide strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) towards getting improved funding for the revitalization of public universities and new salaries for the lecturers, has received the backing of stakeholders in the education sector.
They stakeholders comprising Students’ Union Government (SUG), Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), and religious bodies, threw their weight behind the industrial action at an engagement programme, organised by the Ibadan Zone of ASUU held at the University Of Ibadan Conference Centre with the purpose of briefing stakeholders on the reasons that prompted the strike and ask for suggestions from the public.
The programme was attended by chairmen of the union in the University of Ibadan, Prof Ayo Akinwole; University of Ilorin, Prof Moyo Ajao (UNILORIN); Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Dr. Biodun Olaniran; Osun State University, Dr Femi Abanikanda; Kwara State University, Dr Adesola Dauda; and University of Lagos, Dr. Dele Ashiru.
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof Ade Adejumo, who was represented by former National Treasurer of the union, Prof Ademola Aremu, alleged that the strike was allowed to go on because the people running the government planned that the children of the masses should to continue to serve their own children, who are educated abroad through deliberate under-funding of public university education.
He noted that ASUU was fighting for the interest of children of the masses and the future of the country, knowing that an uneducated child will know his or her rights, adding that the Federal Government has not been faithful towards fulfilling the agreements it reached with the union but preferred to allocate more funds for the executives and the legislative arms of government.
He explained that the ASUU’s strike is focused on funding for the revitalization of public universities as contained in the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Understanding of 2012 and 2013 and the Memorandum of Action of 2017 and 2019; payment of arrears and mainstreaming of Earned Academic Allowances; renegotiation of 2009 agreement, constitution of visitation panels to universities, and remittance of withheld third-party deductions from ASUU members.
President, SUG, University of Ibadan, Segun Akeju, in his contribution, said the union supports ASUU on the strike for the revitalisation of universities, and urged the academic staff union to carry students along in their strikes, noting that there is no how the strike would not affect the students, but asked that the Union ensure that the strike achieves the reasons for going on the strike.
Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Mr. Bayo Titilola-Sodo, who lauded the stakeholders’ engagement of ASUU, stated that ASCAB “is on the same page with ASUU on the need for massive increases of fund for the education sector. The decay in the sector, especially in regards to infrastructure and conditions of service of all categories of workers, because so palpable due to World Bank dictations and the deliberate neglect of education and other critical social services by successive ruling class governments, especially since the imposition of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in the 1980s.
The Chaplain, Chapel of the Resurrection of University of Ibadan, and Chief Imam, University of Ibadan Central Mosque, enjoined the union to continue to engage the public on the need to support their struggle, saying they were more informed of the reasons for the strike than before. They also enjoined the union not to corrupt their way as they continue to fight for repositioning of public funded universities, as they also called on the government to quickly meet ASUU demands for better public education and welfare of her members in order to ensure quick reopening of universities.