It has now been 85 days since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) began an indefinite nation-wide strike at a NEC meeting held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. Since then, the union and the federal government have met 8 times, going back and forth in attempts to come to a conclusion that satisfies everyone.
Leaders of ASUU and federal government representatives during one of their meetings.
Which is why I was relieved when, after a closed-door meeting with the leaders of ASUU, Senator Chris Ngige announced that the FG had released N163bn to settle some of ASUU’s issues. I was like “THANK YOU, JESUS! FINALLY” and figured that it would only be a matter of time before the strike got called off.
My celebration was premature though because not long after, ASUU came through like a wrecking ball and were like:
How cool would it be if press releases were released in meme format?
Dr Ade Adejumo, the Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, spilled all this tea in a statement released by the union, dramatically titled “Re: N163bn released to ASUU: Putting the record straight.” He said that along with being untrue, the federal government’s claim misinforms the general public that ASUU collects money from the government.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement:
But the question to ask now is:
Well, here’s what really happened.
You see, in an attempt to identify and fix specific problems in Nigeria’s education system, ASUU carried out a NEEDS assessment on it back in 2012. The result of that exercise is what is called the Needs Assessment Revitalization Fund (i.e. the money that ASUU is currently fighting the FG for).
TETFund is an agency set up to provide supplementary support to public tertiary institutions. Speaking about the whole thing, ASUU’s national leader, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, clarified that while the union did receive N163bn, it was from the TETFund and not from the Ministry of Education for the revitalization fund.
The Federal Government is still an onigbese and needs to pay what it owes before the strike is called off.
All this is fucking terrible because while the FG is doing all it can to eschew responsibility, public university students around the country are stuck at home with their lives put on hold.