Why FG and ASUU May Enter the Boxing Ring Again

November 4, 2022

On October 14, 2022, when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off its strike after eight long months, we warned that it was not yet uhuru. This was because the underlying issues that led to the strike in the first place weren’t resolved — another strike action was a matter of when, not if.

In boxing, several months pass before boxers consider a rematch. But ASUU seems not to subscribe to boxing rules and is ready to face the government again. Naturally you’re wondering, “What triggered the rematch clause?”

What’s ASUU’s latest grievance?

Even though ASUU suspended its strike, it was really an industrial court order that forced the union’s hands. The ASUU chairman, Emmanuel Osodeke, made it clear at the time that issues had not been resolved and agreements not signed. So essentially, it looks like the referee prematurely intervened in their first bout.

ASUU summoned its National Executive Council (NEC) for an emergency meeting on November 4, 2022 hours after lecturers got credit alerts from the government. The lecturers only received half salaries for the month of October, starting from when they called off the strike. Imagine receiving a half-month salary when you were expecting payment for the eight months of strike.

How are lecturers reacting?

ASUU’s Gombe chapter has already threatened to withhold the results of students. 

One lecturer has threatened the resumption of the worst nightmare of Nigerian students — another strike.

One student also shared a screenshot of a Bauchi-based lecturer advising students to delay resumption and monitor the situation. He said he won’t attend to any students until the government addresses the salary issue.

What’s the government doing?

It looks like the federal government is employing divide and rule tactics, much like it did when it certified a different faction of ASUU during the strike. The government’s latest move is clearing the backlog of arrears of medical staff at the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto without doing the same for lecturers. This has led to  internal tension and accusations the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, is creating division in the university.

Nigerian students are now back in limbo as they don’t know whether to prepare for exams or hold off in anticipation of another strike. The government and ASUU continue to throw punches, but students are the unfortunate punching bags. Who will save Nigerian students from this mess?

ALSO READ: Will Nigerian Students Ever Be Free of ASUU Strike?

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