ASUU has a history of strike actions. ASUU strike has paralyzed academic activities and university calendars in the country. In fact, the students are in the receiving end as they idle around at home as the quality of education continues to falter.
Academic Staff Union of Universities emerged in the late 70s. It replaced the Nigerian Association of University Teachers. It is a union that has branches in every Federal and State University in Nigeria.
History of ASUU Strike
ASUU waged war against the military government in the early 1980s. The very first ASUU strike started in 1988 for equitable salary and the autonomy of the Nigerian university. This lead to the ban on ASUU-related activities in 1988. The strike was called off in 1990, and students were allowed to return to campus.
A second ASUU strike begun in August 1992, and it led to a second ban on ASUU, but the strike ended in September 1992.
ASUU continued to strike numerous times between 1995 to 1997.
Let’s analyze deeper some of the ASUU strike actions from 1999:
ASUU Strike of 1999
1999 marked the year when Nigeria embraced democracy after years of military rule, but this didn’t stop the barrage of the ASUU strike. There was an ASUU strike shortly after the inauguration of the Obasanjo government. This strike went on for five months.
ASUU Strike of 2000
ASUU had another strike in December 2002. The reason was that the Obasanjo-led federal government did not implement the agreement they made with the union. The strike actually lasted for two weeks.
ASUU Strike of 2003
The ASUU strike of 2003 lasted for more than five months. This ASUU strike was because the government couldn’t implement some of the agreements it made with them. The fact that the university is not adequately funded and on low wages and pension pushed ASUU to strike.
ASUU Strike of 2005
In 2005, there was an ASUU strike that lasted fourteen days. This caused students to remain at home.
ASUU Strike of 2006
ASUU had another strike that lasted seven days, after a warning strike of three days.
ASUU Strike of 2007
In March 2007, ASUU had another strike that lasted for more than two months due to the failure to implement earlier agreements.
ASUU Strike of 2008
ASUU strike of 2008 lasted for a week. The strike was centered on fair wages and lecturers’ reinstatement.
ASUU Strike of 2009
Another ASUU strike occurred in 2007, which led to universities’ closure for more than three months. The strike began in early June and was called off in late October. This gave birth to a new agreement labeled ASUU/FG agreement of 2009.
ASUU Strike of 2010
2010 also brought a barrage of strike action by ASUU. This time the strike lasted for more than four months. The strike was between July to January 2011.
ASUU Strike of 2011
Again, the university was closed in 2011. It lasted for more than a month. It started from December 2011 to February 2012.
ASUU Strike of 2013
There was another ASUU strike in 2013, which bordered on issues because of the age of retirement, university funding, and other salient demands. The strike lasted for five months and started in July, ending in December.
ASUU Strike of 2017
ASUU strike again occurred in August due to some unsolved matters with the government. It ended in September. It lasted for a month.
ASUU Strike of 2018
ASUU also went on another indefinite strike in 2018 over the government’s inability to meet its demand. The strike was called off in February 2019.
ASUU Strike of 2020
Around March 2020, ASUU declared an indefinite strike over contentious issues like the refusal to join the IPPIS platform, poor university funding, and other matters.
Causes of ASUU Strike
Students and parents are at odds over who is to blame for ASUU strikes in Nigerian campuses, which are still occurring. Whilst others blame the government’s relaxed posture and irresponsibility in educational matters, others blame ASUU’s radicalism, aggressive stance, and unquenchable need.
According to the National Association of Universities Teachers (NAUT) 1978, previous ASUU strikes were triggered by the deterioration of university autonomy and academic freedom, poor remuneration framework and allowances, mismanagement of universities, low infrastructure in universities, and the failure to pay the elongated wages and allowances. Since 2003, the aforementioned causes have nearly always been at the heart of ASUU demand and the source of ASUU crises. The issue is: why has this need remained constant and unsatisfied for so long?
The university administration also exhibits dictatorial tendencies and mismanagement of funds, which leads to strike action.
Solutions to ASUU strike
Here are some ways to solve the recurrent ASUU strike problem in Nigerian Universities:
- It is critical that the state and federal governments collaborate with ASUU at all levels in ensuring that the educational and economic crises, and government neglect to fulfill its commitments with ASUU professors, are addressed.
- There should be a strong forum put in place where the three parties (ASUU, the federal government, and management) meet and collaborate to identify and solve their concerns, instead of conducting strike action.
- Nigerian universities and the education industry should receive increased funding from the federal government.
- The federal government should make sure that academics working at a university get their salaries on time.
- The federal government should respect commitments and agreements.
- It is the federal government’s responsibility to work diligently to make sure Domestic and External factors are attended to.
- Assigning governing council members should be on the basis of merit, rather than on their ethnic or political affiliation.