FOR any dispute
between two parties,
there must be a specific
cause. The indefinite
strike embarked upon
some days ago by the
Academic Staff Union
of Universities (ASUU)
stemmed from the
failure of the Nigerian
government to keep to
the promise that it
made in 2009. Hence,
university education in
the country has been in
a shambles as many
universities are
currently under key and
lock while university
students are being
forced to observe a
compulsory holiday.
It is clear that anytime
unversity lecturers are
on strike, education,
which is generally an
asset for individual and
national development,
seriously suffers some
setbacks. It is quite a
pity that in spite of 12
years of civilian
governments, no
succeeding government
has been able to find a
lasting solution to the
recurrence of strikes by
university’ teachers in
Nigeria. There is no
doubting the fact that
one of the major
causes of educational
crises in this country is
incessant strikes by
varsity lecturers, which
are always precipitated
by disagreements
between government
and teachers.
For the time being, it is
important to make
mention of some
protracted strikes
during the military and
present civilian regimes.
The universities’
academic calendar were
greatly disrupted during
the days of the military
dictator, General
Ibrahim Badamosi
Babangida (retd). The
situation degenerated
from bad to worse
during the regime of
another tyrant, the late
General Sani Abacha. We
also experienced ASUU
strike when the then
president of Nigeria
(Chief Olusegun
Obasanjo) failed to
implement the
agreement reached
with university
teachers.
In a similar vein, the
late President Umaru
Musa Yar’Adua clashed
with ASUU and another
strike ensued.
It is so unfortunate
that the history of
ASUU’s industrial action
is repeating itself in the
present day Nigeria,
when we all think that
Dr Goodluck Jonathan,
who is a democratically-
elected president of the
Federal Republic of
Nigeria, with an
intellectual acumen, will
set the records straight
As a matter of fact,
the forces working
against Nigerian
education are; lack of
intellectual super
structures and regular
electricity supply;
absence of potable
water, standard
libraries and science
laboratories. It is very
difficult for Nigerian
lecturers to embark on
researches like their
counterparts in foreign
universities because the
Nigerian government
has not provided ample
resources for the
conduct of such
researches.
Besides all these,
protracted strikes have
forced the most gifted
and talented teachers
to flee our universities.
The then Minister of
Education, Obiageli Ezek
wesili rightly said in
2006 on the NTA
programme entitled:
Presidential Forum on
Education that, ‘95 per
cent of Nigerian
professors are in
foreign universities.
Hamzat Babalola M.
Faculty of Law,
University of Ibadan,
Ibadan.