The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos (UNILAG) branch, Dr Dele Ashiru, has canvassed for support of all stakeholders in the educational sector to support the union in its agitation for the revitalisation of public universities in Nigeria.
Ashiru made the plea during a virtual lecture on, ”No Dull Moment in Islam” Platform, on the topic, “Putting an end to the perennial ASUU strike: The Role of the Academia, Government, Parents and Students,” saying ASUU alone has been under attack by the state and the general public.
Ashiru traced the decadence in educational institutions in Nigeria to the incursion of the military into politics in such a way that it has changed the original aims and standard of university education in Nigeria.
The Union leader also recalled that the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) during General Ibrahim Babangida regime in 1986 worsened the living standard of both staff and students as well as the parents.
“Nigerian universities rather than being citadels of learning became citadels of violence, corruption, neglect, and mal-administration and the system brew various crimes”, he said.
The university don said that contrary to the pervasive belief about ASUU as a strike loving organisation, the struggles of ASUU has been geared towards the revitalisation and sustenance of public education in Nigeria.
He explained that it was the ASUU agitation as a trade union of intellectuals that led to the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement and 2012 ASUU “Needs Assessment of Nigeria Universities.”
Ashiru added that it was ASUU struggles that led to the creation of Education Trust Fund now TETFUND established as an intervention for the provision of physical infrastructure in the public universities.
He submitted that underfunding of university education in Nigeria is a deliberate state strategy for the imposition of the ruling elite hegemony for the purpose of social and political domination.
He opined that to solve all the problems, all stakeholders, students, government and parents must support ASUU in the agitation for restructuring the educational system to make it more functional, liberating and empowering.
Ashiru also reiterated his position on increase in funding, accountability and transparency as well as war on unethical practises and struggle for total system change.
Earlier, the national coordinator of the “No Dull Moment in Islam” an online Platform, Prof. AbdulRasak Kilani said the lecture was part of its own contribution to resolve the impasse between the federal government and the university lecturers aimed at finding lasting solution to the crisis as the students and the educational sector are suffering.
Highlights of the three-hour lecture include comments from some participants on the platform on repercussions of the ASUU strike on some state universities on solidarity strike but when resolved would not benefit them in any way.
ASUU, as an association, was equally advised to carry everyone along in their agitation such as other unions within the university environment, so as to be fair to all concerned.
Also, there were lamentations of Nigeria losing its best brains of lecturers and students to foreign universities once there is any prolonged strike, pleading with the two parties to come back to the negotiating table in the interest of the poor masses who could not afford the high school fees of the private universities in Nigeria.
There were concerns and suggestions to the government to equally look into the situation of things in other critical sectors like Health, agriculture, security, judiciary, media and civil service so as not to degenerate to another strikes that will hurt the country system.