The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, called off its nine-month-old strike on Wednesday when it dawned on the leadership that the poor economic situation in the country would not allow the government to meet up with some of its demands.
Checks by Vanguard showed that after meeting various stakeholders including the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, the leadership of the National Assembly among others, and the ASUU leadership was told of the dire economic constraints the government is facing, it had no choice other than to mellow down.
Some of the demands by the union that required financial commitment included Earned Academic Allowances, revitalization of the university system, upgrade of facilities among others.
A source said in order not to be further blackmailed by the government as being too intransigent, ASUU had to pipe down.
“You can see that the Federal Government has been trying to portray the union in bad light by saying they have met all the demands of the union. Despite the fact that the demands of the union were not fully met, the government kept saying they have met those demands.
“If it is the way and manner the government’s delegation negotiated, it was nothing to write home about. Some concerned parties also stepped in and given the fact that the economy is in bad shape, the union has to make some concession, “the source said.
However, some critical stakeholders in the sector, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, and the National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, have faulted the strike, saying it made no sense in the end as nothing positive came out of it.
NANS, which spoke through the South-West Coordinator, Mr Kappo Olawale Samuel, said the return on the strike was zero.
“To me, the nine months could be said to have been wasted. What are the demands they made that were met? Students just stayed at home for nine months doing nothing. We are have not gained anything as a nation or that the education sector has been left better off.
“There is nothing we can say is the return on the strike. We hope that the nation will one day jettison this waste of time exercises. A whole year has been needlessly lost, ” he said.
The National President of NAPTAN, Haruna Danjuma, while expressing satisfaction that students would now go back to school, blamed the government for shying away from its responsibility.
“Nobody has gained anything from the strike. Even the lecturers are frustrated. Some of them were idle for months too. Our students are worse off. Some of them may not even remember anything they have been taught. We must not allow a repeat of such waste of time, ” he said.