Reforming ASUU as pressure group
NEWS DIGEST–The long aged trajectory of pressure groups has defined their place in every socio-economic, political and societal place. The conspicuous reference of its objectives defines its structure and functions. Pressure groups across nationalities are viewed as a body that stands cohesively as a group towards the struggle, fight, and influence of government or political
stakeholders towards engendering their goals. This is no different from the objectives and goals of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. Its functions and group’s behaviour define its place as a pressure group which over the years has often moved towards achieving its goal in tertiary institutional development.
ASUU over the years has been characterized by varying strike actions towards achieving its demands as a union.
ASUU which is an evolution of the Association of University Teachers established in 1965 has kept on the struggle – tarrying more doggedly in the Nigerian democratic era.
The union, no gainsaying,has lead several strike protests from 1999 through 2018, apparently witnessing a 19 years academic calendar with a corresponding 3 years strike disruption of its academic activities, majorly bordering on improvement of federal government funding of universities, improvement on working condition of lecturers, review on retirement age of its members, payment of lecturers salary shortfall among others.
However, it is deeply pathetic and demotivating that several government and political stakeholders have viewed and are currently viewing this legitimate and pertinent rights of the union being put forth and having it treated with kid gloves.
In the light of the current strike by the union, it is instructive for the union to review it’s modus operandi and possibly enact an expedient comprehensive reform via its stakeholders- as this season marks a crucial period for ASUU to either get their demands met or melt by the educationally insensitive political gladiators.
A common parlance states “you can’t continue to do a thing the same way and expect a different result”.This is reflective of ASUU in its fight towards its goal achievement in its present era.
Historically, ASUU has been claded as more of a striking pressure group as against a politically pressurising group.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities is a principal body within the educational sector responsible for breeding and building leaders, structures, and policies that shapes the educational frontier of the country.
INEC boss, Mahmoud Yakubu, in one the dailies said” the strike is worrisome as the commission also sourced some of its ad-hoc staff from the tertiary institutions”- this is indicative of the fact ASUU is a key agent in determining the political and leadership fate of Nigeria.
It’s instructive at this point for a strategic reformation of ASUU, from being a strike wielding body to being a strategy wielding body in driving and achieving its pertinent goals.
This implies that ASUU initiates a reformation process of; reconscientising it’s members on being politically neutral, promoting cohesiveness amongs it’s members, establishing an unbiased position in budgetary process participation through the ministry of education cum NUC, establishing a keen relationship with other civil society groups like NLC,TUC,NANS amongs others, upholding a prioritization of its needs in relation to economic realities, establishing an unpoliticised relationship with the legislative body via the committee on educational matters, and developing a culture of accountability towards its members, allies of relationship, and the institution it represents.
ASUU is decisively influencial in Nigeria’s socio-economic and political development and must not allow political gamepads and gambler’s pad-out their rights.
To this end, the federal government is therefore enjoined to heed passionately as a democratic umpire well informed of democratic dividends to consider the pivotal position of the union in terms of its divulging role in raising leaders,sustaining educational tenets, and developing competitive educational institutions within the global sphere. Furthermore, the dismal economic state of the nation can be traced to the neglect of the federal government in building competitive human capacity via its educational institutions- as this is grossly evident in the federal government’s allocation to the educational sector of barely 8% of the 61.4 trillion budget from 1999-2018 far behind Ghana’s 13.7% allocation to its educational sector in 2018. Iittle wonder it’s economy is experiencing a ripple effect of this conscious investment stride in human capacity development.
Conclusively, ASUU must rise and remain resolute at this point, not waivering and compromising but strategic in its decisions, position, and participation as part of the key players in economic, political, and societal advancement within the country. An election platform has been set as an opportunity beckoning on ASUU to decide it’s fate. would the union’s decision at this critical moment change or keep unchanged its status quo?