Monday, 6 April 2020

What has ASUU contributed to Covid 19 and National Development

Joseph Odok|6 April 2020 

One of the failed, recently corrupt and insensitive Unions in Nigeria is ASUU. Painfully the ASUU built by the likes of Dr. Oladipo Fashina and Prof Escor Toyo was more in defense of the rights of its workers and the rehabilitation of the University's educational system. But today ASUU seems to be seen by many to always be on the side of corrupt Vice Chancellors and most times in defense of University Management across the country. Congress of University Academics CONUA, a splitter group in ASUU has not failed to point out the internal compromises and collaboration of ASUU with Vice Chancellors to sink the Nigerian educational system. Thank God for the emergence CONUA whose objective is to correct the deep-necked corruption in ASUU with priority on stabilizing the educational system from incessant and irrational strikes by ASUU

It is terribly insensitive for ASUU to declare strike and shut down universities at a moment Covid-19 is ravaging the world. This is the time ASUU should show its wit by adding their wealth of knowledge in search for solutions for Covid 19 pandemic. Embarrassingly ASUU is proppled each day by demands for it's welfare that is often largely unaccounted for; thereby forgetting its primary responsibility towards stabilizing the educational sector and giving quality education to the Nigerian society. 

Nigerian University are gradually becoming the worst in Africa not necessarily because of poor funding by FG but moreso because of collaboration of most ASUU leaders with reckless Vice Chancellors thereby frustrating Federal Government efforts to curb corruption and revamp the University system. 

In most Universities today, ASUU endorse the extortions of students by most Vice Chancellors with its union leaders increasingly becoming members of University Management team. ASUU is gradually becoming a protective belt to protect corrupt Vice Chancellors as adjudged to be the main reason for ASUU's fight against the FG IPPIS policy. Government have continued to insist that IPPIS is aimed at checkmating ghost workers and the illegal deductions of salaries of members of University Staff across the Nation

As a then member of ASUU University of Calabar chapter, my shocking observation was that ASUU's primary interest was solely in collection of dues. When my harassment by the University of Calabar all started, I personally wrote to ASUU. In a Congress which I was in attendance, my innocence was clearly established by Congress but ASUU leaders in University of Calabar lost its guts to call the erring Vice Chancellor to order. This lost of voice was because most past and present leaders of ASUU University of Calabar Chapter are part of University Management team and beneficiaries of anomalies in the University system. Same complaint was also sent to the union through its National President, but as supposedly exalted as ASUU ought to be, I was never invited nor did the union deem it fit to at least acknowlege the receipt of my letter of complaint

If ASUU was serious to checkmate corruption in the internal runnings of the Nation's Universities, Nigerian Universities would be far better placed than it is today. A union that collaborates in the corruption, misuse of internally generated revenue and FG grants to Universities in most universities cannot adequately have the moral grounds to talk on poor funding by FG or call for irrational strike. ASUU has outlived it's value in recent times, ASUU is becoming a dues collecting association that collaborates with Vice Chancellors and University Management to oppress it's members and/or frustrate Federal Government attempts at sanitizing the Universities

Covid 19 poses a great challenge to the ASUU, ASUU must call off its national strike and join in the global search for cure for the pandemic. It is time for ASUU to define itself as the intellectual house of Nigeria by increasingly proffering solutions to current global problem especially those possed by Covid 19. Strike at this time is the most insensitive and irrational thing ASUU should contemplate. I call on ASUU to immediately call off its strike. 

Joseph Odok PhD Esq
Former Lecturer University of Calabar

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