It is said that the only constant in life is “Change” but in the minds of the average Nigerian student in a public University change is not the only constant, ASUU strike is more of a constant than “Change” itself.
At the mention of the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike, comes frustration and resentment among Nigerian students in various public institutions as lecturers halt academic activities in a bid to force the government of the day to fulfill its demands.
ASUU strike has become a reoccurring trend in the academic calendar of Nigerian public institutions such that students jokingly add a year or two to their four or five years course because the lecturers might embark on strike at any time.
Each administration since 1999 has a fair share of ASUU strike 1999. A recent report shows that Nigerian lecturers have gone on strike fifteen times since 1999 which amounts to 50 months.
The administrations of President Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan experienced the highest number of strikes by the academic union with five between 2006 and 2010.
Over the years, poor funding, infrastructural development have been some of the major demands the lecturers have been clamoring for.
According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation recommendation (UNESCO)., education should amount to 15% – 20% of the country’s budget to meet the required standard. However, the biggest budgetary allocation for education is 10.7% which dates back to 2015.
The 2021 allocation is reported to be 5.6% which is the lowest in 10 years.
The President Buhari administration has experienced two doses of strikes and a third might be looming. The lecturers accused the Federal Government of not meeting its demands reached in January after it called off the recent nine months strike.
However, a meeting is ongoing between the union and the Federal Government to forestall another strike action.
Critics have said that demands of union are unrealistic while others believe that halting academic activities to get the attention of the government is no longer feasible.
For the average Nigerian student, he is only concerned with when the ASUU strike will finally be buried in the archives of the Nigerian academic history but with the failure of the Federal Government to meet with the demands of union, ASUU strike might be a long season film with no end date in sight. The next episode might just be around the corner.