First and foremost, let me start by saying a big thanks to” literacy” because it inspires or helps me a lot. In fact, now it has become my “sub-primary assignment” because of its importance to my life and field of endeavour.
Let me briefly highlight some points before going straight to the issue at stake, even though I don’t know whether I am in the position to make such expression or not.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, was established purposely to pressurise government to do the needful regarding the education system and the general welfare of its members.
Although the union has its own issues, but its positives far outweigh the negatives. This is because even polytechnic staff, both teaching and non teaching staff, are benefiting from ASUU’s struggle.
Their struggle led to the creation of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Tetfund, and we all know how Tetfund is positively impacting on universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions across the country.
More so, there’s need for people to understand that ASUU are not running universities, they’re just a body that is responsible for the aforementioned purposes. So, with or without them universities would continue to operate.
My focus is not on the newly registered Congress of Nigeria Universities Academics, CONUA, or whether they can begin academic activities or not. I am not interrogating the process that warranted or legalise their establishment.
My objective here is rather to tell the concerned parties that are seeing CONUA as a relief or a way to end the incessant ASUU’s strike that they should wake up. I want to also ask some questions.
It is a fact well known to us that, government of nowadays or Nigerian government doesn’t want pressure groups and whoever dares to mount pressure on them, they will look for a way to cripple that person or group of people. This is what they want to do with ASUU; CONUA was created just to taunt ASUU.
It could be recalled that the major reason CONUA was registered is because ASUU are no longer dancing to the federal government’s tune. ASUU requested the federal government to revitalise universities and to increase its members’ salary.
Subsequently, it dictated how it wants the federal government to pay its members’ salary. They insisted that the Integrated Person Payroll Identification System, IPPIS, was not acceptable to them and that they preferred University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS. But the federal government rejected their demands.
Furthermore, as far as am concerned, CONUA cannot solve the lingering feud between the two parties, because the same people that are championing ASUU are the same people that will lead CONUA.
So, the ideology and the brotherhood is there or is the same; nothing will change, our university lecturers would continue going on strike, because the same thing that made ASUU to quarrel with federal government would be the same thing that will make CONUA to quarrel with the government.
At this juncture, let me conclude my short piece by asking some questions.
Was CONUA set to destroy our education system? Does that mean CONUA is pitying our students more than ASUU? Now that CONUA has come on board, what will happen with the withheld salaries of the ASUU members?
Abubakar Muhammad Sani,