When God ordered Moses to instruct King Pharaoh of Egypt to release the Israelites from his thralldom, Pharaoh became so obdurate that God hardened his heart. It seemed to him that all else had failed on the part of God and the Israelites notwithstanding the ten plagues when he (Pharaoh)
gave the chase and eventually, together with his chariots met his waterloo
at theRed Sea.
The ongoing impasse with the Federal Government and ASUU seems to havedefied all laws of negotiations. It is no longer news that ASUU embarked on an indefinite industrial action on the 1st of July 2013 spanning over five months now. All essays made by the Federal Government to
resolve their contretemps have proven abortive as ASUU seems to be taking the
fool’s errand approach for a 100% implementation despite the agreement reached in the thirteen hours meeting with the President and some labour leaders, and the subsequent 60-40% vote by the Federal/State Universities indicating a call off of the strike. Instead ASUU have elicited some outrageous demands amongst which are the non-victimization of lecturers by paying up their four months salary, the immediate implementation of the N1.2trillion
agreement reached by Government, et cetera. The Federal Government has been
flounced by this demand and has issued via the Minister of State for
Education and the supervising Minister of Education; Nyesom Wike, a one
week ultimatum, terminating on the 4th of December 2013 to call off the
strike or face the boots. In the meanwhile, the pro-chancellors have ordered all vice chancellors to re-open the universities. Threat has been issued by Nyesom Wike to all lecturers who fail to turn up at this
order and have instructed vice chancellors to declare vacant the seat of
any adamant lecturer and also to open internal or external adverts for
job application to the position of a lecturer.
Ignoring a 60-40% democratic consensus of calling off the strike
by the member universities of ASUU headed by the Chairman; Nasir Isa
Fagge is to me a showmanship of negligence, breach of the rule of law, and
official duty and respect amongst her members. I have never heard in any
country where industrial agreements or disputes are met or resolved in
one sitting. There are some bureaucracies attached to it and can be sorted out
in dribblets even while students are in school. It has never happened
in this country where a President would sit and discuss with ASUU for
thirteen straight hours all to say the strike continues. The once bitten twice
shy syndrome that ASUU have decided to adopt may worsen the situation twice as
fast as students are no longer on the ‘angel side’ owning to the scorching effects of the strike on them.
The ASUU leaders have exterminated the light beaming around Prof. Festus
Iyayi’s death and now their private interest is at stake. At the initial stage they were fighting for a just course but it seems as if their
private pockets are at stake as they are fully demanding their four months
salary for work not done. The thirteen hours meeting with the President
should have been enough to iron out or chime in the issue of the non-
payment of their four months salary, but that was not done. If a student is
absent from lectures for two months with or without reason, whether he
will be given a C grade freely in that course is out of the question. And yet
ASUU are demanding for a lost cause. Whether or not the Trade Dispute
Act guarantees the non-victimization of workers of their salaries is not a
topic for this context as private pockets are superceding the public
interest which is against equity.
The series of plagues that have bedeviled this strike doesn’t seem as a
wary to ASUU as they have decided to toe the line of King Pharaoh of Egypt.
The bossy attitude of King Pharaoh towards the Israelites warranted God to
release His last card that eventually closed his chapter. The plot has
being thicken and every attempt to return the students back to the promise
land have all come a cropper. Now the Federal Government has adopted a gun-boat policy which I am not praying for a Red Sea occurrence, but just like Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who after his conquest of virtually the Europe, ignoring all advice, fell to the Duke of Wellington at the battles of the waterloo.
Some lecturers have broken ranks within ASUU and those ones whose job are now at stake should kindly return back to the classrooms while negotiations continues because when it happens, we will know that we were only sheep without a shepherd.
God bless Nigeria.
Written by Davidson Obabueki.