ASUU Member Called o ASUU to Tactically Withdraw Strike Now
After a prolonged strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria, it is finally coming to an end with no result being yielded.
After a series of prolonged deadlocked dialogues and meetings between the Federal Government and ASUU, the Nigerian Government was left with no choice but to take the union to court. Indeed, ASUU feathers were been cut short at this point.
In a statement made by a university lecturer from Bauchi, the Union seems to have lost its relevance after using the same tactics to fight the government over three decades. Below is the complete statement and message from Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde to ASUU. Indeed, there is complete intelligence in every word written by this Nigerian patriot.
ASUU Make a Tactical Withdrawal Now – Dr. Aliyu (Bauchi)
Below is a complete message from Dr. Aliyu to ASUU
I come in peace.
The argument is no longer whether the Federal Government, FG, is funding universities sufficiently or not; or whether lecturers should be paid better or not; or whether the backlog of salaries will be paid or not.
No. It is now between the court and ASUU, should the Union fail to comply with the order to return to the classroom immediately. Nothing less than following the court’s order would reclaim ASUU the chance to fight another day.
You see, over the past three decades, ASUU has allowed the FG so many opportunities and time to carry out a SWOT analysis of its body. And it was so easy because every time ASUU presents itself for a fight, it returns armed with the same arsenal, the same tact, and the same goal. Finally, FG has understood its strong and weak points and has come out with extremely clever ways to combat them.
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Three such deadly measures, so far, are no work no pay, resort to court, and registration of sub-unions. If ASUU returns to the classroom without being paid the backlog of 8 months’ salary, it is very unlikely that most lecturers will support another strike in the foreseeable future.
Registration of sub-unions is a card that will give freedom for groups of lecturers to disagree with the main body on future strikes. Cracks weaken structures.
Finally, the biggest—the law. Had ASUU listened to so many suggestions on changing its tactics, it would have been to court earlier than the government. If it has a partner that is in breach of an agreement for 13 years, where else can it get its right apart from the law? Go to court, lay your plea, and, if you are truly right, the court will oblige you. But holding on to the principle of “collective bargaining” adopted since 1982 under Shagari is like driving a 40-year-old LADA car on Lagos – Ibadan Expressway today. Be careful. A trailer may crush you.
The government, sure of its facts, approached the court in order to put an end to this decade-old dispute. A very civilized, if not crafty way of giving ASUU a deadly undercut. And it worked perfectly. The matter now is not between the FG and ASUU but between the Union and the law.
And people will naturally side with the court. Parents whose children have been at home for 8 months will say, aha, let us see if ASUU will defy the law. If it does, Nigerians will say ASUU is recalcitrant, stubborn, arrogant, etc, as many have said even before now.
ASUU is completely on a different turf now. Not the turf of negotiation, collective bargaining, or interviews on national television, but of the law which demands complete obedience. The language of the Court of Appeal today is unequivocal and will definitely sound strange to the Union.
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And if ASUU would fail to comply with the order, it is giving the FG another opportunity, this time a final one—declaration of ASUU as a lawless union and work for its proscription. It will stop deducting dues on behalf of ASUU, do so many things, and go to court seeking a prescription order and it will get it. ASUU will have nowhere to run to. Courts are final.
I think my colleagues should know that the time is up. For the sake of its lecturers whom it has impoverished, for the students and parents in whose interest it is fighting, and for Nigeria, it has been sacrificing so much, ASUU should make a tactical withdrawal to fight another day, using a different arsenal.
Finally, those saying that the ASUU horse cannot be forced to drink are the most unpatriotic academics I have ever come across. No academic worth his salt will see students before him, refuse to teach them, and claim salary at the end of the month. None. Academics are the most conscientious people I have ever met. When they fight, they fight. When they return to class, they return as teachers, ready to impart knowledge even if it would be under a tree. That is their calling.
Let us meet our students in the class next week. In fact, I have forgotten where I stopped in my Crop Ecology and Physiology lessons. The students need to remind me—if they can remember. Otherwise, we will start afresh.