stakeholders in the education sector have called on the Federal Government to always honour its agreements with the union to save the nation from witnessing another strike in the nearest future.
Members of the union, on July 1, embarked on strike over inability by the federal government to implement agreement it entered with ASUU in 2009 concerning the state of the university system.
In their separate reaction on the just concluded strike, some stakeholders interviewed across the country also suggested that the only panacea to forestall future strike actions by ASUU and other unions in the education sector was through good governance.
A former Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Prof. Michael Faborode, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Osogbo that with good governance, all other things would fall in place, adding that “with this, all manners of strike will be a thing of the past,’’ he said.
Faborode however called for hard work and commitment on the part of the lecturers, students and staff of the universities to make up for the time lost to the strike.
Also commenting on the development, Professor Sola Akinrinade, the former Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Osogbo, expressed the need to review the university academic calendar to normalise academic activities.
“This is possible through concerted efforts by the university authorities to work out an acceptable and workable academic calendar that will stand the test of time,” he said.
Akinrinade also said there was the need to put in place an enduring mechanism for effective planning which could sustain and appraise measures aimed at forestalling future strikes.
Dr Michael Oke of the Department of Banking and Finance, Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, said the suspension of the strike would bring sanity into the system.
Oke said even though the strike was protracted, it justified the stand of ASUU as regards development of universities in Nigeria.
He said: “It is good that the strike is finally over. It is now clear that ASUU is not fighting for its selfish interest, but for the survival of university students. We just hope that the agreement is excellently implemented, so that our education system will not be at stake.”
“I, therefore, believe that if this is done, our education system will move from a decayed level to a desired one,” he concluded.
On his part, Dr Akinyemi Oluwadare of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, EKSU, described the resumption of academic activities at the universities as a bold step towards saving Nigeria’s university education.“It is a welcome idea, as far as the situation is concerned. To be sincere, all the stakeholders had been frustrated before this giant step by the Federal Government.” Oluwadare said.
Similarly, some university students across the country have expressed their feelings on the development. At the University of Ibadan (UI), some students have advised President Goodluck Jonathan to go beyond the N200 billion invested in revamping university education.
Ikponmwosa Obanor, a 400-Level student in the Department of English, welcomed the development but frowned at the manner the crisis was handled. He said the parties had not been fair to students and the Nigerian public.
“I am happy that the strike has been called off and the two parties have resolved their grievances. It is not just enough to demand for arrears. ASUU as a body must work to ensure that the nation’s education thrives. ASUU must look at the areas where they have also failed and make amendments,” Obanor said.
In Kano state, Zainab Sagir, a 300-Level student of Bayero University Kano (BUK) said she was happy that ASUU had finally called off the strike. She said: “I feel happy about the development because we will now return to school to face our studies, which have been disrupted for nearly six months.”
She said she had prayed hard for the strike to be called off to enable her continue with her studies.
Another student of the university, Abdullahi Sulaiman, commended ASUU for the decision, saying, “We are happy that the strike has come to an end, because it has not been easy for most of us staying at home for such a long time doing nothing.’’
The students however appealed to the Federal Government to implement the agreements it had reached with ASUU to avoid a similar problem in future.
Patience John of the Nasarawa State University, said the suspension of the strike had made her happy and angry at the same time. She said: “I am happy that they have suspended the strike, but I am sad because they have wasted my time.
“If they had called it off three months ago, I would have been happier. But, as we all can see, the year is already wasted,” she concluded.
Williams Busuyi, a postgraduate student of the Benue State University in Makurdi, expressed the hope that ASUU would ensure a judicious use of the funds it fought for, stressing that this would go a long way in fully justifying the strike.
“I was not happy that they went on strike, but I am expecting that they will make good use of the money they fought for. I have also heard that they are planning to compensate students by rescheduling the lecture time-tables to favour the students to enable them catch up. I hope they will do that,” Busuyi said.
In Niger state, Adisa Idris, a 500-Level student of Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, who could not contain his joy, thanked ASUU executives for suspending the strike.
“I am very glad that the strike is over. I can’t wait to get back to the classroom. I really don’t mind resuming, even tomorrow, because I am just sick of staying at home. I cannot wait to finish my project, graduate and leave this place, because it was the strike which delayed our graduation,” he said.
Corroborating with Mr. Idris, Jane Agbo, a pre-degree student of FUT, also hailed ASUU for considering the plight of students and called off the industrial action, saying “I must commend ASUU for settling its dispute with government and call off the strike,’’ she said.
Hajiya Binta Sani, a civil servant, called on government to ensure the union did not embark on another strike in the nearest future. She said: “I thank God the strike has been called off. Our children can now go back to school.”
“But I want to use this medium to call on our government to continue to improve the standard of education in the country,’’ she said.
Malam Bashir Bako, a businessman, praised both ASUU and the Federal Government for getting to a point of compromise. Bako said: “It is a good thing government and ASUU have finally reached a compromise.”
Mr Oludaisi Elemide, a member of Ogun House of Assembly’s Committee on Education, Science and Technology, commended ASUU for suspending the strike. He described the union’s decision as a welcome development.
However, he advised that the Federal Government should henceforth look for ways to resolve issues before they got out of hand. The lawmaker also advised ASUU and the federal government to learn the spirit of give-and-take.
Also commenting, Mr Tunde Folarin, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Ogun chapter, welcomed the development. He said: “Suspending the strike is a welcome development, and it has for long been overdue. But we all are relieved that our students, children and wards can resume school.”
Folarin, however, said it was not time to celebrate but time to make up for the time wasted during the strike.