Opinion, the current (ASU) strike and a nation of literally, coward and liar
By Felix Akindele
1 month ago
- Top Stories
Opinion: The Current (ASUU) Strike And A Nation Of Illiterates, Cowards And Liars
By Adebayo Ayodeji Oladipupo 2 hours ago 107
Education - Top Stories
Opinion: The Current (ASUU) Strike And A Nation Of Illiterates, Cowards And Liars
And so yet again, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been compelled by the unimaginable cruelty of the Federal Government of Nigeria to embark on yet another round of indefinite industrial action.
The current strike action which came on the heels of the expiration of ASUU's two week warning strike at the beginning of March, 2020, is the consequence, primarily, of the vicious and heartless decision of the Buhari Federal Government to stop the February salaries of lecturers in Federal universities over disagreements in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Systems (IPPIS) EVEN AS NEGOTIATIONS WERE STILL ONGOING TO RESOLVE THESE DISAGREEMENTS.
Thus, for two months now -- February and March -- academics in Federal universities have gone without their salaries despite the current uncertainties and anxieties occasioned by the monumental health crisis of Covid-19.
Where else but Nigeria would you find this kind animal kingdom blood thirst and murder instincts? Where else but in a nation riven by malice and hypocrisy?
As usual, out of a combination of ignorance, sour grapes and ingrained lack of empathy, the rest of the country, including even the students we teach, does not care whether the lecturers die or live.
Indeed, a good many of them, including our students of course, have predictably begun to publish silly, insolent, indolent and godless criticisms of ASUU's action in complete and total disregard for the truth, decency and humanity.
But what are the facts in dispute in this latest round of ASUU/Federal Government crisis? What are the disagreements over the IPPIS scheme which have resulted in the cruel stoppage of lecturers' salaries?
For whatever it is worth, here are the simplified facts for those who are genuinely interested.
Although, there have outstanding, long overdue issues of breach of agreements such as the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), revitalisation funding and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement signed between ASUU and the Federal Government, THE CENTRAL DISAGREEMENT THIS TIME REVOLVES AROUND THE FLAWED IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IPPIS SCHEME.
With the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which mandates all Federal establishments to pay ALL revenue into a single federation account, and now the IPPIS, which stipulates that all salaries, wages, emoluments and sundry ad hoc payments emanate directly from Abuja to the individuals concerned, it is clear that out of monumental ignorance and semiliteracy, the Federal Government wishes to destroy not just university autonomy, but the entire university system.
The major peculiarities of the university payment system as practised ALL OVER THE WORLD, and which mandate university autonomy, include:
i) external examination in which a lecturer from one university, presumably a professor, is appointed and invited by another university to come and examine final year undergraduate long essays, Master's dissertations or PhD theses of her students, and then paid an honorarium;
ii) external assessment for promotion in which the packaged publications of an academic in one university are sent to three lecturers in other universities to determine whether such an academic is qualified for promotion, and then those external assessors are paid appropriate honoraria;
iii) sabbatical leave during which an academic of the rank of Senior Lecturer and above from one university can, after every seven years, go to another university and work for one full session and receive salaries from both institutions;
iv) adjunct or part time lecturing in which one university saves cost by inviting academics from a nearby university to come and teach courses for which full time lecturers are not available, and such lecturers are paid ad hoc, usually per semester; and,
v) visiting and exchange scholars programme during which scholars from other universities especially foreign universities can bring their teaching and research experience to bear on a particular university for a specified period of time, and of course they are paid.
Now all these peculiar features of universities are time bound, meaning that each university requires readily available funds to finance them appropriately.
An external examiner, for instance, needs his honorarium within 48 hours after his job is done. An external assessor for promotion indeed requires his honorarium BEFORE he assesses candidates' publications for promotion sent to him.
Indeed, Vice Chancellors require a lot of funds to package and send out lecturers' publications to these assessors.
The Vice Chancellors also need readily available funds to determine areas of need in terms of sabbatical, adjunct or part time lectureship for their academic programmes.
The IPPIS scheme as currently operated by the Buhari Federal Government -- which is ostensibly intended to eliminate corruption, but which has turned out, as in everything associated with Buhari, to be a process completely fraught with unbelievable corruption and errors -- involves a needlessly clumsy and cumbersome process of data capture documentation for every single person to be paid.
Pray, how in God's name does the Federal Government expect an external examiner who visits another university for a 48 hour postgraduate viva to first of all go through such a cumbersome process of data capture documentation and then wait indefinitely for his payment from Abuja?
Added to this is that by the nature of the IPPIS software, no personal details can be captured more than once, and this means that no lecturer will be able to go to another university for sabbatical, adjunct, part time or even the external viva.
These are the concerns which ASUU leaders have raised with the federal government since last year, and for which, as a sign of good faith, they (ASUU) have proceeded to design an anti-corruption software of their own which incorporates these peculiarities, namely, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), and asked the Government to integrate it into IPPIS.
The Government pretended to be receptive to ASUU's genuine concerns, and while negotiations were still going on to resolve the grey areas of this dispute, the Federal Government unilaterally stopped lecturers' February salaries.
Only a country of hypocrites, illiterates and cowards will persistently ignore the genuine struggles of the oppressed intelligentsia in favour of the position of their illiterate, semiliterate and brutish oppressors as many Nigerians including our students are wont to do.
At a time of general uncertainty about the Covid-19 epidemic, when all civilised nations are rolling out financial palliatives to help their citizens remain at home, the Buhari regime in Nigeria is vicious enough to deny a critical sector of the country EVEN THE ONES IT HAS WORKED FOR, and the whole country is quiet!
But the country and our generally reactionary students will not be quiet for ever.
ASUU must remain resolute. The chickens must eventually come home to roost.
After the Covid-19 lockdown will come the time of reckoning for the oppressors and their illiterate and cowardly defenders.
Yes, indeed, for Buhari, all those insolent defenders and 'students':
Opinion The Current (ASU) Strike And A Nation Of Literally Coward And Liar
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