As ASUU Dies

Looking at how ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) struggles to have a say in national matters concerning them these days, one would think it’s not the same ASUU—throwback to the Yar’Adua and Jonathan Administrations—that was almost the most powerful union in the country, and the union having the greatest influence on government policies. What happened by the way to make ASUU a union that has not been able to influence the government on anything since the beginning of the Buhari Administration? Could it be the Buhari’s tyrannical way of bringing in policies? Could it be something else? Let’s try to look into that with some critical political eyes. That President Buhari is a tyrant is enough to cripple any union, association, organization or individual that would ever stand against any of his policies he is ready to implement, but this is not what crippled ASUU. What crippled ASUU is internal to the union, and it did the crippling gradually one limb at a time till ASUU is now a crawling union.

First on the list of things that silently reduced the influence ASUU has on the government is there engagement in the monetized Occupy Nigeria movement against the Jonathan Administration in 2013. Though a couple of other unions and associations were used to stage that democratic coup d’état too, but ASUU was going to end up being the body to suffer most for allowing itself be used in such cheap way, as that was when it was revealed to the populace ASUU is only an oligarchical body whose struggles are geared—not towards representing the interests of its members as it should be, nor towards pushing anything at all that would benefit their universities or the students in anyway, but—towards only what benefits the big heads of the union. Yes, every gathering all eventually tends towards favoring the interests of the masters of the association than those of the mere members of the gathering, it’s the Iron Law of Oligarchy, and it’s barely avoidable. But ASUU made theirs so obvious the union began to look like it’s a business enterprise. You cannot have the power to fight and have outcomes off your fight if you are fighting for what only benefits the smallest portion of the group doing the fighting, and also your fighting is monetized.

Sequel to the first  of the reasons why ASUU can’t fight a good fight anymore or even fizzle away as time goes on is the emergence of factions in the union, which one of the factions later broke away to form another union called Congress of University Academics (CONUA). In every university that is already a member of CONUA, most of the lecturers of the universities now belong to CONUA and not ASUU anymore. The end results of that would be that there would have to always be contradictions amongst lecturers and their agitations, and—although CONUA is yet to have anything they have fought for and won—they (CONUA) would always be anti-ASUU in everything, and that would demean any movement ASUU is trying to make. An example of that is the federal government’s introduction of IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System) to the lecturers which members of ASUU are currently insisting on not putting in for, even when almost all of the lecturers not belonging to ASUU and the whole of NASU had already register. It would only mean that the members of ASUU still desisting from embracing IPPIS would eventually come back to it, and that is another weak move on the part of ASUU.No union functions with these backlashes and still be able to achieve much results, and this is what governments always want happening to any association that’s against them—internal disagreement, as if the inside can’t hold, there is no way it can hold on the outside. ASUU is dying, and it will die if something is not initiated immediately to restore the frightening identity of the union.

About Olusegun Peters

Olusegun Peters is a businessman, a politician, a scholar and a crypto enthusiast. He is passionate about impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun here

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