The future administration of President-elect Bola Tinubu will inherit a simmering issue between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government.
Remember that in 2022, the union shut down public institutions across the country for at least eight months due to the Federal Government’s refusal to meet its demands.
Following a breakdown in discussions, the federal government hauled ASUU to the National Industrial Court after multiple failed attempts to settle the issues and restore the teachers to class in 2022.
As a result, the Court approved the government’s request for an injunction allowing ASUU members to continue work until the outcome of the case.
The appeal court upheld the judge’s ruling allowing ASUU to continue work after the union approached it.
The appeal court gave ASUU until October 14 to comply with its judgment or face contempt charges. As a result, the lengthy strike was called off on October 14.
Among other things, the union wants the following:
Tertiary institution revitalization funding
After the union’s criticism of the poor status of Nigerian universities, the Federal Government agreed in 2009 and 2013 to invest a total of N1.3 trillion into public institutions, including state and federal, in six tranches beginning in 2013.
The Federal Government agreed to pay lecturers EAA in 2009, but the agreement was never implemented because the problem persisted for years.
Nonetheless, the FG pledged to pay the first tranche of the backlog of allowances in November 2019 and the second installment in August 2020, but did not follow through.
ASUU also urged that EAA payments be incorporated into annual budgets beginning with the 2019 budget.
The FG agreed to pay N40 billion in 2020. The government, on the other hand, stated that it had released N22.127 billion in earned allowances to 38 universities for both academic and non-academic personnel.
Education receives a budget allocation of 26%.
Before, the union had demanded that 26 percent of Nigeria’s annual budget be given to education, with half of that allocation going to institutions.
University Transparency and Accountability Solution Implementation (UTAS).
For a variety of reasons, ASUU had rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System IPPIS, a payment platform introduced by the FG.
The union stated that the system would make university operations difficult and inefficient, claiming that institutions use a flexible payroll system to enable the flexible recruitment of lecturers, among other things, and to attract scholars from around the world.
This spurred ASUU to introduce the University Transparency and Accountability Solution UTAS, which claimed to have passed the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency’s (NITDA) integrity test.
The IPPIS was described as a foreign platform, but UTAS is a locally designed system that some stakeholders believe the government should prioritize in order to value local material.
According to DAILY POST, President Muhammadu Buhari authorized N320,345,040,835 as the 2023 intervention fund for public tertiary educational institutions in the country just two weeks ago, on April 4.
Sonny Echono, Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), revealed this during the Fund’s annual strategic planning meeting with all heads of beneficiary institutions.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), the N320.3 billion payout as an intervention fund for institutions remained the largest in the last 30 years.
The current administration, according to ASUU National President Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, does not value education.
He said that the N320.3 billion was not part of the union’s present demands and that they had been fighting for it since 1994.
Recognizing that the President Buhari-led government would expire in the coming weeks, the ASUU president informed DAILY POST that the union is eager to interact with the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.
“The Federal Government has not met our expectations,” he stated. Our demands do not include N320.3 billion. This is the cause for which we fought in 1994. It is not funded by the federal government. It is supported by the public sector and taxpayers.
“Our aim is to see how we can interact with the future government in the hope that, unlike the current administration, the next administration would prioritize education.”
Tinubu, the president-elect who is set to take over the country’s government on May 29, 2023, promised to promote education during his campaign in 2022.