By: AbdulKabeer Tijani
A shimmer of hope seems to have been lost as the Academics Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is at a headlock with the federal government on the just-introduced IPPIS into the university community system. One would agree that the two parties have always been recognized from time immemorial as bodies that has always been locked up in constant faceoff. No matter how infinitesimal it maybe – even where simple understanding is expected – they had always disagreed vehemently.
However, while these parties involved have nothing much to forfeit from the conflicts, in the long run the consequences remains that it has succeeded in destabilizing completely our academic calendar, which as a result, would delay forthcoming examinations, graduation from the institution, and most especially prolonged our sojourn on campus.
LAUTECH, a state university, is still recuperating from previous strikes that disrupted its academic activities. Obafemi Awolowo University, a federal university, is as well just recuperating again after multiple years of constant strikes which had affected completely, the school system. Currently, the University of Ibadan is also struggling to buckle up and be back on board after previous faceoff, which had completely destabilized the school system. The truth is, IPPIS as a scheme has been in operation since 2007 and what the present government has only done unlike other administration, is to bring in members of the university community.
Overview of IPPIS
According to Ujunwa Ifeanyi of The Guardian, The IPPIS scheme is domiciled in its secretariat, which is a department under the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation. The secretariat is responsible for the payment of salaries and wages directly to government employees bank account, with appropriate deductions and remittances of third party payments such as; Federal Inland Revenue Service , Sate Boards of Internal Revenue, National Health Insurance Scheme , National Housing Fund , Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs ), cooperative societies , trade union dues , association dues, and bank loans.
There were 459 MDAs on IPPIS platform as at June 31, 2017. The department is also responsible for processing and payment of salary to over 300,000 Federal Government employees across these MDAs, while its aim is to enroll into the platform, all Federal Government MDAs that draw personnel cost fund from the Consolidated Revenue Fund .Since inception in April 2007, the IPPIS project has saved the Federal Government of Nigeria billions of naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers, the department claims. The IPPIS department carries out its functions in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Head of Service, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Auditor General of the Federation and MDAs that are enrolled on IPPIS.
ASUU: Their One Direction Strategy
It is obvious that both the two bodies have always got reasons to be at loggerhead with each other. If it is not on salary issues, it would be that memorandum of agreement not being implemented by the government. Amidst all this, it’s pertinent to ask- Why has ASUU been taking the same step in tackling these issues? Could it be that, the only language government understand is STRIKE? It’s just too embarrassing that those union leaders at various institutions, who are our lecturers are not even taking any step toward their own development. Whereas, this are the same set of people that would still forbid students from demanding their right on campus. In fact, they capture protest to be as complete thuggery.
Going forward, ASUU need to sit down, understand how the system works and even what works. They cannot just keep on doing the same thing the same way and expects a different result, it is almost impossible. What is obtainable some five years ago might not be obtainable any longer, majorly due to change in government and some other factors. They have to understand that the Nigeria Economy presently is not stable and needs a quick recovery. No matter what their demand is, I still believe there are still some diplomatic approaches to tackle those menace instead of causing commotions with strikes always. Students being at the receiving end most often suffers from all these acts of debauchery.
In conclusion, I do hope that ASUU trace back its steps, at least if not for anything but for the sake of the Nigerian Students. The truth is, the kind of downtime the pandemonium of strike has brought onto us from time immemorial, is one that cannot be understated. It keeps on disrupting learning processes. Besides, union leaders needs to understand that if truly they want to initiate the change that they envisage, there is need for them to really understand what works for us. They should plan, act, and stop speaking in foreign voices.