By: Nouh Sanusi
The Students’ Union of the University of Ibadan has written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking an end to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In the letter, dated 10th of May, 2022, the union urged the President to resolve the disagreement with ASUU, as a concerned parent.
The union lamented that the numerous industrial actions by the country’s academics have had negative effects on the lives, ambitions and aspirations of many students.
“It is pertinent to note that since the inception of ASUU in 1978, the union has embarked on many strike actions, making various demands for the improvement of the university system and the working conditions of staff… We as students have watched these developments with shock because it seems we have been abandoned by successive governments despite the promise of free education… it appears that the government is out to frustrate our ambitions and aspirations.” The letter read in part.
In the letter, which was signed by the SU President, Adewole Adeyinka, and the General Secretary, Bamidele Taiwo, it was stated that students feel as though they have been abandoned.
The union expressed disbelief at the level of indifference shown by successive governments in addressing ASUU’s grievances.
The union wondered why the federal government, in its yearly appropriations, has never met the UNESCO recommendation that 26% of the annual budget of developing countries be devoted to education.
It was also noted that the federal government has been shying away from the agreement it had with ASUU in 2009.
“Since the declaration of the strike, there have been several unproductive meetings between the Federal Government and ASUU. Deliberations have typically been about the renegotiation of the agreement previously made between both parties since 2009. It was agreed then that the conditions of service of ASUU would be reviewed every three years. The 2009 agreement emphasized funding for revitalization of public universities in accordance with UNESCO recommendation that developing countries should devote at least 26% of annual budgets to education.” The letter read further.
The union lamented that students of humble backgrounds who couldn’t afford travelling overseas or attend privately owned universities are academically stranded. It called the attention of the president to how the financial crisis of the Banking sector was resolved, and encouraged it to emulate the same in the education sector, especially university education.
The UI Students’ union therefore appealed to the president to honour the agreements between ASUU and the federal government.
It also pleaded that the University education system be resuscitated, with the adoption of UNESCO’s funding recommendation.
“We request that the board of the Tertiary Educational Trust Fund be headed by an academician.
“We suggest that His Excellency meets with Student Union Presidents of all public universities for a better understanding of our pressing needs,” the union added.