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Thursday, January 23, 2014

ASUP its been 3 months!!!!!

Like the proverbial fights of two elephants, the grass they say always suffer. Lecturers in Federal Polytechnics across the country have been on strike for over three months now and the tales can only be told by the students. At the end of the day the lecturers will smile to the bank to cash their salary arrears while the students three months an equivalent of a semester has been wasted. But how come people are not talking about the ASUP Strike like the just concluded ASUU Strike?
When the University lecturers were on strike, every Tom, Dick and Harry was agitating for an end to the strike, but its a pity that only few people are paying attention to the on-going strike by lecturers of Federal Polytechnics across the country. Even the media that is supposed to be the fourth estate of the real have not devoted much energy to the ASUP strike like they did during the ASUU strike. For how long are we going to continue like this?
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) have downed tools since October 4, 2013 agitating for better working conditions. Unlike the case of the recent prolonged ASUU Strike, State Polytechnics did not join the strike. Many state universities pulled out of the strike when it was becoming prolonged than earlier envisaged. But in the case of the Polytechnic lecturers, those in state polytechnics must have learnt from the ASUU strike, and it is only federal polytechnic lecturers that are left to decide their fate with their employer which is the Federal Government.
For crying out loud, why will the federal government allow an industrial strike by lecturers to last for three months? Three months is an equivalent of a semester in an ideal situation. Which means a whole semester has been wasted and its the students that suffer for it. What happens to the students for the period they are at home? What happens to the academic calendar that has been disrupted? Federal polytechnics have the best academic calendar when it comes to stability, but now they have been drawn back to square one. What happens to the house rents of these students? Landlords will not hear that they were on strike for over three months. Why is it that education is no longer the priority of the government? Every signal is pointing towards the 2015 general elections, and our leaders don’t seem to care as long as their own children do not attend tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Few weeks ago I wrote about discrimination between university graduates and polytechnic graduates. The discrimination has eaten so deep that Polytechnic lecturers are rated second to their colleagues in the universities and nobody seems to care if they sit home for one year. Yes, there’s been series of negotiation and re-negotiations, but nothing seems to be happening. And everyone seems not to be concerned. Where are all are ‘newspaper page’ activists?
The Federal Government and ASUP had met in 2009 for an agreement which the federal government has refused to adhere to. Thirteen demands were made by the striking Polytechnic lecturers and out of that number, only four were picked by the federal government negotiating team which up till now has not been attended to. One of the demands is the removal of the dichotomy between HND and BSc graduates, but this demand has been ignored by the federal government negotiating team.
It is not only federal polytechnic lecturers that are on strike, academic staffs in all Colleges of Education about two weeks ago started their own strike. Maybe the federal government is waiting for their strike to enter three months before they start negotiating with them.
In a country where lecturers of the ivory towers are on strike and no one seems to pay attention, people that are supposed to aid the negotiation are busy writing ‘letters’. I just hope we’ll get it right soonest.

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