This is as the National Executive Council, NEC, of the union meets today to decide on the sustained industrial action which many Nigerians have come to condemn.
The leadership of ASUU had postponed the scheduled NEC meeting at the Bayero University, Kano, following the demise of Festus Iyayi, a former president of the union, who died Tuesday last week in a motor accident along the Abuja-Lokoja highway.
The postponement of the NEC meeting to January 15, 2014, had caused widespread outcry as not a few Nigerians – students, parents and other stakeholders – condemned the decision of the union, saying it was evident of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerian students who are worst hit.
Following the development, several universities were said to have begun to hold talks on how to dump the national body and call off the ongoing strike in their respective institutions.
Regardless of the ongoing strike, some universities scheduled dates for their post-Universities Matriculation Examination, UME, exercises.
For instance, Lagos State University, LASU; the University of Lagos, UNILAG; and the University of Jos, UNIJOS, all scheduled to conduct the post UME examinations, although the national body frowned at their decision and stalled the examinations in most schools.
The Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, AAUA, in Ondo State has already pulled out of the strike.
In a statement issued and signed by its registrar, R.B Olotu, the school had ordered its students to resume for the second semester on November 25, thereby boycotting the nationwide strike.
“All students of AAUA are hereby informed that academic activities of the second semester of 2012/2013 session truncated as a result of the ASUU national strike are to resume on Monday, November 25, 2013 with the continuation of registration on the university portal, while lectures are to start on Monday, December 2, 2013,” the statement read.
At the Niger State-owned Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai (IBBUL), some academic staff have already commenced teaching.
This has caused some rancour among ASUU as some lecturers and students have returned to the classrooms since Monday following the re-opening of the institution by the management. But the branch ASUU Chairman, Dr. Aliyu Badeggi, insisted that the strike was still in force in the institution.
Investigations by showed that lectures have resumed only in three departments – English and Linguistics, Mathematics and Physics, while Mass Communication, Business Administration and other Sciences were yet to resume lectures.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Kolo, had last Friday directed students to resume lectures on Monday, after an emergency Senate meeting approved the re-opening of the institution.
Investigations reveal that several other institutions, especially those who voted for the suspension of the strike, are set to dump the union if it decides to continue with the ongoing strike after today’s meeting.
It was therefore no surprise when news filtered in that UNILAG and LASU were set to conduct degree and matriculation examinations outside their campuses.
Also, sources say the Enugu State University of Technology, ESUT, is set to call off the strike if at the end of today’s meeting ASUU still decides to go on with the strike.
The Adamawa State University was also reported to have pulled out of the strike.
Worried by this development, president of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge has warned vice chancellors to desist from conducting off-campus examinations or other academic activities, as such moves could jeopardise the stand of the union.
“We appeal to our VCs to cease from further eroding the credibility of the academic profession which the iconic status of their offices represents. They should remember that they are destroying themselves and their professional calling by desecrating the sacred ethos of university degree and selection examination,” Fagge said.
It would be recalled that the 61 chapters of the association met on Monday last week to vote in their various institutions for or against the suspension of the strike.
Not a few Nigerians had expected that the personal intervention of the president would pacify the striking lecturers and persuade them to suspend the strike action; but instead, the industrial action had continued.
ASUU had however directed that all its 61 chapters hold their congresses on Monday, November 11.
While some chapters were ready to suspend the strike in the light of the president’s intervention, others insisted that they would continue the strike due to what they described as their distrust for the government.
Whereas the University of Lagos resolved to suspend the strike, chapters like the University of Ibadan, UI; University of Benin, UNIBEN; University of Calabar, UNICAL; University of Jos, UNIJOS, and the Lagos State University, LASU, vowed to continue as they insisted that the government cannot be trusted to fulfil its promise to inject over N1.1 trillion to universities in the next five years.