ASUP Strike: More Polytechnics Pulled Out as New Education Minister Meets Union

Nigeria's New Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau

Nigeria’s New Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau

Despite reassurances on the effectiveness of its strike by Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, more institutions are backing out of the union’s nine-month old industrial action.

Nigeria’s new Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, in a bit to end the prolonged industrial action of the Polytechnic lecturers, on Thursday, met with the leadership of ASUP.

The meeting is Shekarau’s first after he assumed duties same day is in a bid to resolve the strike by the lecturers.

The meeting, which commenced at about 3:25 p.m., is being held at the Education Ministry secretariat in Abuja.

The most recent of the polytechnics to pull out of the ASUP strike are Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH; Federal Polytechnic, Bida (FEDPOBID) Niger State; Federal Polytechnic, Idah, (FEDPOIDAH) Kogi State, and the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa State.

LASPOTECH pulled out of the strike for the second time since the industrial action began and asked its students to resume for lectures on Monday, 7 July, 2014.

The state-owned institution went on strike late last year and resumed lectures so that the students could complete their first semester examination in January this year.

The school incurred the wrath of ASUP whose leadership threatened to sanction the school for pulling out of the strike but the school management pleaded for time to allow their students finish their exams.

A senior lecturer at LASPOTECH told P.M.NEWS Campus Square that it is becoming obvious that nobody is discussing polytechnics’ strike so they had to back out and resume work.

“At the last meeting we held in-house, we just told one another that almost all the striking schools have backed out with only a handful facing the Federal Government.

“We have resumed fully, and that is what is important to us now,” he stated under the condition of anonymity.

When asked if the school will not succumb to pressure from ASUP to join the strike a third time, the lecturer said it is no longer possible for the school to embark on another ‘fruitless’ strike.

He said: “Do you know the tenure of the current president of ASUP strike elapsed last week?  So, who do you think will be talking about the strike when all we care about now is how to elect a new national president?

“Remember LASPOTECH is a state owned school. My own stand was clear from the onset of the strike. I didn’t support the strike. And my reasons too were clear; all the stakeholders are not sincere (government, ASUP, NBTE, parents, employers of labour, etc.)

“What we should be talking about should centre on total overhauling of the Nigerian education system (primary, secondary, tertiary,), not sectional and selfish strikes here and there.

“Primarily, what we have in Nigeria now is more of certification and not education. When a farmer harvests and nobody buys from him, what happens to the farm produce? The number of unemployed graduates is satanic. Why then did the students have to go to school?” he queried.

Also lending his voice to the latest development is Gbenga Ajayi, Public Relations Officer LASPOTECH Students Union Government, SUG. According to him, “it’s a good development if you ask me. We, the Exco members of the SUG, had been putting pressure on the school management to pull out of the strike and we are all happy they finally did.

“This is the third time we would be pulling out and we hope this will be the last time we embark on strike with ASUP.”

Some of the affected students, who spoke with P.M.NEWS Campus Square, bared their minds on their disappointment that ASUP has not been able to reach a truce with the government after ten months.

While FEDPOBID stated in its ‘pulling out’ letter that the school’s academic calendar would be merged as one due to the protracted strike, sources from the institution noted that, “the decision to pull out of the strike had been shaky but I can tell you that we finally resumed from the strike because everybody is tired of staying at home and the school has been devoid of academic activities for too long.”

Babalola Joshua, a student of the institution told our reporter that he is happy returning to school after staying at home for that long.

“The first thing I did when I got to school was to clean my room, wash everything that had gathered dust and arrange my things. I can tell you confidently now that I am happy to return to school.”

Aideloje Fortula Israel, a part two National Diploma student of Federal Poly, Nasarawa also expressed his delight at resumption.

The Computer Science student stated: “I am happy now that my school has finally pulled out of the long strike. Let’s see how it goes between my school and the leadership of ASUP. For now, my school rocks with interesting activities.

“All we heard before now was ‘soon’ and I have been asking myself when the ‘soon’ would be over. I was tired of staying at home doing nothing while the strike lasted.

“I can’t stop thanking my God that we are finally back to school, my only worry is the time spent at home when we are yet to complete our 2012/2013 academic session.”

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